Motivational Mondays: Using Intuition

Intuition is our body radar, picking up signals to give us inside knowledge on which to base decisions. It is an instinctive response not an intellectual or logical one. It’s a feeling. When we listen to and follow our gut instinct, things usually turn out well. It is our animal instinct. We often leave it dormant.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition is a sense; it relays information, be that of danger or fortune. It gives an inkling of what might be ahead, behind or out of sight. It is what we do with the information that determines the path we carve for ourselves. Our creative nature responds to intuition, so the more open we are to the intuitive sense the more creative we can be. But we can only tap into it if we choose to stop and listen, for it is a subtle and delicate sense that can be easily drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

It takes patience, awareness and practice. Take time to pause, to notice moments of insight and flashes of inspiration, to watch patterns of events unfolding and evolving around you. Similar occurrences start to appear in different areas of your life and you can begin to make connections. You notice avocados are pushed to the front of the shelves in the supermarket, then someone recommends avocado oil, then you read that avocados are a superfood. Your week starts to pop with avocados and before you know it you are eating them every day and putting avocado oil on your salad and making face masks from the flesh. This is an example of how something slowly creeps onto our radar until it is multiplying across all our senses and we decide to act upon the flashing message in our brain: “avocados are good for you, eat more of them.”

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

The same thing happens when we start to become more positive in our lives. We become more sensitive to negative people, the ones that drain our energy. Gradually we are so attuned that when we hear negative talk it feels like someone running their nails down a black board. Our intuition by now is so strong in that area that the moment we meet someone we instantly ‘know’ if they are good for us or not. Our intuitive sense is screaming at us to back off from the negative people, to shake off their cloak of bleakness. If we ignore this voice we can start to become depleted or even ill from the strain of propping ourselves up against the dripping effect of their toxic waste.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

When an opportunity arises, our intuition responds first; a flutter of excitement or a sense of fear or dread. We then check in with all our other senses and background information. Our logic piles in with the pros and cons. We make connections, run the reel through our minds of what the outcome will look like in a variety of scenarios. Then the best thing we can do is walk away, sleep on it, distract ourselves with other projects. Our intuitive system takes over while our conscious analytical brain is distracted. It percolates the experience until it makes sense of it. Processed, it will seep its way to the surface of our consciousness and we are able to make our decision. Sleep helps the process, with dreams incubating and unraveling the issue, away from the meddling of our conscious mindset, until the intuitive feelings become thoughts that can be acted on. If we listen to the advice of the wrong people it can set us off at a tangent to our intuition, cast us adrift from what we instinctively know to be right.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

We feel intuition through a physical change in our bodies, sweaty palms, a tightening in our chest, a flutter in our stomach. Scientists at the University of Iowa did a study to test for perspiration on card players’ hands. The players didn’t know that the deck was stacked but after turning over about ten cards they started generating stress responses with sweatier palms. But it wasn’t until they had turned over 50 cards that they began to suspects the cards were rigged and not until they had got to 80 cards that they were able to work out how the decks were stacked. Their bodies sensed something was up long before their conscious minds were able to make the connection. And another study in 2005 found that the brain regions associated to bodily signals and sensory processing in people who meditated regularly, had developed more grey matter. Meditators are better placed to listen to their intuition.

“We all process things that we’re not consciously aware of—it’s a feeling of knowing that uses an older brain structure,” says neuroscientist Beatrice de Gelder, PhD, who researches blindsight, a phenomena of blindness that occurs when brain is damaged but the patient is still able to navigate a course or detect a person’s facial expression even though the can’t see using their conscious vision. Because we’re so dependent on our sense of sight, she says, we’re not used to trusting our intuitive vision track. When we feel a sense of foreboding about something we must pay attention to that sensation.

In 1957 W. I. B. Beveridge explored the role of the intuition and imagination in science in his book The Art of Scientific Investigation. He found that the more people were able to listen to their intuition, the more open was their conduit to creative thinking. Anne Lamott‘s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, agrees “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.”

Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Steve Jobs: “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and the intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world… Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic, it is learned and it is the great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.”

When Picasso began a drawing he would hold his pen above the blank page, not knowing what he was going to draw. Then he would touch the nib to paper and let his intuition guide his creativity and the drawing would flow from his hand. Writers say that just the act of showing up at their keyboard everyday, allows the words to pour from a place they can’t intellectually tap into. But intuition doesn’t just belong to the artistic. Intuition and creativity are an integral part of us all. They are interconnected, interdependent and interchangeable from each other and from all our other human capabilities. The more we develop those aspects of ourselves the more everything else flows in a transference that quantum physicists like to call ‘instant information transference’. We make better decisions, we learn more easily, we understand more, we make more original connections, we are more empathetic, we see things more clearly, we gain a deeper insight into our own purpose and we find life more meaningful.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition and creativity help build our intelligence and guide our behavior, whilst creating a fertile field for making innovative progress. Our brains are plastic, always ready to be stretched, molded and developed. All we have to do is get out of our own way, pause, listen and learn from that quiet inner compass and gradually our mind expands, our intuitive voice gets stronger, our ability to think creatively and make connections grows and our intelligence becomes alert, responsive and boundless.

