New product ideas.
A short lecture circuit.
An overseas event strategy.
A new blog post.
I’m failing miserably at all of them. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. The thing about doing any creative work is that you will hit walls. Sometimes lightning strikes but more often you have to walk out in a field under a cloudless blue sky holding a long metal rod and ask the gods to send a little electricity your way.
Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn’t – but every morning you have to walk out in that field.
In truth, it’s less about attracting those bolts of electricity and more about cultivating them. Farming lightning is no easy task. Here are a few things I try to remember when I’m standing in that field:
Stop thinking there’s a single answer. Problem may equal solution, solution, solution. The realization that there is no one answer to most problems can lift a lot of weight off your shoulders. You’re not looking for the Grail – you’re looking for a place to pour some wine. It might be a glass, a mug, a bowl, or your cupped hands.
Get out of your skull. If you have a tendency to stay in your brain when it comes to looking for a solution, it will get lonely in there. Get up and get physical. Take a walk, ride a bike, climb a hill, get in a boat, chop some wood, dig some dirt. Do something that shakes up the internal knot that can form when focusing on a problem.
Remember, you’ll forget. We’ve all had great ideas and then watched them dissolve into the ether when we tried to recreate them from memory. Albert Einstein said, “Paper is to write things down we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.” Keep a method for taking notes handy. Personally, I use OneNote a lot because it’s convenient – but I try to use physical paper when possible. I like the feel and free form nature of being able to go any direction on paper. Blank paper also never distracts me with a Facebook notification. Unfortunately, organizing multiple streams of information can be hard on paper. If you have an approach, I’m always open to learning.
Unlock some easter eggs. Video game and movie creators often hide secrets within their creations to unlock bonus material or tools for moving forward. I’ve discovered these easter eggs are every where if you look for them. The world is filled with all sorts of “secret” tools for a igniting your brain. You just have to know how to find them. Click here to find them in something you probably have collecting dust in a closet.
All of us need to generate some lightning from time to time and maybe this post will help you find some. As for me, the sun is shining and I’ve got a field to get back to.