One day, a friend called to say she was upset to learn that she needed an expensive car repair. I suggested that we go mall walking that evening. “Let’s see if we can walk ourselves into an answer,” I said. For the first twenty minutes, we walked and she talked. By that time, her stress was considerably lower.
Then an amazing thing happened. As we turned a corner, she said, “I have an idea. I’ve got those Disney World passes that I could sell on eBay.” We walked a little farther and she thought of something else she could add to her online marketing. A few days later, she’d made her sales and fixed her car.
When you feel stuck or bereft of an idea, putting yourself in motion can do wonders. Walking, driving on a familiar road, or doing household chores involves motion, but doesn’t require much mental energy. Our minds become receptive. (This is not true of playing sports where our mind is also engaged in the action.)
Soren Kierkegaard said, “I have walked myself into some of my best thoughts.” You can, too.
$100 Hour: Finish things. How about a follow-through service to complete unfinished projects? If you’re handy at repairs or household jobs, you could complete things that do-it-yourselfers never got done. Needlework is another area where enthusiasm sometimes diminishes before the work is done. Busy people frequently start more than they can finish. You could find a gold mine here—and relieve a bit of guilt.
Explore More: In her book The Creative Habit, choreographer Twyla Tharp writes, “I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.”
Sometimes I think creativity is magic. It’s not a matter of finding an idea but allowing that idea to find you. ~ Maya Lin