It’s nearly mid-October and we’ve all been shuffling along in our various business activities for 3/4 of the year. The economy has been rough and the need to stay competitive, innovative and fresh has never been stronger or more important. Staying competitive depends, in part, on being able to think (a) one step ahead, (b) outside the box and (c) unpredictably. But that’s not easy to do: staying innovative and fresh. The doldrums can set in because of :
- stress: too much pressure to produce solutions
- boredom: doing the same thing day-in-day-out
- burn-out: your brain gets fried like an over-cooked egg and you just can’t think up anything more that’s new
- plateau: we all hit them…nothing’s intrinsically wrong, so there seems to be nothing to fix or improve
The doldrums are:
- periods of listlessness
- calms and inactivity
- stagnation or slump
Human life is characterized by constant change. Our physical bodies change on every level constantly: we’re always getting older for instance. Every day is a new day replete with its own challenges and opportunities. Getting stuck in the doldrums can cause a business to wither and die. There has to be a way to combat the doldrums and populate our business with fresh thinking…creative thinking…leaps of logic and infusions of intuitive action. How?
My home-based business is as an artist. So, I’m approaching this from that viewpoint: to infuse fresh creative thought, exercise the right side of the brain. We talk a lot about the need for creative exercise, but how many of us actually do anything? My suggestion is to take a leaf from an artist’s book and play a little in the right brain.
Supplies you’ll need:
- whiteboard and markers
- tape and scissors
- pack of construction paper in a variety of colors
- dust off the imagination
- ignite your intuition
- cause some creative thinking
- launch leaps of logic
I’m borrowing from a fantastic book on creativity by artist Nita Leland…she now has a revised edition out of “The New Creative Artist: A Guide to Developing Your Creative Spirit.” I have her original book and spent 3 months a couple years ago doing a personal workshop completing 99% of the activities in the book. Talk about exercising the right side! The exercise below can be done as a personal hour-long right-brain refresher, or you can gather a small group of associates and have a couple hour workshop. The goal is to stimulate the free-thinking side of your mind and to give the analytical side a rest. It’s a simple exercise but it can accomplish a few things:
- gives you the opportunity to see through fresh eyes
- can actually challenge some people by taking them out of their comfortable left side analytical thinking – there is no analysis in this exercise
- lets you be in an atmosphere where every answer is a correct answer
Set up: on the left side of the whiteboard, in a column going down, list these phrases:
- descriptive words
- action words
- name of something you like
- name of something you fear
- a feeling or a mood
Step One: next to each phrase, list as many words as you can possibly think of. Example for “descriptive words”: smooth. If doing this as a group, let each person add words.
Step Two: using the construction paper and scissors, each person cuts out a shape, any shape, in any color and tapes it next to two or three of the words in each of the five categories. For instance: cut a purple triangle and tape it next to the word “smooth” in the “descriptive words” category. Your whiteboard will get quite littered with colored shapes. But this allows pure emotion to govern the creative decision making. Very often in business, we tend to leave out our emotions when making decisions. However, emotions live within us. Emotions inform our right brain creative thinking. Let them run free on that side. The left side can do the sorting later.
That’s it. Not a complicated exercise, but one that gives your mind free reign verbally and visually.
The Art Institute of Vancouver has a fun right brain vs left brain online test…give it a try at this link. The evaluation they provide at the conclusion is informative. I came in at 64% right brain. Give it a try.