How to Create Big Ideas Through 'Zero Thinking' Right Now

How to Create Big Ideas Through 'Zero Thinking' Right Now

January 28, 2011 by

As creative professionals, the work we do requires idea generation. Our business relies on thinking up good, new ideas all the time. Creativity is the act of generating new ideas to build, make, improve, develop, and ultimately satisfy the users of products and services.

When we are at the point of requiring to come up with a new idea, be it for the design of a building, writing a screenplay, illustrating a character, or composing music, it often proves a difficult task, simply because we are trying to be creative.

We are putting effort into creating something new, searching for inspiration online, in magazines, procrastinating, hitting ‘mental blocks’ and simply struggling.

So when we do eventually give up trying to generate a big idea, it is during those unexpected moments we so often claim to reach them. These moments may be lying awake at night, in the shower, whilst cooking food or out for a run.

It is in moments like these that we can be at our most creative, simply because we are not trying to be, and this is the contradictory nature of the game we are in.

“Mental clarity will eventually lead to strong idea generation.”

More often than not, we are constricted by time in coming up with new ideas in ways that work, especially when we are faced with work deadlines. If this is the case, there is a way to generate ideas in minutes through the process of simple meditation.

Forget any preconceptions you have about meditation being religious, spiritual, ‘for hippies’, and so on. We are talking about just getting comfortable and focusing on breathing for at least 5 minutes. Meditation will allow you to become detached from wandering thought and, interestingly, can reveal to you new ideas in the process.

Here is how to do this:

- Sit upright somewhere that is comfortable, and distraction free.

- Relax the entire body, but keep the spine straight, to prevent you from falling asleep if you are drowsy.

- Focus on a point directly in front of you slightly above eye level or close your eyes.

- Commit to coming up with an idea for anything you like, it might be for the project you are working on. Just commit to it.

- Now spend at least 5 minutes focusing on your breathing, becoming aware of any thoughts that come up and allow them to wash past you.

If you become engaged with any thought, simply drop it and let it pass. The object of this exercise is to be unattached to thought.

-  Do this for as long as you like, focusing on your breathes and being aware, but detached from any thought.

- You’ll find that such mental clarity will eventually lead to strong idea generation.

When an idea does pop up, just acknowledge it and move on or end the meditation.

You’ll see by doing this that true creativity really does come when we are not trying, but simply staying focused.

Good luck!

About the Author: Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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"Your blog inspires me so much, and helps me feel somehow not as insignificant, despite the plethora of artists around the world."Natalie, artist

  • http://www.tatimaia.com Tati

    Oh, that’s greeeeeat!
    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll give it a try.

    I’ve been thinking about meditation lately, but haven’t a clue about how to do it. So, reading those steps, now I’m feeling ready!

    Hugs!

  • http://www.emmacarpendale.co.uk Emma Carpendale

    I’ve just started going to a meditation session once a week but have been practicing it myself for some time as a way of de-stressing. It’s great for relaxation if, like me, you can’t sit still for a minute and really aids sleep if your mind won’t rest! Haven’t really thought about using it in a creative sense though but will certainly give it a try!

  • http://dannyk.wordpress.com/ Danny

    Good tip! I’ll try it next time I have a creative project :)

  • http://www.equipyourmusic.com Caleb

    I wonder what creativity is, or where it comes from. It’s amazing how powerful the human mind can be… sometimes it seems like the most powerful part of our creative powers lies somewhere outside of our consciousness. This sort of an idea seems to support that idea. If you’re sitting and thinking about nothing, or at least you’re not purposefully constructing things, then where do our ideas come from? But for whatever reason it seems to work.

    I’ve never actually tried doing something like this to help me compose music, but it’s something I’ll have to give a shot. Thanks for the post, interesting thought.

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Emma – it would be interesting to hear about the outcome of you trying it for creativity!

    Alex

  • http://www.writespot.co.uk Stuart Davis

    This really does show the power of the subconcsious. Is it possible that the brain is capable of processing 2 completely different thoughts at once?

  • http://www.onnoknuvers.com Onno Knuvers

    This is a great technique to relax and create new ideas. I use it on a regular basis and you’ll end up with more than enough ideas for your project, plus some more.

    Also if you are interested Tibetan dream yoga is a pretty amazing way of come up with ideas while you are a sleep. Just have a note book handy to write down all the ideas.

  • http://WWW.AWAZDA.COM Amanda Stone

    Meditation helps me relax. What works for me after hitting the mental block hard is to get comfortable and close my eyes. The mash up of ideas and concepts that weren’t working for me while awake some how smooth out when I’m in a dream like state. Dreaming about the problem also allows my mind to create ideas without any preconceptions or judgments. The only trick is knowing when you are about to fall asleep for real and waking up.

  • Alex Mathers

    That’s a thought!

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks for this comment Amanda, I can very much relate!

  • http://www.ochre7.co.uk ochre7

    Great…
    I’m reading a book about mindfulness. It’s a form of meditation that requires just this kind of observational style of relaxation. Leaving you open to spontaneous thought. :)

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  • http://countingbreaths.com Suryanarayana Chennapragada

    I can certify from my experience over last 9 years that ‘Focusing on breathing’ is a simple and doable technique to reduce the wandering of the mind and make the meditation more enjoyable and fruitful. After a few months of this practice, the mind becomes remarkably more obedient and focused. I found that the focus on breathing can be dramatically enhanced by using the fingers to track the breaths. One mode is to use the tips of the fingers as described below.

    **** TIP MODE: Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger. Breathe in and out three times, counting in the mind, every time you breathe out. During the first out breath count ‘one’, second out breath ‘two’ and during the third out breath ‘three’. Repeat the same steps at each of the next three finger tips. When you are at the thumb, place the tip of the index finger at the base of the thumb and breathe three times. Then switch to the other hand and repeat the same process. Continue practicing, switching the hands. You will feel its calming effect, by the time you complete 4 to 6 hands, which takes 2 to 3 minutes. You can use this mode, anywhere and anytime to avert potential stress or dissolve built up stress!****

    For five other modes of ‘focusing on breathing’ – Segment mode, Counting mode, Feeling mode, Staring mode and 911 modes, please visit this page http://countingbreaths.com/fob/relax/how-can-i-do-it/

    I have been using ‘focusing on breathing’ technique throughout the day, using one or more of the modes. During my daily meditation, initially, I count my breaths in sets of three and when the mind becomes less distracted I switch to my mantra. After about 9 years of meditation, and simple stretching, I now feel like I have a new mind and body!

  • Alex Mathers

    Wonderful comment, thank you for sharing and revealing that extra tip! Breathing is so important for focus and clearing the mind! Thank you :)

  • elyssa

    Hi, i’ve tried this and it definitely gave me ideas! thanks for the tips! :)