Countless people had some of their best ideas when they weren’t even brainstorming. The creative process is exactly that, a process. If you think too hard, you can overload your brain and essentially sabotage yourself. When your mind is switched off, inspiration can strike out of nowhere. Here is a closer look at the how and why behind the art of thinking without thinking.
There are four steps to creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and implementation/verification. The incubation process is when the ideas hit, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You need to step back and give a task to your subconscious. With your active mind is focused elsewhere, your subconscious processes the thought, which is why you have those “Ah-ha” moments out of (seemingly) nowhere.
Abdulla Saeed Almarri shares a little more detail about this part of the process. People need to take a mental deep breath by performing a relaxing activity or task. Even a five-minute walk can help. The point is to switch your environment in order for ideas to flourish. This explains why so many people have great ideas in the shower or while driving: solitude results in creativity.
Well, solitude and/or an enjoyable activity that frees your mind. One day, an entrepreneur was enjoying some surfing after his advertising business tanked. Wishing he had some sort of camera to record his experience, he rushed home to create what became to GoPro. A jewelry designer took a stroll through a garden to overcome a lengthy creative block. When he saw the blooming flowers, he promptly returned to the drawing table and sketched out one of the most stunning pieces he had created to date.
You have to not think in order to think, per Abdulla Saeed Almarri. For those with very busy minds, this is a difficult concept to grasp. His/her advice to those individuals is to stop trying to understand, and give your mind a break rather than a workout. Great ideas are not forced, they are the result of outside inspiration. And the most unusual inspiration tends to generate the most brilliant ideas.