I spent New Year’s Day bashing out exam questions for a client and it ranks as one of my more boring projects to date but it is finished and as a reward for myself, I did some research on getting into the mood for generating ideas for an article I’m writing tomorrow.
One technique needs no research from me as I use it often; visualisation.
Visualisation is simple and requires nothing more than closing your eyes and using your imagination. As such you can perform this anywhere and anytime, though it is not recommended while driving or when you should be paying attention to your better half!
Visualisation helps you get the creative juices flowing by playing a trick on the mind.
Practice This Yourself for 30 Seconds
Try this for size – close your eyes and think of the best holiday you ever had. Think of what made it so special for you; romance, food, music, the smell, the sights and sounds and think of one thing in particular that happened on that holiday that made you laugh and happy.
Spend a few moments doing that before you continue with this.
OK, time’s up – quickly now – are you smiling?
Chances are you smiled as you recounted this happy time and you experienced a sense of well-being that lingers with you.
This is a brief practical attempt at visualisation and it works for any experience you have had that gave you particular pleasure. Personally, I recall my children being born and how I felt on becoming a father and occasionally a childhood memory. The sense of well-being that you derive from visualisation is caused by the endorphins released by your brain; these are Mother Nature’s own natural narcotic and cause you to feel happy and in good spirits.
Will This Help Generate Ideas?
Answer the question for yourself; how good are your idea generating activities when you are feeling miserable and compare this with when you are feeling on top of the world. Your frame of mind has a direct bearing on your ability to be creative and to produce good work; happy workers are the best workers.
You can take visualisation a step further. As a salesman, I often became negative about some of the direct sales tactics that were spoon-fed to me while attending “training” courses. Frankly I thought they were an insult to anyone’s intelligence, but amongst the dross there was the occasional gem that just needed a little effort to get the benefit.
Try This 60 Second Exercise
Close your eyes when you are ready to begin. Imagine for a moment, you have won the lottery and are now rich beyond your wildest expectations.
Get past the initial buzz of winning the lottery and start thinking about what all that filthy lucre means for you and your loved ones. The mortgage is gone, you picture writing the cheque to pay it off and handing it to the bank manager personally. You buy a holiday villa, and you picture the journey to spend some time with your loved ones on a private charter plane you have hired just for them. Picture the face of your framily as they enjoy the luxury this good fortune brings. Your son can go to university, your daughter can travel and you buy that sports car for your better half and imagine their face as you surprise them with the keys.
Use your imagination but be detailed in what you picture is happening; as far as your mind is concerned this will be the real thing.
When you’ve finished, ask yourself how you honestly feel.
If you have wholeheartedly entered into this, you will feel more upbeat and happier than when you started. Reality has not changed except for the passage of time, but your biochemistry is kicking into gear because of what you are doing with your mind. The result is yet another release of those endorphins and a natural high.
Whatever Works For You
Placing yourself in an appropriate frame of mind is vital if you are to produce good work. This is a natural way of loosening yourself up and providing some extra motivation without the need for caffeine. Visualisation works best for me when I am alone and have no distractions going on around the house but standing on a cramped tube is no bar to using this technique. We are all different and have different memories that will trigger feelings of well-being and a sense of satisfaction or happiness.
Childhood memories are very powerful for evoking these sensations but it can be a holiday, a business success, a great looking girlfriend/boyfriend you met, something your children did or your favourite team winning a game. It makes no difference what you visualise as long as it holds some powerful memory of excitement, happiness or satisfaction.
As you are engaged solely in the recesses of your own mind it is also completely private so don’t be bashful – another hidden benefit 😉