Sound is invisible. Yet, it exists. Love is the same. You can't grab it. Yet, that feelings is very much there. And the universal energy you need to tap into for your creative work is invisible too. Yet that too, exists. Today, let's make that energy more real and discuss how to tap into it better. Flow... here we come!
When we talk about inspiration 'hitting us' or use words like 'the muse' or 'creative energy', it always feels very intangible. It's also hard to explain to other people when you are asked questions about where your ideas come from, or how you got to that brilliant presentation, script, business idea, science breakthrough or piece of music. In reality however, it's very real. Even though you can't see or touch ideas, there are still formed into your head. They are there. And to train that muscle even better, let's have a look at the three things can makes your universal energy flow.
The first one is creativity. The second one is emotion. And the third is balance.
What is creativity?
Creativity. Also one of those intangible things, right? Well, actually, it's not as vague as you might think. At its most basic, it's not some arty-farty-thingie, it's a very real, and very important survival mechanism. Creativity is the ability to link two things together to create a new outcome. Everyone has it, everyone can do it. It started in our evolution as a method to link two bits of information together in order to survive.
For instance, you've noticed a flock of swallows coming by one day. That's the first bit. The next day, you feel that the temperature has risen and you see that the sun is out. That's the second bit. A year later, you again see a flock of swallows fly by. You connect it to that other bit of info and conclude: spring is coming. And you start sowing seeds for the crops that year. Another example. You had a campfire going, but it starts to rain and the flames go out. Now, the next time there is a fire in the woods, you know you need to head to water for safety. Creativity is that simple. Survival.
Our brains have evolved to connect many more things than two, all the way into the ability to work out quantum field theory, write a complete opera in our minds, save Apollo 13 in mid flight or paint in such a way that it looks as if it's three dimensional (thank you Van Gogh!). In fact, the connections in your mind are so vast and numerous, they even put the entire Milky Way - with it's 400 billion stars - to shame. And these connections start to fire more rapidly when we are either in danger, or in a very relaxed, confident state of mind. Emotion then plays its part.
The role of emotion
Emotions too, are a product of evolution. They are a communication method, playing out in our bodies, faces and eyes, to convey information. For instance, the emotion 'disgust' originated as a way to show our brethren that a fruit is rotten. Anger of course, is a defense mechanism. And seeing love in someone's eyes is important both for procreation, and for trust. In other words, emotions are survival mechanisms too. And the key is to find out what emotions drive your own creativity.
I'll give you a personal example. For me, there are too emotions that drive me to creativity: when I feel pressured, and when I feel balanced. And, the two are linked. I'm one of those people that doesn't thrive if there's no danger. Of course, I don't like insecurities, nobody does. But I do tend to start flying when you through me of that rock. In a weird way, it actually makes me feel at ease. My best ideas come when I sense there is some kind of obstacle, challenge or even danger around.
Yet, if I need to finish a creative piece, whether it be music, a presentation or an article such as this, I need rest, relaxation and balance. Most of the time my creative starting point is a very big emotion. That's when the ideas come. But I cannot finish those ideas and make them real if I'm not relaxed, confident and balanced.
A good way to explain this is by looking at hip-hop artists. The best work from someone like Tupac Shakur came from terrible circumstances. In his famous song Dear Mamma he tells us about selling drugs (rocks) to make ends meet for his mother (put money in your mailbox). Under tremendous pressure to survive, he became very creative and connected the dots on an emotional level we can all understand.
The legend goes however, that he made over a hundred versions of that particular song before settling on the one that was released. From experience I can tell you that's just plain and simple; doing the work. You need to sit down every day, mix and listen very intently and ban all distractions and big heavy emotions from your life. Even if that's a 'Thug's Life'. It's about getting enough sleep, eating well, staying concentrated, calm and focused. In other words, being balanced.
Flow like water
The embodiment of both high emotion and total balance is of course, Bruce Lee. He teaches us that if you train yourself to deal with all the conflict in your life - both physically and mentally - you can reach a level of balance so incredible, that you would even know when a punch is coming... if you're blindfolded. You learn to trust your feeling so unconditionally, it will save you every time.
What many artists and creative people face, is that paradox. On the one hand we need high emotions and big roller coasters to come up with our ideas. We live in the fast lane. Many of us turn to booze, drugs, volatile relationships or destructive fights to produce those high emotional currents, subconsciously hoping it will give us great big light bulbs over our heads. Yet when we go overboard with those desires, we are not balanced enough to finish our work. And we end up being unproductive, which in itself can drive us into insecurity. And the cycle repeats itself.
The key is to find your own paradox on the line between high emotions and emotional balance. Personally, I've never been a fan of idealizing the rock star life. I've been there and it was a lot of fun. But I've gone over the top too, and ended up not creating. I feel the balance part is more important than the adrenaline most of the time. Why? Well, if you go overboard, it stops the creative universal energy.
You feel that energy when you're either high on adrenaline and feel really alive, or you've just finished a very healthy day in the spa. Both are needed to tap into the muse. But, to quote Bruce Lee: 'It's all in the balance'.
Often life as a creative person is about just sitting down and doing the work, leading a relatively normal and healthy life, without too much hot stuff. Because then, even if you can't see or touch it, the universal energy tends to just come to you. The muse doesn't always need to be chased. And you can get your emotional high again once the work is finished. You use that, and then you start your next move.
I've learned that the hard way. That's why nowadays, the quietest moments, for me, are the moments I slip into the zone.
Love, as always.
And plant trees people. Plant trees and check out my book The Whole Story - The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling here !!!