I read a really interesting article recently about how to access your creativity, a technique used by Mozart, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Salvador Dali, to name but a few!
Just as we drift into sleep we pass through a brief period of insight and creativity called NI( nonrapid-eye-movement sleep stage 1). If we access it deliberately we can recall our smarter insightful ideas more easily. Recent research has found that there is a creative sweet spot within the sleep onset period.
The persistence of memory” The Haluciogenic Toreador Thomas Edison invented
by Salvador Dali. By Salvador Dali. The light bulb.
Dali made use of this technique. He took frequent naps and as he did so, he held a key over a metal plate. The clanging noise as he dropped the key woke him, and inspired his impressive artistic imagery. Edison also preferred to nap than to sleep, and would hold a ball in his hand that would wake him when it dropped.
Albert Einstein famously made much of structured daydreaming when developing his ideas . He said “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and “imagination is more important than having knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world”.
Stories of such brilliant insights rising out of deep thought aren’t unique. Throughout history, luminaries ranging from Charles Darwin to Friedrich Nietzsche have attributed much of their genius to the many hours they spent lost in their mind. Darwin had a “thinking path” that he would walk down to ruminate, and Nietzsche is said to have strolled around in nature for hours and hours on end to make sense of his ideas.
Harnessing creativity using either the NI sleep stage method or the daydreaming method requires you to think actively about the problem you want to solve,looking at it from different angles and trying out several solutions, giving your unconscious plenty to work on. Then just switch off and let your mind wonder. In our fast moving world, allowing time to daydream or just be is often frowned upon, but if we are to be truly creative thinkers we have to allow this space.
I guess that I found this topic very interesting because I know that solutions and new ideas often come to me when I’ve “slept on it”. I feel that my unconscious is a resource that I can use to think outside the box. I think of the problem I’m trying to solve as I go to sleep and I keep an ideas book by my bed. The first piece I ever designed came to me in this way. I woke in the morning and there was my design. I got a piece of paper and drew it straight away.
It is perhaps no surprise that during lockdown, the forced periods of restricted activity and social contact lead to many people reconnecting with creativity, either going back to art and crafts they had learned in the past, or trying something completely new. I found myself experimenting too, coming up with a unique method of creating organic shapes that became my “Fluid” collection, a collection that is very different from the other work I have designed and made.
What I I hadn’t realised is that you can train yourself to access your internal creativity. I’m definitely going to develop this process and see what new ideas may pop into my conscious mind. Watch this space! 🤔🤓🤗