Accessing Your Creative Reserves


I have a theory about creative individuals – that they have infinite reserves, if they figure out how to access them. It’s difficult to see this sometimes because while we have incredible moments of inspiration and flow experiences, we also have periods of downtime where we are seemingly unable to extract from our inner creativity. The thing is, if you’re a creative person of any sort, your internal inspiration is perpetually available if you know how to access it. What I mean by this is even on days you’re feeling stressed and/or unproductive, you still have reserves you can tap at your whim.

Let me explain this further, as I’ve been pondering the concept of what inspirational reserves or creative reserves are for quite some time. They are the place inside of us that all unused or potential ideas are stored. It is also the place that, when accessed, bridges the proper connections that allow you to complete creative projects at a high level, friction-free.

It’s a method of finding creativity I have found extremely useful for things like creative PR/marketing ideas, blogging, making presentations, writing music – things that just get better when your mental RAM is functioning at optimal levels.

But how exactly do you tap your creative/inspirational reserves? There are a few methods I have experimented with that work well:

New music, new art, new books, new ideas by individuals who are unknown

Get away from your normal scene or normal content types and seek out something 100% new. Exposing your mind to completely new patterns will force new connections to be made. There are such radically different interpretations out there if you dig deep enough, and exposing yourself to all viewpoints, even ones you disagree with, is important for growth. There’s no way you can’t find something new to experience in whatever your content of choice is – go through the amateur stuff too, it is all worth your time to study. The reason this taps your creative reserves is because your mind uses what has come before it as a reference point to interpret what is new, bringing older connections forward and adjusting them based on new stimulus.

Dig through nostalgic material – the older, the better

Experiencing something you have not connected with in several years is a potent way to tap your creative reserves. Whether you fully recall it or not isn’t the point, you have already internalized it – it is within your mind somewhere. By repeating this pattern, all associated memories and stimulus surrounding it will be brought forward once again. Sometimes older experiences can act as a sort of memory mile-marker and allow you, albeit briefly, to reconnect with a previous version of your mental state. This is great for inspiration, because lost ideas and memories from that time period will be brought forward by-association.

Work relentlessly on self-actualization

When working with people who are self-actualized to a high degree, it feels as if they are so conscious, they have the ability to access their creative reserves at will. This goes counter to what most people think about creativity – that it’s a subconscious force. That may be true for those who are not self-actualized, but for those who are, accessing creativity is in many cases a conscious decision.

Some elements of those who are self-actualized:

  • They embrace reality and facts rather than denying truth.
  • They are spontaneous.
  • They are interested in solving problems.
  • They are accepting of themselves and also others and lack prejudice.

Does this sound like you? If not, here are Abraham Maslow’s 8 ways to become self-actualized, which should provide a start:

1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.

2. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.

3. Let the self emerge. Try to shut out the external clues as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel.

4. When in doubt, be honest. If you look into yourself and are honest, you will also take responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing.

5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.

6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be.

7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.

8. Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don’t like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses–and then finding the courage to give them up.

Conclusion

Understanding how to access your creative reserves is crucial to being prolific in your career and personal endeavors. I provided just a few paths that work for me, but this is such a personal thing you should experiment and see what works best for you. The more conscious you can become to how your personal creative processes work, the better you’ll be able to sharpen them and reach the next plateau of ability.

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