In a time where staying motivated and upbeat can be difficult, it’s important to still try. To stay eager, to connect, to find interest in the every day, to notice what everybody else overlooks—these are vital skills and noble goals. It’s all about paying attention and attention is vitality.
Cultivating the ability to attend to what others overlook, experiencing “enchanting reality” as a new and fortuitous gift—is crucial to any creative process. Anybody interested in thinking creatively seeks (needs) to notice what has been overlooked or ignored by others, to get beyond distractions, and attend to the world.
Paying attention, making a habit of noticing, helps cultivate an original perspective, a distinct point of view. But paying attention isn’t easy.
The one thing more than anything else, is learning to pay attention. —ROBERT IRWIN
The average human has an eight-second attention span–less than that of a goldfish, according to a 2015 study from Microsoft. That number has shrunk over the years due to our digital connectedness and the fact that the brain is always seeking out what’s new and what’s next.
It can feel like everyone we’ve ever known, every business or cause, wants—demands—to claim our attention. Polyconsciousness is what one researcher termed the resulting state of mind that divides attention between the physical world and one of our devices connect us to, undermining here-and-now interactions with actual people and things around us.
Perhaps we have reached peak distraction. Certainly a slew of eloquent critics have articulated what amounts to a twenty-first-century attention panic, with pandemics, drama filled politics, and everyone clinging to their devices with FOMO amounts to an endlessly trending topic about our unhealthy obsession with…trending topics.
It’s true, as many have observed, that human distractibility—the way we’re instinctively drawn to the proverbial bright and shiny devices—is hardwired, a function of evolution. But it’s also true that, more than any other creature, we can outmaneuver our own base instincts.
That’s why it’s no coincidence that peak distraction has coincided for instance with a vogue for meditation and mindfulness: We know we’re distracted, and we yearn to see the world more clearly.
We also know we can learn to direct our attention to where we wish to. What we do with our attention, in short, is at the heart of what makes us human. With a combination of mindset and tools, it’s possible to set up an environment that fosters us to pay attention in order to spark creativity and inspiration.
Check out the video below and continue reading for more tips:
7 Ways To Spark Creativity And Inspiration
1. Spot something new every day – practice conscious noticing, make a list of items, and try to find them throughout the day.
2. Start a collection – Hobbies should be an important part of everyone’s life, especially in our increasingly passive, and abstract world. You tend to become more cognizant of details in the things you collect, which can make you a better finder and seeker in general.
3. Count with the numbers you find – Look for a 1, then a 2, then a 3, and keep going; stop at the end of your current journey or carry it over to the next one and the next one, for a week, a month, a year…or the rest of your life.
4. Look out of a window – Spend 10 minutes looking out the window you most persistently ignore.
5. Take an auditory inventory – Begin to note sounds consciously. Build an inventory. Keep hunting. You’ll hear things you’d missed altogether.
6. Do a digital silence – Consider observing an occasional week of digital silence. You are allowed to check the various feeds you follow and monitor online conversations and connections as much as you wish. But do not contribute.
7. Ask 5 questions, leave 5 compliments – You’ll find that this requires an alert attentiveness toward other people and what they’re saying.