Fostering Creativity: Where do you go to generate ideas?

We live in a connected world, sometimes too connected.  I know that I need to spend more time away from the clutter, away from the noise, in order to get my mind cleared and my brain working well.  Different people do this in different ways.  My hope with this post is to help you see how you might do the same.

My wife and I recently had the good fortune to spend some time in the Ft. Myers, Florida area.  One of the highlights of the trip was to visit the Edison Ford winter home complex.  Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had winter homes directly adjacent to one another in Ft. Myers and they spent a great deal of time there together with their friend Harvey Firestone.  If those names sound familiar, they should.  I remember the first time I visited the Edison Ford homes over 20 years ago.  It was so interesting to see how some of the most innovative and successful people of the 20th century took time to unwind from their hectic lives.

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were similar, but different.  Edison was much older than Ford, and Ford considered Edison a mentor and a friend.  Edison was famous for taking naps in his lab and he might lay down on a desk or just about anywhere to catch a few winks.  Henry Ford was well known for fishing at the end of the long pier on the property.  What made his fishing interesting is that he used no bait.  He really had no interest in catching fish, but he did have an interest in having time where he knew he was bothering no one and no one was bothering him.

I too have places I can go to get this “decoupling time”.  The shower is one that has been a good place for me to think and unwind.  I can think of many ideas that I have implemented over the years that came during a shower.  A second place I get great ideas is while I am listening to a sermon in church.  I see the world in a very analogous way and some of the analogies I use in life have come from great sermons I have heard.  A third oasis I now has is my back porch.  We added this screened porch about one year ago and it can be a great haven from the chatter and clutter of the electronic world we live in.  One of the most important times away I  have is my morning scripture reading and prayer.  I don’t spend enough time doing this, but I do it almost every day and the result is that my day typically gets headed in the right direction as a result.

You too need a place and time where you can unwind and think freely.

Just as you might schedule a meeting or a trip to the doctor, make a point to schedule some free-thinking time each week.  I suspect you will find that the results will be positive and gratifying.