The next time you need a creative approach or solution, nix the disciplined mental focus and instead let your mind wander.
In his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer says that laser-like focus actually inhibits creative thinking. People come up with more creative ideas when they daydream.
“Usually the ‘aha moment’ arrives after you stop looking for it,” Lehrer says.
Other lessons in sparking creative ideas:
Seek out a circle of creativity. Example: Shakespeare didn’t create alone. He was surrounded by other literary geniuses, like Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon and John Donne.
Look for diverse points of view. Example: Pixar’s office space was designed in a way that forces employees to walk long distances to reach the bathroom. The result? More random meetings with far-flung staffers.
Face hardship with grit. Example: J.K. Rowling had to go through many rejections from publishers before she found a way to print the Harry Potter series.