How does creativity work? Everyone has a theory, including psychologists, neuroscientists, and researchers.
When I asked ChatGPT, the Mystic Meg of our times, how does creativity work? It responded in a few hundred words, the gist of which was:
“Overall, creativity is a complex and multifaceted process that involves various cognitive, neural, and contextual factors.”
Yes, but if you ask creative folk how their creativity works, their theories are no better than anyone else’s. It’s a mystery.
Creativity is a mystery: or is it?
While browsing on LinkedIn, I found this post from Geeta Rautela on habits for success. Her fifth suggestion was “sit in silence for 10 minutes a day.”
I call it the ten minute miracle, because it works. Not only do you gain energy, you’re more creative throughout each day. Writing becomes easier and less stressful. Other creative processes do as well.
Ten minutes, every morning. What do you have to lose? No special clothes or tools are required.
Try the ten-minute miracle: it’s easy (but it may seem a challenge)
Sit in silence for ten minutes. Mornings work best. You can sit first thing (after a cup of coffee), or you can fit it in after you’ve read your email.
Call the ten minutes “meditation”, if you like, but labelling it can make you feel pressured, or arouse expectations. I prefer: sitting. Zen Buddhists call it zazen.
Here’s a quick description of the process. You can set a timer, or not.
- Sit on the floor, cross legged, or in a chair, with a straight spine. Lay your hands on your knees, or in your lap.
- Take a few deep breaths, then consciously relax each part of your body.
- Focus on your breathing, not directing your breath, or trying to breathe in any special way.
- When a thought occurs to you, don’t follow it. As soon as you realize that your mind’s occupied, mentally say: “thinking.” Put your attention back on your breath.
Basically, you’re sitting, enjoying silence.
You’ll notice that your mind’s busy with dozens of thoughts, which lead you down rabbit holes. You may follow a thought for a couple of minutes, before the “thinking” realization hits.
Don’t try to stop thinking: it’s what humans do. Your aim is just to recognize a thought as a thought. Although this realization has wonderful effects, you’re not trying for any special effect either.
The effects, like enhanced creativity, just happen.
That’s the ten-minute miracle of silence.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.