A Whack on the Side of the Head

Don and the Mountain Lion

Montana Popular Photography Workshop - Don & The Mountain Lion

I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot lately, and I came across a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for years – “A Whack on the Side of the Head,” by Roger von Oech. A friend of mine suggested this book years ago when we were working at an ad agency, and I’ve returned to it many times, whenever I’ve wanted or needed to get my creative juices flowing.

I’ve been spending way too much time in my left brain lately, and I’ve felt sluggish and blah. So I decided to open the book to a random page and see what jumped out at me. I ended up in the chapter debunking the myth that “Play is frivolous.” It’s interesting that a friend of mine had just mentioned that a speaker at a recent local TedX presentation said the same thing – that when we bring play and relaxation and fun into our daily thought processes, we become freer and allow new, seemingly unrelated or ridiculous ideas into our problem-solving process. And that leads us to create unexpected and often better results than the plodding, tried-and-true ways we usually choose.

So, today I’m going consciously allow myself to look at situations with a lighter, more playful eye. I’m going to let myself relax and stop trying to force the answers. And I’m going to get up from my desk and visit with friends and talk about something fun – and completely unrelated to whatever problem I’m dealing with at the time. And when I go back to my desk, I have a feeling I’ll see new solutions more quickly and easily than if I’d sat there beating my head against the wall.

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