Lessons,  Management

Creativity and Boredom

You find business advice in some of the most interesting places. Take this video for example: https://youtu.be/UzO56i7nUBs

It’s by a YouTube artist know as Chris Ramsay. I found his channel one day looking at puzzle solutions. I have a friend, let’s call him David, who loves puzzles (as do I), but he’s always frustrated that he solves them too quickly – this is NOT a problem I have. I was hoping to find some puzzles that were real stumpers to challenge David with. Chris’s channel did not disappoint.  Chris has an easy demeanor onscreen and walks you through his solving process.  He also has quite a few videos on magic and cardistry.  He is clearly dedicated to his art.

That’s what made today’s video find such a treasure.  His video on “How to Create Your Own Magic Tricks” (same link as above) is really a video on how to be creative in general.  This advice will certainly work for magic tricks, but it works in life and maybe even more so in business.

For me there were two big takeaways: randomness and boredom.  These two things do not seem paramount in the creative process, but as Chris explains and I would concur, the human brain is not good at random associations.  You have to put the brain in a place to make those connections and make connections you wouldn’t typically make in a normal course of the day.  His example was to find a random word or phrase in a book and free-associate that with the thing you’re trying to be creative with.  This would be a lot of fun as a product development team exercise.

Secondly, boredom.  When do many of your best ideas come to you?  For me, it’s in the shower or as you’re going to sleep.  I think he’s onto something there that the brain needs some downtime to make those connections.  If we’re constantly being stimulated by our electronic devices, social media or our environment, the brain never receives that downtime.  Instead, take time out to be bored.  Being bored is good.  Stand in line at the grocery store and don’t look at your phone.  Don’t pick up the latest gossip rag.  Just wait.  Go outside and sit on a park bench and take in the sights and smells.  Give your brain that downtime.

Maybe this is why I like meditation so much.  It’s a way to turn everything else off and just be.  It’s not boredom exactly, but it’s certainly not the constant stimulation I have much of the rest of the day.  It’s good to know that hopefully it’s helping in the creative process.

Chris, thank you for your inspiration and I look forward to more of your life lessons.



Image Source: The Met Open Access.  Celia Thaxter’s Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine. Childe Hassam (American, Dorchester, Massachusetts 1859–1935 East Hampton, New York) – 1890 – Oil on Canvas.  “The painting shows Hassam at the height of his creativity as an American Impressionist.”

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