A few weeks ago I saw a very successful airline captain. In his own words – “I’m at the apex of my career.” He makes in excess of $200,000 annually and has the respect and admiration of everyone who knows him. Unfortunately, the stress of his position and the volatility of his industry are forcing him to consider some new options.
When we began to explore his interests, hobbies and community activities, he apologized for his lack of ideas. He struggled to explain how he had become so narrow and out of touch – his best description was that his own “success” had “neutered my creativity.”
Unfortunately, high levels of academic and positional success often narrow rather than expand our ability to see new opportunities. Physicians, attorneys, dentists, pastors and accountants are notorious for missing the changing options around them because they are so focused on doing their all-consuming work in the same repetitive way.
We must be open to new ideas and inspiration. The seeds of new opportunities abound as we just look around with new eyes. “The real act of discovery is not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” — Marcel Proust
Here are some helpful ways to birth new ideas. I try to do all of these regularly:
- Take a cold shower
- Spend time in solitude
- Listen to great music
- Hear a joke and share it
- Spend time playing with children
- Just stop and observe nature
- Take a leisurely walk
- Pause for inner reflection
- Pay attention to your dreams
- Go see a movie
- Watch a sunset or sunrise
- Read a great book
- Talk with an elderly person
A couple of years ago I purchased the rights to an out-of-print book, The Little Book of Big Ideas. It’s a wonderful compilation of ways to stimulate our creativity. We’re going to update it and revive it for your enjoyment – stay tuned.
If your creativity has been “neutered” just commit to reversing that process. No surgery necessary – just change your thinking and activities.
Need some help putting your own creative ideas to work? Try reading No More Dreaded Mondays