A Little ‘Blue Sky’ Thinking

A little ‘Blue Sky’ thinking can go a long way, but in my youth it mostly led to trouble.

“Jo would be great if only she could stay in the classroom”, my frustrated teachers would say to my concerned parents. Little did I know that the Daydreaming I was doing would turn out to be one of the central tenets of Creativity and by the time I was 50, people would be paid to teach others how to do it better and so would I.

The colour blue of ‘blue sky thinking’, may seem a spurious link to creative output, but not only does it seem to remind our primeval brains of big open skies and far horizons in a way which encourages more open thinking, but particular shades of the colour blue can help us to drop into a state of Alpha waves which are known to enhance our creativity; we also often fall into this state when we are showering, or driving a route we know really well. It is not a sleepy, hypnotic state, as you may imagine daydreaming to be, but is a state of relaxed alertness, where our left and right brains communicate easily with each other, generating new neural pathways, between divergent ideas.

In more Calvinistic societies, it is easy to assume that solutions to problems, or the development of creative ideas are best achieved through determined focus and application, no doubt whilst drinking copious amounts of caffeine, or in some cases, alcohol; however, that external focus of looking outside oneself for the answer, mixed with the adrenalising effects of the caffeine, (which shuts down the brain’s higher functioning and makes it singularly focussed), cuts off the creative capacities of the brain and culls divergent thinking, rendering us incapable of coming up with personal insights, new ideas and innovation, though it becomes valuable, even important at the implementation stage.

If you are concerned this isn’t a financially viable approach, or is even possibly bonkers, check out the enormous success of 3M, one of the most successful companies in the Fortune 500; they were recently ranked the 3rd most innovative company in the world, beaten only by Apple and Google. 3M implement a ‘Flexible Attention Policy’, or ‘bootlegging hour’, which entails every researcher spending 15% of their day pursuing speculative new ideas. This isn’t of course all they do, but that’s a subject for another post!

To learn more about this correlation, check out Jonah Lehrer’s brilliant and insightful book, Imagine.

If you’d like to develop a quick and effective ‘trigger’ for dropping into Alpha yourself, go to the Heartmath site to learn how.

by Jo Stone

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