19 Jan 3 Ways to Get Back to Open Creative Thinking
Would you like to have more creativity, make better decisions, and be more likely to keep your mojo? Today I want to talk to you about the value of wandering and creative thinking in life and in business.
Wandering means to move about without a definite destination or purpose. It is something I have been thinking about lately, as I have committed to spending four months of this year wandering.
You might be thinking, that’s well & good for those able to take time off, but I’m not sure my boss would appreciate it if I came to his office and said I was going to “wander” for a while. But there are ways to wander even with a tight schedule, and the value of the time dedicated to wandering is unparalleled.
Watch my latest video to hear stories that illustrate the value of wandering.
Wandering and the Power of Open Creative Thinking
Joseph Campbell, the American Mythologist, writer & lecturer, most popular for his show, “The Power of Myth,” wrote about wandering and the value of it. He said that wandering was the opposite of having a plan or an agenda. It is to talk about or do whatever strikes you, or whatever comes up. It is to wake up in the morning and decide what is the most important thing for you to do that day. Early in his career, he spent four years holed up in a cottage in Woodstock, New York reading. He had dropped out of University to do so. You can’t help but wonder if Joseph Campbell would have become the world’s leading mythologist if he had gone to university instead.
Maybe you aren’t able to take four years off to wander and just work on your creative thinking, but what about taking a few hours a week or part of a day on a weekend to just listen to yourself, do what you want, and think about whatever comes into your mind? You might be surprised at what you will come up with.
How Does Open Creative Thinking Relate to My Business?
A few years ago, I worked with a senior team in one of my business improvement workshops who, once a month would have a “blue sky meeting.” In a way, this meeting was to wander. This meeting had no specific agenda; anything could come up EXCEPT for something that had to do with an immediate business problem. It was to look at the big picture and to allow creativity to flow. So many good ideas came out of these meetings, which is not surprising because research shows that the average leader has about 60-70% less time to think and reflect than leaders did thirty years ago. This is ironic, given that research also shows that when we “wander” and get away from a problem, we are more creative and that the problems we face are MORE complex than they used to be by far.
One of my favorite CEO’s is Darren Entwistle, former CEO at TELUS. His employees told me they hated when he went on vacation because he would come back with all these big and great ideas for the business. While he was away and free from the immediate stress of the daily grind, his mind would freely flow and allow him to think about the big picture. Some of his best ideas happened while he wandered.
Here are three ways to wander more:
- Have meetings where nothing immediate is on the agenda. Any issue, idea or concern can come up.
- Take time to think every week WITHOUT a plan. Just set a time to think and see what comes up.
- If you are feeling uncreative or that you have lost your mojo, take a sabbatical and every day simply ask “what do I feel like doing today?” Soon your actions will tell you what you really want to do.
So here’s to wandering, to moving about without a definite destination and purpose, and just seeing what happens along the way.