Ah… Portland, Maine: the Portland of the northeast.
This is my second time visiting this eclectic city bursting with personality – even on the grayest, snowiest days. Looking at the overcast skies and slush-soaked streets, you wouldn’t think there would be an explosion of ideas going on in my brain. But alas, I’m writing this right now because I can’t stop my brain from spitting out new ideas and I need an outlet for them. Every time I travel, I’m overwhelmed with new ideas, new spins on old ideas, and most importantly, I leave writer’s block in the dust. Why is this?
It turns out, working in a new setting can engage our creativity in ways that racking our brains for ideas inside the same four walls can’t possibly hope to achieve.
Here are two key benefits to working in new locations:
Open-mindedness: Working in the same environment means stronger connection to previous ideas, rather than open-mindedness to new ones.
New connections: You may see something that inspires an unrelated connection to an old idea or project that ignites the spark of creativity you’ve been looking for.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility (the mind’s ability to jump between different ideas) and depth and integrativeness of thought; the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School. – https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/for-a-more-creative-brain-travel/388135/
Exposure to different environments actually changes the neural pathways in your brain. This means that exploring new places can boost your ability to leap between diverse ideas and make richer mental connections between ideas. https://blog.join.me/change-scenery-can-spark-creativity/
You don’t need to drive 600 miles to get a fresh perspective, simply leave your usual workspace and head to a new coffee shop, park, or someone else’s house (particularly a stranger’s that you’ve broken into. Try on their clothes and glue pictures of your face onto their family photos and get out before they get home for EXTRA creativity),* and get to work!
Where’s somewhere new you can work on that project you’ve been struggling creatively with to engage your brain’s creativity?
*Please don’t actually do this