To develop our intuitive strength

  1. We must learn to become to attuned to our intuitive sense

  2. We must learn to interpret what we tune in to

  3. We must learn to act on what we have connected to

Learn to use your intuition and creativity by working with me as your creative coach, and create a richer life for yourself. Email me to find out more: Lou@createlab.co.uk

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

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Motivational Mondays: Be Curious

Creativity is thinking outside of the box, it’s turning the box upside down or it’s doing away with the box altogether. Without curiosity our creative thinking skills remain stuck in a box.

Looking up when everyone is else is looking down is what creative thinkers do

Looking up when everyone is else is looking down is what creative thinkers do

Some people think only artistic people are creative but I believe that if you can form a question then you have the ability to think creatively. Creativity is curiosity, wanting to find out more, asking why or why not. It’s taking nothing for granted, it’s disrupting the norm and questioning what is ‘right’. Creative thinkers want to know why, how, where, when; they dig deep. The world is a fathomless dimension of exploration and discovery and each of us has but a short time to make the most of what we’ve been given.

As a filmmaker creating characters I have to continually interrogate their very existence, their purpose, their motives, their behaviors, their thoughts, speech and interactions with others. But you can only go so far before you inevitably get stuck or get to the point where you think you’ve nailed your characters and story. At that point you need to ask for the opinions and comments of others. Are you on the right track or have you backed an articulated lorry onto an airport runway? You need other people to give you the third degree in the same way that you have done to your characters. If they are really creative they’ll get you doing mental backflips, cartwheels and the tango all at once in the hope of getting you out of any place of self-satisfaction and complacency that you may find yourself.

On the RISE scheme (Northern Film & Media are working in partnership with Women in Film and Television and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art to nurture and develop six emerging female filmmakers over the course of a year) this is exactly the opportunity we have been given. To have our creativity challenged by industry professionals, and contorted into positions we would never have dreamed possible when we first started writing. You start with, ‘here are the characters and this is what happens to them’. Then you get (thankfully) script editor Kate Leys & film director Josh Appignanesi making you think more deeply –  why do they want that, why should we care enough to watch them, do you need that person at all, can’t you see it through someone else’s eyes, what if you got rid of everything you have written up to the midpoint and started the film there, are they the right gender? Etc etc. This is mind acrobatics in free fall.

It’s enough to make your head spin and your brain melt but give it 24 hours and those creative impulses start firing new sparks and making new connections. They have been disrupted enough to see new improved directions for your script to go. So you push your ideas to another level, keeping at it every day, reworking and reworking and reworking. Until eventually you get to someone like film distributor Julia Short who reads your treatment and goes ‘yes I get the story, get the relationships, get the underlying themes, get the journey and the transformation and yes be that ambitious, yes think on that cinematic scale, yes go for that casting and that budget, don’t hold back, ramp it up, why not go the whole hog.’ And your creative juices fire up several notches and off you go again.

Shift things about to create something new.

Shift things about to create something new.
“Melt” Wax Installation by Ruby May London

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.“ Jodi Picault

It takes 10,000 hours to master anything and unless we are challenged, questioned, prodded and cajoled we may be tempted to stop at 100 hours. We might think that’s all we need to do. We need those mentors and coaches and influencers and interrogators and investigators to help us get the best out of ourselves and our work. It’s not easy but it’s worth it to not end up with the half hearted, slapdash or dull.

Architect Frank Lloyd-Wright was self-taught. He didn’t know that buildings at that time ‘had’ to be rectangular so he created the oval, arcs and circles of the Guggenheim Museum New York. Steve Jobs bunked out of University, did a short course in calligraphy and created Apple. He didn’t know that you ‘have’ to go to, and stick at, University to get a good job or build a business. The art of Not Knowing is like always having a beginner’s mind, a mind hungry and curious.

Let go and see where your creative thinking takes you

Let go and see where your creative thinking takes you

Creativity is problem-solving without rules, it’s the spirit of curiosity in the face of the mundane, logical and routine, it’s the picking apart of the safe or commercial or obvious or trite, it’s throwing things up in the air and seeing where they land. Be fearless in your day and question everything and everyone. That’s how humans got to fly, it’s how we transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. The only people who aren’t creative are the ones unwilling to try.

Are you in the business of doing things normally and getting predictable results but actually really, you want to rock your world? Then get yourself a Creative Thinking Coach and transform your life or work into something you’ll want to tell your grandkids about. Email me HERE to find out more and lets get started!

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We all have the ability to think creatively at our core

We all have the ability to think creatively at our core