How much does environment affect creativity? How much does any context affect the production of creative ideas and ease of their creation? I think almost all of us can relate to environment in the context of shifting the state of mind to prepare for use in a certain way. Either to alter mood for creativity, or heighten focus for productivity in some way. How much does that make a difference in results? Is it ubiquitous, or does it work differently depending on the individual and their ability to project and focus?
The concept can be extended outside of realm of creativity in an abstract sense as we will be focusing on here. There are studies that back the claim that environment means much when it comes to productivity of task. For example, it is said that you are not supposed to study or write while in bed. Your bed is the place in which you sleep and shut down your mind to rest. If you try and do tasks that stimulate the brain then it will affect you when you try and go to sleep and shut down. Conversely, even when awake, your body and mind associate the act of settling down and rest with being in bed, so it will then affect your alertness and ability to focus if work is attempted to be done in that context.
Within the realm of music and art, some take this concept incredibly far. Creativity being subjective, and the skills necessary to produce consistently and effectively lead to some pretty creative necessities in order to enter the zen creative state. Exemplifying traits of a condition called LSD ( Lead Singer’s Disease ), often times singer’s require a dimly lit vocal recording booth with black candles, certain incense of a particular aroma, magic elixir of honey, lemon and root from a plant only found in the West Andes in order to get the perfect performance of pitch and emotion. A painter may wear a certain hat every time he paints. A writer may feel more productivity in a corner coffee shop than his own living room.
Context extends beyond physical and geographic means, as with some of the previous examples it also finds influence through ritual. A process through which the mind traverses in order to reach a certain state. A state, in the case of creativity, that can be quite elusive to find time and time again. These places, rituals and contexts serve as a familiar way to find our way back to that state. And as such can play a very important role in consistent productivity and retention of joy and exploration in work. It is something that I want to continue to explore and find ways in which to wrangle and control the brightest essence of my inner creative being.
I believe that with practice, one will need less and less contextual triggers in order to enter their optimal creative state. I imagine the masters can, with only an assertion of will, enter that state on command and within any context. That is the goal that I want to achieve. With discipline and familiarity become a focused creative being.
What are your most creative environments and rituals? What do you do in order to ‘get in the zone’, become ‘zen, and find your ultimate creative state. Please leave thoughts and questions in the comments below.