You know how they say inspiration is all around you? Well it’s true. But to most, they’re flustered because goshdarnit if it were all around us then why is it so hard to find? I’ve credited my randomness (which means that I might be talking to you about one subject and then shift to another without batting an eyelash) to constantly getting inspiration all the time.
It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m a ball of randomness.
I’ll be thinking one thing one minute and flitting to another a moment later. It’s not that I have a short attention span; it’s because I’m taking everything in, all the time. I’d be looking at that pattern on the wall, to the rug on the floor, connecting patterns and lines and POOF something new is born in the recesses of my mind.
It could be a pattern that I’d like to explore, or it could be a way to solve a problem that I’ve been having – anything and everything is collected and accumulated which results in waves of impulses shooting around in that noodle of mine.
You’d think that by now my mind would have exploded (or imploded) already with all the things that I’m absorbing. Well, there’s a method to my madness of absorbing inspiration and I’m going to share that with you today:
1. I look up and down
We all tend to look at things in a straight manner. Walking ahead, how many of us look up, or even down for that matter? I’ve seen things in new perspectives when I shift my viewpoint a smidge. It could be that normal commute home, but take a moment to take in your surroundings, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see things you thought were never there before.
2. I read. A whole lot.
I read business books. Articles and everything I can get my hands on. I read TechCrunch, Inc.com, and the Wall Street Journal. I read Time Magazine. I’m reading The Decision Book, and I flip through Oh Comely. The point is that I do not discriminate about the things I learn about – I find it fascinating that one day I’m reading about how organic cotton is made, and then moving on to reading about World War II in a few clicks. Yes, it’s random, but I don’t memorize all of the things I absorb, because…
3. I’ve learned to see patterns in things
I’ve written about how I connect things in my mind for fun, but I also use the technique to find solutions to problems. It could be that article that I read last week that might help me solve a problem today. Or perhaps I can’t figure out how to make an illustration better but I remembered that there’s this fellow who used a certain analogy that could be applied to my brief. I don’t copy and paste – I synthesize and solve problems based on how others have done before me, and this could mean so many different ways depending on how you see things.
And to make sure my brain doesn’t go KABOOM on me…
4. I don’t use my brain to store things. I use it to come up with new things.
I write down a lot of things in my journal and my sketchbook because I know that I cannot trust my memory– it has failed me a few times. I would come up with this insanely great idea and then sleep on it and forget all about it when I woke up. So rather than just forcing myself to remember, I unload all the information in a safe place – a notepad, my phone, etc – so that I can come back and retrieve it later.
And because I know that my ideas are in good hands, my mind is free to take in more things and to expand on what I’ve seen and learnt, and to come up with even more ideas.
Tell me, what works for you?