Can Walking Improve Creativity?
"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking..." that's a fantastic quote by Nietzsche and I want to discuss why this is important for overcoming creative blocks.
Nietzsche quote speaks the idea that sometimes, if you're working in your studio or office you find yourself really focused or closed in on something and are not feeling inspired.. what you need is to be in a different environment, somewhere a bit more expansive to look up to the sky and look out.
One of the best ways that we can do that is to get out and start walking
You'll notice a lot of the most creative people in history have been big walkers They likely would have a problem that needed a creative solution...they'd wrestle with it for a while and then they go out for a walk to really let it sit and salt in the back of their mind.
From Aristotle to Charles Darwin's, to Silicon Valley heroes like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs who have sworn by walking meetings, a shockingly high percentage of great minds loved to wander.
WALK YOUR WAY TO A EUEKA MOMENT
For years, science has known that moving energizes your brain and makes you a little smarter. But that's not the whole reason walking is so good for creativity.
Eureka moments tend to come to us not when we're intensely focused on a problem but when we're idly thinking about something else, allowing our subconscious mind to chew on the issue in the background.
"Because we don't have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander--to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind's theater. This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight," explains Ferris Jabr in a fabulous New Yorker article on the science of walking.
....so get out there and get walking
WALKING GUIDELINES FOR CREATIVITY
Have a destination. Actually walking to somewhere like a local park or point of interest can help sell the idea to others and give structure to the outing.
But don't make it food. Walking is a good way to be healthier. Don't ruin it by making your end point a whipped cream-topped GritCrit Coffee-ccino.
Feel free to roam. While an endpoint is advisable, let curiosity guide you. If you see something you want to explore, take a detour. Science shows that such spontaneity might further boost your creative inspiration.
Keep it intimate. Walking meetings should have a maximum of three participants.
Know your goal. Walking is great for brainstorming, getting to know people better, and chewing over issues. It's not a good way to make final decisions.