There’s a million books, articles, and blog posts on how to be more creative. For the record, I believe strongly that it’s not something you’re born with or without, it’s like a muscle you develop. The problem is, far too many people believe (wrongly) that they’re just not creative, so they never spend any time exercising that muscle.
Now, new research reveals one of the reasons children are so creative – they’re seeing everything. As adults, we tend to focus on the task at hand. But if you’ve ever been around a young child, you know they’re taking in everything. We often get upset with them because they can’t seem to concentrate, but perhaps that “inability” to concentrate is a good thing.
As Alison Gopnik writes in The Wall Street Journal:
“We often say that young children are bad at paying attention. But what we really mean is that they’re bad at not paying attention, that they don’t screen out the world as grown-ups do. Children learn as much as they can about the world around them, even if it means that they get distracted by the distant airplane in the sky or the speck of paper on the floor when you’re trying to get them out the door to preschool.”
Whether you’re writing, creating music, designing, or doing other creative work, it’s important to be able to focus. But when you’re not focused on work, start acting more like children. Take out the ear buds, turn away from the screen, or think less about a narrow focus, and start looking at the bigger picture. With children, what seems like distraction is simply taking in the world around them.
Something all creative people should practice more…
(And thanks to my granddaughter Kennady starring in the photo!)