Ah yes, creativity. A demon I’ve battled a lot in my life.

“I need to think of something.”

In modern society we are under a lot of pressure to produce. A problem I find with that is that when your mind is constantly chugging along focusing on an endless list of tasks you rob yourself of the true bliss in just dwelling on nothing in particular. “What do clouds taste like?” “What language do cats think in?” It is in these moments of vacation from the stressful assembly line thought process that creation is freed from the shackles of production. When I am having difficulty thinking of something, I try to think of nothing at all. Do you ever have a zillion thoughts flying around in your head at once? It can be extremely stressful and taxing to keep track of where all these little thoughts are whizzing to. One thing I’ve learned to do in these situations is stop. When I get overwhelmed I stop everything I am doing, turn away from the task at hand and stare off into space. Not exactly a model for productivity eh? I used to do this without reason, my brain just became overloaded until it would practically float away. Being aware of my apparent uselessness as a producer of whatever, it made me feel inadequate and only fueled the cycle of anxiety. Now, I have learned to grant myself permission to daydream.

I think of my mind as a bare white room, and throughout the day objects move in and out of it. Objects of different shapes, sizes, colors, etc. These are my thoughts. The thoughts or objects that are most useful or interesting or appealing, etc, I tend to keep in the room the longest. After a while I collect more and more objects until the room is so cluttered nothing else can come in. This is when productivity and creativity come to a screeching halt. Before I would open a window or move stuff around in the room so as not to stifle the completion of tasks. But now I completely release myself from the mental assembly line, guilt free. Why? Because meaningless daydreaming makes the clutter disappear. After no time at all, I have a clean bare room. Now fresh new objects are free to enter again.

The point? Doing nothing may not feed productivity, but it is the blank canvas of creativity. At the end of the day are you more fulfilled when you have produced what is expected or when you have created something truly your own that can be invested in?

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