How Being Present Boosts your Creativity

green and yellow fish on water

Have you ever noticed how your creative potential reduces when you’re stuck thinking about something that’s already happened, or anxious about something that’s not happened yet?

If so, then read on, as the purpose of this text is to reflect and provide tips on how to be more present and liberate mental space in order to create. After all, most of the time, we live life in rational-mode; a mental state in which we’re constantly interacting and intervening with what’s going on around us. And learning to be more present means training our ability to observe without intervening. This is because when we intervene with external events, we tend to do so in auto-pilot mode, hence we stop giving ourselves the opportunity to perceive what’s really happening in the present moment in order for our brain to make new neural connections.

But, why be more creative?

First, it’s one of the most relevant and most desirable skills in today’s job market in all areas, as recognised by the World Economic Forum. Those who are more creative find it easier to see new solutions to problems and challenges in their personal lives too, resulting in increased optimism and resilience.

Okay, so how does being more present boost our creativity?

Being present means that your five senses are more tuned in to what is happening in the “here and now”; you’re more open to receiving (mainly auditory, visual and tactile) information that connects you to what you’re doing. This helps you perceive how to overcome challenges linked to the task at hand and gain insights into how to resolve problems and innovate within your professional area, even if not immediately.

So, how can we tune our senses in to what’s going on, and train our mental attitude to process, with minimal prior judgement, the information that is received by our central nervous system? 

One way we can do this is by training the following:

  • Appreciate – recognise the value of the present moment, and recognise that this is the only moment available to us to act; the only time moment in which we can choose to live.
  • Give meaning – understand the purpose of what you’re doing or the given moment within a larger context (in relation to your personal / professional goal). 
  • Relativise – seek another perspective, another way of looking at what you’re experiencing, a point of view that will allow you to perceive what you’ve never perceived, and construct new associations or combine ideas in a new way.
  • Connect – build connections with others in relation to a given task or activity – be open to hearing and understanding the people with whom you’re sharing the present moment.
  • Meditate – practise reducing mental noise and learn the importance of pauses for your capacity to create as well as for your mental health.

This is what training our ability to be present can produce: a mental and emotional state of mind in which we feel free from preconceptions, judgements, paradigms and thoughts in order to create something new.