Does Spontaneity Make you More Creative?

Do you remember childhood play?  When you could be completely engrossed in the activity of the moment?  No worries, no thoughts about what to cook for dinner, the email you need to send out, whether you’ve bought enough suntan lotion for vacation or taken care of the weeds on the front walk.  Just play.  100% engrossed in coloring or building blocks or dressing Barbie.

It wasn’t boring and didn’t need to be productive.  It felt like it was the most important thing in the world.  There are benefits to harnessing the focus and attention of children.  Somewhere along the line it slips away, almost without our noticing until it’s gone.  To get it back, at least for a moment, can take conscious effort.

According to an article in this month’s Psychology Today, thinking like a kid can boost creative output in adults.  Mindfulness experts like Thich Nhat Hahn have long prescribed engaging fully in the activity of the moment as a method of focusing the mind and finding calm and relaxation.

Give it a try and see if you find a benefit in thinking and being more like your childhood self.  According Michael Robinson, one way to get back in that mindset is to do something spontaneous.

If you’ve done something that got you back in that mindset, put it in the comment section below.  What spontaneous activity have you engaged in that made you feel like a kid?  What pulled your entire attention and focus?

6 Replies to “Does Spontaneity Make you More Creative?”

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  3. I spend a lot of time in the childlike mode. It does make a difference and I would like to do more. When I lose that, seriousness and depressed feelings take over and I take myself way too seriously.
    The trouble with spontaneity for me is that somehow I also have to work in some structure or nothing gets done.
    I always was a lazy child!


  5. I guess I spend a lot of time daydreaming and being “childlike”. Problem is, too many times I find it hard to be creative where I need it, like if I had to design some building when I was studying Architecture. Also, I’ve been told very often to “grow up” since high school, and I have no idea of what they mean; it’s more offending when some of those people who would tell me that behave like brats themselves. Still, I always feel like I don’t “fit” because of not having had so many boyfriends, having lost my virginity at a somewhat “late” age, living still at home, and not being too interested or desperate in marrying or having kids, the supposed sign of maturity. Like that witch that was my mother-in-law: “At your age, I already had 2 kids”. I’ve also been called a “little girl” for smiling and laughing often. That’s why I feel I have to get in some shell and put up a front, and the less people know about me, the better (at least offline). Hmmm, maybe that could also explain why I like costumes and masks.

  6. Not everyone loses that ability to focus as they age. When I did research in mathematics, it was as engrossing as you describe. In fact, I suspect that any mathematician would tell you the same. I don’t think that it’s possible to truly create mathematics without that focus. Quite possibly this holds in other creative ventures too: I don’t know.

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