Planned Serendipity: Get Lucky through Creative Choices
Creativity is about new choices. New choices are about new perspectives. New perspectives are about new possibilities, and, therefore, creativity is about new opportunities. The question is, how do we discover these hidden new possibilities? How do we attract serendipity into our lives? All these answers lie within us, but most important is to start challenging our beliefs about our limitations. We need to free our minds from our self-constructed constraints and prepare our minds for awakening.
We must stop focusing on those ideas that have not served our purpose in the past, and make room for new perspectives. We need to start building a more optimistic outlook and stronger self-esteem. Passion is a very important condition for creative thinking. It starts with recreation or inspiration with no conscious involvement. During this stage, the intensity of emotional responses should kindle our drive to act. A period of recreation very often awakens motivation and clarifies our possibilities. So, how can we encourage the transcendental nature of our minds to unfold and open us to serendipity? Practice creative thinking and get lucky through creative choices – that’s the answer!
Even though a deep understanding and that “aha” moment may happen only in conjunction with a great deal of expertise, it begins with mindful deliberation, and it involves two modes of thinking – spontaneous insight and aware cognition. First, ideas flow with no limitations or control. These ideas subsequently lead to a cause-and-effect analysis, and rationalization fosters conscious evaluation. Both processes are extremely valuable for original thinking, and they should be accurately balanced to break through blocks in emotional intensity and creativity.
Creativity requires being both spontaneous and deliberate at the same time, while also juggling contradictions and keeping life in balance. Developing a personal style and challenging biases are essential in harnessing the power of creative thinking. However, other characteristics, abilities, and skills are also necessary to generate original ideas, including curiosity, planning, negotiation, tolerance, flexibility, metaphorical thinking, self-determination, and divergent thinking. Intuition or a spontaneous insight can generate innovative ideas. Sparked by flashes of intuition, a sudden shift in consciousness may boost experiential wisdom and cultivate a deeper state of perception.
Plasticity of the mind is one of the most important requirements of creativity. The exploratory drive and desire to create are facilitated by dopamine, which makes us more flexible and comfortable with unfamiliar situations and new concepts. A high level of dopamine boosts plasticity of the mind as well as the motivation to explore and the passion to create. Individuals who are more open to novelty have a stronger drive to master new ideas. Self-determination and self-esteem are two major factors that assist throughout the process of actualization of new ideas. And persistence is another important quality for creativity, because the ability to defend your dream, especially in difficult times of rejection, is imperative during creative processes.
On the other hand, people with certain mental conditions such as a predisposition to psychosis may demonstrate a higher level of creativity because their minds are overly stimulated by contradictions, exaggerated meanings, extreme manifestations, intense absorption, and strong, effective engagement. Often, very creative individuals tend to have high sensitivity and ineffective filtering of distracting external stimuli. Low latent inhibition and the inability to screen and disregard irrelevant stimuli may result in the individual being overwhelmed. Sometimes, overthinking forms a barrier for inventive decisions.
Analysis, rationalization, and fear of failure create great tension for creativity and pose a threat to well-being. Sometimes we need meditation, time alone, and tranquility to keep our minds in shape and cultivate ideas. Solitude may improve cognitive control and help reestablish self-awareness. For many creative thinkers, the opportunity to stay in a quiet space to reflect and find meaning plays an important role during the creative process. A chance to get away from the crowded world helps the mind transform insights into meaningful forms. Giving our minds a creative space to crystallize dreams, memories, and current experiences promotes new connections, new perspectives, and the experience of the “aha” moment.
A daydreaming state of mind promotes creative insight. Positive and constructive daydreaming that includes mind-wandering and deeper self-awareness will encourage original thoughts. During this process, incubating an idea may break down our habitual barriers and fears that might otherwise prevent the new idea from being conceptualized. It is effective to alternate daydreaming with traveling, exercise, or simply walking. The most creative minds of the centuries from Aristotle to Beethoven got their ingenious ideas while walking. It has been shown that walking contributes to lower stress and frustration while improving mood and self-awareness and increasing flexibility and connections among distant ideas. Collaboration with creative individuals from different areas of expertise also stimulates creative ideas. Silent reflection and meaningful collaboration, walking and brainstorming, comparing and contrasting, using analogies and receiving feedback, and analyzing patterns and using modular vision are all helpful techniques for attracting serendipity. Today is a good day to start attracting serendipity through creative choices:
- Become an agent of change by doing something different. Be unique and form the habit of being divergent in your thoughts.
- Use healthy stimulation for your mind. Improve your nutrition, exercise, travel, and enjoy creative surroundings.
- Don’t waste your time and energy on insignificant issues. Develop a laser focus on the big picture, because the big picture is all that matters.
- Practice creative techniques regularly. Some of these techniques include brainstorming, reading upside-down, and drawing with both hands simultaneously.
- Don’t second-guess yourself. Once you have come to a decision, make it work. Creativity comes without doubt. You don’t need to see the end of the staircase; take the first step.
- Use different mediums to express yourself. Find a hobby that suits your personality. Perform, sing, paint, drive, write, create games.
- Do not procrastinate. There is never a right time, so do not wait for it to come or demand that the circumstances be just right.
- Be attuned to a problem-solving mode. Incorporate step-by-step problem solving, make process flow diagrams, make timelines.
- Turn optimization into a habit by gaining a better understanding of the issues. Learn always to utilize resources, be consistent, and be persistent.
- Use models of thinking: plan, research, create, adapt, evaluate, and enjoy.
- Utilize modular vision: see each step as part of a greater whole.
- Use analogies. Utilize information from one domain – the source – to help solve a problem in another domain – the target.
- Be aware of inter-connectedness. Everything in your life must work in harmony.
- Be aware of sequences: by understanding your life patterns, you can easily predict and prevent.
- Do not disregard your expertise. Learn from the past and build upon what you know.
- Gain confidence. Build upon your strengths; make a simple action plan; establish measurable goals; be around people who make you feel good.
- Change your attitude. Provide new directions for your emotions.
- Redirect negative feelings: seek excitement; avoid external hazards that cause stress; do something you enjoy on a daily basis.
- Be mindful of your internal balance: do not be influenced by the attitude of other people; use positive affirmations; do not take things personally.
- Learn stress management and adaptation techniques: practice deep breathing; learn how to say no.
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. Bring your attention to the sensations within your body; use cognitive restructuring; find objective support; look at the bigger picture; don’t try to control the uncontrollable; make peace with your past; take control of your environment; find the good.
- Attract serendipity: get lucky through creative choices!