Supposedly our brain works with surprising efficiency. Not that I ever would have believed that in high school math, but that’s not the point – nobody likes math – it’s too predictable. The electricity firing in the space between our ears is neatly sorting and filing every experience just waiting for the chance to be re-opened. When we face challenges that are similar to past experience our brain already has a tried and tested solution just waiting to bulldoze the competition. We are so predictable.
One of the greatest challenges of creative thinking is to not think from our default setting. While defaults are useful for getting the job done they don’t make the job very fun. We do because we have done.
And what gets done is nothing new, creative, or in many cases, very fulfilling.
I have found that getting stuck in default thinking causes me great anxiety and a trigger happy finger just itching to shoot the boredom. In these times I have realized that I need thought igniters to help spark ideas and creativity. Here are a few igniters that get things going for me:
- provocative reading outside my field
- great music
- connecting randomness/free association of words and idea’s (freestyle rappers are among the best in the world at this)
- looking for loopholes in systems
- metaphors about pretty much anything
- bouldering and rest days
- a great story
I believe that pastors and church leaders should be among the most creative bunch of people in the world simply because we have the most predictable job in the world. Our job hasn’t changed in 2000 years…we point people to Jesus. Maybe if we had a few more thought igniters in our lives we wouldn’t have to resort to math.