From time to time, we all get stuck in a creative rut. Ideas just won’t come to us, and it feels like the muse has abandoned us. There are plenty of articles on what to do in these situations. But have you thought that maybe you shouldn’t do anything? In this video, Sean Tucker talks about the importance of solitude and what solitude really is. In a couple of enlightening minutes, he’ll help you embrace solitude to generate ideas and kickstart your creativity.
I guess you already know that best ideas and sometimes even important decisions come to us in the shower. But have you thought about why is it so? Well, throughout the day, we’re constantly surrounded by stimuli and we receive tons of information. For many people, taking a shower is the only part of the day when they’re alone with their thoughts. And this is when the mind is free from external stimuli and capable of generating ideas. This is why you need your solitude – but does solitude only mean being alone? Or is there more to it?
What kind of solitude do you need?
Interestingly enough, I was just talking to a friend about this a couple of days ago. We’re all so afraid of being alone that we’re constantly in touch with people, even if they’re not physically present. We’re checking social networks, talking on the phone, or chatting to someone on Messenger. Even when we’re on our own in a room, we’re actually not alone. We’re not spending time with ourselves, but with others. And at these times, our mind doesn’t have enough space to generate ideas.
To really be alone, it’s not enough to be in the room on your own. You should turn off the stimuli such as social networks, TV, podcasts or whatever else occupies your attention. Just let yourself be quiet and alone with your thoughts. It can be difficult, but it’s necessary. Although, you may face another challenge at this point: how not to think about the past or the future? Sean discusses this, too.
Be here and now
Sean mentions an interesting piece of information in the video: according to psychologists, most people spend 90% of their time thinking about either the future or the past. When you’re alone with your thoughts, chances are you’ll have thoughts like this, too. You are here and now physically, but in your mind, you’re either worried about the future or analyzing the things you did in the past. And neither of these scenarios will generate new ideas.
How can you overcome this? It’s simple, actually. Just breathe, and focus on your breathing. Sean gives his own example: he was concerned because he lacked ideas for a video. He let himself be still for 10-15 minutes, and he had a notebook on him. He sat down and just breathed. As he would start worrying about the future, he forced himself to let the thoughts go and just focused on the breathing again. Personally, I tend to do this when I get anxious, and it helps. Sean explains that, as he released the negative thoughts, the ideas started to come. And he wrote them down as they emerged. So, creating mental space helped him come up with a couple of ideas far more than worrying about them ever would.
I find this topic particularly interesting because I’m currently learning how to be alone with my thoughts. I started living alone a few months ago, and I can tell you – it can get damn hard to be alone with your own mind. But, it will do you well.
One thing to remember is that sometimes you won’t get ideas even after being alone for an hour or two. And other times, it will take you a couple of minutes of real solitude to overcome the creative block. Either way, turning off all the stimuli and being alone will certainly do you good in the long run even if the ideas don’t come immediately. So take some long walks (or long showers), make friends with yourself and let your creative mind do its thing in solitude. Both your wellbeing and your creativity will benefit from it.
[Why you get your Best Creative Ideas in the Shower | Sean Tucker]