When it comes to creativity, there are a lot of things that come into play. There’s talent, there’s practice, there’s developed skill, and there’s lightning bolts of genius. That last one, the lightning bolt thing, is what gets the most press. It’s the golden creative trait that’s touted above all else. But in reality, lightning bolt moments of genius are not the bulk of what makes up creativity, nor are they the most important part of cultivating creativity.
So, if it’s not all sitting around waiting for genius to strike, how do you work toward more creativity, more often to assist in upholding and furthering professional excellence?
A study out of Stanford University holds a very important piece of the puzzle.
THE KEY TO CREATIVITY
Exercise has long been anecdotally linked to creativity. As New York Times reports, famous artists, musicians and writers have attributed their best ideas to taking a walk. So it’s no surprise that science has finally stepped up to support the magic of movement when it comes to getting creative.
But of course, achievement in a high-demand professional field doesn’t always allow for long, leisurely strolls every time you’ve hit a mental wall. We can’t exactly run big brainstorming sessions on a treadmill and coding the next big tech breakthrough isn’t likely to happen if you’re not parked in front of a computer.
As it turns out, there’s a secret to picking the creative lock without having to constantly move your feet. The study concluded that not only is your ability to think creatively, problem-solve creatively, and concept more creatively increased while you’re walking, that open brainpath effect lingers even once you’ve returned.
HOW TO MAKE MOVEMENT HAPPEN
Working toward big goals requires a lot of upfront effort and continued commitment. Sometimes, that means longer hours, later nights, and a seemingly dwindling amount of time to get your move on and give those ideas brewing in your head the space and time needed to flourish. See, knowing that movement is important is one thing, but incorporating it into life when you’re zoned in and on the cusp of a professional breakthrough is another.
But, being a great leader and pushing your boundaries requires the kind of innovation that comes from prioritizing movement (and thus, creativity) and finding ways to make that work. Even the busiest schedules, as we have discussed in the past, have space for movement when prioritized.
Think about ways to make movement a part of your team’s regular working order. You’re armed with the knowledge that creativity is boosted while, and immediately after, walking. So, what’s wrong with taking your creatively-focused meetings on the move? Find a trail near your office or walk around the building with team members.
You can also set aside time after meetings for a quick, brisk walk, reserving the time immediately after the walk for the most creative tasks required of the project.
By incorporating movement into your routine regularly, you may begin to depend less and less on lightning bolt moments, and move into making your own creative breakthroughs on demand. And when you’re busy breaking through barriers, on demand is always welcome.