Exercise (when used intentionally) alters our state of mind, and can lead to creative outcomes.
Today I drove 2 hours back into Portsmouth from Columbus, Ohio. My legs and mind where heavy, and I felt like laying about while the night wasted away. My plan initially was to work upon returning to Portsmouth tonight, but where am I to find the motivation after a long days work? After some time in quiet to read and reflect, I resolved myself to go outside and run.
Before exercising, I was clueless on the topic of my blog today, and uninspired to write it. Post exercise, I was tired, dripping in sweat, and full of ideas to write.
What about exercise inspired a creative act?
This inspiration was not just exercise, but an, “Altered State of Consciousness.” A new frame of mind is a powerful tool in creating inspired and fresh works! Consider the obvious and more subtle advantages of exercise (especially rigorous exercise) such as;
1.) Overall health and wellness.
2.) endorphin release (heightened awareness)
3.) “positive distraction”, or an act that is not explicitly on task, while still contributing in some way to the task at hand.
But of course, their are many other ways to make an, “Altered State of Consciousness.” Consider the following ideas, and how they impact a new way of thinking:
– conversations with new and interesting individuals
– travel to new places.
-activities that require your full engagement.
-the art of others: video-games, galleries, writings, performance.
To encounter an altered state of consciousness, you must find something that immerses you, or challenges you, or makes you uncomfortable, OR ALL 3. This state of mind is most valuable in creative pursuits because it can broaden you thinking, and help you to approach problem solving from different angles. The greatest detriment to your creativity is to constantly be unchanged, and stagnant in the same vacuum of influences all the time.
Creative minds of all sorts fine processes that optimize creative performance. Exercise is often a key part of this process. Here are a few creative minds that exercise I know of Personally, and their procedures.
Chris Do: Ceo of “The Futur,” and “Blind Studios,” both notable design agencies in Santa Monica California. Chris does calisthenics with his team after lunch everyday to optimize creative energy levels.
Bastien Lecouffe: Bastien, a digital fine artist for Wizards of the Coast, has admitted in his classes at Shawnee to doing pushups on every hour in order to stay focused.
Laine Raiser: An influential man in the start of the creative cult, and the most creative man I’ve ever know. His favorite time in the day was often landscaping and digging up rocks on his steep hillside. He spent nearly 1,000 hours on a few of his watercolor paintings.
Tony Robbins: In a ted talk on his success, Tony provoked the crowd to, “exercise and have an edge.” Implying that there were advantages to stepping away from work for a moment, and being good to your body.
Peter Chan: Concept artist for Double Fine Studios, and other massively popular works such as Monsters Inc. (University). Peter lives centralized in a forest. He advocates the benefits of walking through nature in order to gain to insights on projects.
What’s the take away then?
Exercise and Diversify. You’ll be more creative for it. Try taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes the next time you’re up against a computer screen for too long. Don’t take that notepad with you this time. Just walk, breathe, and observe. Let your subconscious do the rest.
What’s incredible about being open to new stimulus and altering your state of consciousness is that most often what seems the least likely to help solve a problem ends up being a crucial component of your process.