I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My town bordered the city. It didn’t feel so much like a blend of urban and rural but like a battle between the two. We sometimes walked through metal detectors on the way into school, but you could see a deer pass at any time.
Sandwiched between my subdivision and the strip mall on the main road nearby sat a small wooded area. “The woods.” Just enough space to get lost in childhood adventure but not enough to worry your parents when you played there.
I remember going there with the neighborhood kids to play for hours. An entire day could pass of us building forts, finding creatures, jumping back and forth across the creek (or “crick” as most people called it). When I see kids now entranced by their phones and iPads, my heart often breaks a tiny bit wondering if they ever have space for imagination and adventure. If they ever invent their own game or create their own language. If their aptitude for technology isn’t coming at the cost of their sense of wonder. Then again, I image all generations feel this same heartbreak as they contemplate the upcoming one.
What’s funny is, I’m currently depriving myself of this type of joy as an adult. I’m always on my phone. I’m always double-screening. I’m rarely left alone with my own thoughts and imagination.
I often do my best thinking in the shower. I thought perhaps it could be related to the calming nature of it. How relaxed I am. But could it honestly be the fact that it’s one of the only places in my life where I physically cannot bring my phone?
Even as I sit here and write this, I’m on a Spirit Airlines flight with no wifi (#entrepreneurlife). Even 30k feet in the air, I’m still usually distracted. Responding to emails. Sending off a slide deck. Watching a movie. If I’m very very lucky, asleep. But on this flight, none of those was an option.
Today I just sat here (forcibly) alone with my thoughts. And it was magical.
I thought of a million new ideas for ALV (stay tuned!). I unintentionally crafted 5 notes of gratitude to people in my life (not as a set practice but simply because I felt compelled to). Taking off I felt exhausted. Now I feel completely energized.
I want that for you.
Find a way to force it. Go somewhere in nature. Lock yourself somewhere away from devices. Take a Spirit Airlines flight for Pete’s sake. I don’t care how you do it. But let your brain go play in the woods.
This week’s challenge
Spend one hour of uninterrupted creative time. Put the phones and gadgets away, and do something that awakens your creative spirit. It can be as simple as reading a book, journaling, coloring, you name it! Just give yourself the time and space for your brain to wander.
We know you want to learn more. Here are some of our favorite additional resources:
- Take a class: Sign Up For a Creative Class With Dabble
- Here’s some screen time to help you to spend less screen time: 6 TED Talks That Will Change the Way You Look at Your Phone
- Immerse yourself in nature: Forest Bathing: How Talking to Trees Helped Me Heal
- Get Creative: 9 Ways to be More Creative in the Next 10 Minutes
Unsure where to stay when it comes to finding ways to be creative? In this video, Coach Danielle explains the concept of passions and why they are so important in our lives and careers. She then walks us through 3 questions to help us identify them!