People often wear “busy” like a badge of honour and intrinsically associate it with success and progress, while failing to recognise that springs of creativity – which are much needed for continued innovation in business – do not come from a never ending treadmill of labour.
I’d often question whether working smart and working hard are the same thing – being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are being effective. In a world where attention and time are fast becoming our scarcest resources, being “busy” has now become the default response to the question of how someone is doing. In fact, if you’re busy all the time, it is more likely than not that you are not working smart but are working on autopilot, doing things that might not achieve much in the longer run.
When you are working smart, you have more time on your hands to be creative which is absolutely essential to any entrepreneur. Only by having the time to use your creative faculties can you be more original and innovative. The myth that creativity is only for creatives restricts businesses from remaining relevant in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
So what is creativity exactly? It is inspiration which comes in flashes in the back of our minds and can come in many forms, whether it be dreaming up a new business idea or solving the simplest challenges that arise in the workplace (or at home). In a world noisier than ever before, longer working hours and faster paces of work, it is harder than ever to create the right environment for creative inspiration.
So how do we tap into our creative jewel box?
There are many different ways and all of them are very far away from what we associate as ‘work’.
Creative, subconscious thought occurs where there are gaps in the incessant stream of conscious thoughts and they may be only split second glimpses, but usually that is all that is needed for inspiration. How many people have you heard say they thought of something incredibly inspiring while doing something menial at home, while on holiday, in the middle of night in bed, or while engaged in an activity completely disengaged from daily life?
However, meditation is arguably the most powerful way to tap into our intuitive creative juices. We might become masters of our own minds and environments when we become aware of our power to influence our subconscious through meditation. The subconscious, much like a vault in a bank – hidden, mysterious, and somewhat elusive – is a repository for our intuition and our most valuable, creative insights. We just need to uncover these and bring it to consciousness, and ultimately to action. This is relevant and important for everyone, but for entrepreneurs it can lead to insights which can ultimately help define a business’ direction and therefore value.
But we don’t need to be held back in thinking that the only way to creative insights is through meditation. In fact, it can also be found in actively ‘not doing’ and by setting time aside to be still and free from any stimulation – where there is at least a little more space for creativity to emerge. Similarly, when we are engaged in doing something which is not work, like pursuing a hobby/sport or doing something that makes us feel happy away from the daily grind of incessant thought, insights of creative thought can also arise.
Meditation oils the wheels of our subconscious and has been proven to reduce cognitive rigidity. Interestingly, this research demonstrates that we become “blinded” by experience and fail to recognise new ways of problem-solving due to a resistance to change in beliefs, attitudes or personal habits.
In this respect, the mindfulness that arises from meditation allows us to pay attention in the present moment, without judgment, and to seek that which we might have missed – our most creative thoughts, buried in the enclaves of our subconscious, encumbered by the noise of our conscious thoughts.
We are products of our environments, and our environments limit our thinking and set boundaries and limitations to everything including our subconscious. But subconscious thoughts don’t operate that way – there are no such thing as limitations to the inexhaustible subconscious mind and this is, in fact, where a higher form of wisdom exists. Finding a moment, even if might be 10 minutes a day, to invite calm into your life is an invitation to positivity and provides purpose and meaning to your life and work, which is where life’s treasures truly are.
About Adam Breeden:
Adam Breeden is co-founder of Bounce, Flight Club, All Star Lanes and more social entertainment concepts.