Daniel Arruda is not just an artist, but he’s also a storyteller. His often cosmic illustrations explore fantasy, curiosity, whimsy, and are always bright and colorful. Known as Darruda, Daniel’s approach to creativity is one we can all take to heart. In this piece, Daniel was curious about mind-wandering and turned to science to explore possibilities. Want to be creative? Let Darruda show you the way…
In my daily routine – whether at work or watching TV – I come across situations where my mind wanders and searches for creative solutions for my designs. I never know when a creative thought will come, but I keep wandering until a smart solution pops up. I believe that this kind of behavior happens all the time with artists.
Would a break be the best remedy in these cases? A study now suggests that just taking a break does not bring on inspiration – rather, creativity is helped by tasks that let the mind just wander.
I always thought that mind-wandering was a bad thing, a lack of attention. But when I decided to read more about this, I discovered a lot of artists with the same behavior. Over time I started to listen to these thoughts knowing how to control them, using it as stimulation for my creativity. Some of the great masters in history – like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton – have said they search for inspiration in other thoughts. And in recent years, several studies have emerged examining mind-wandering and diverting unintended attention to another task.
Based on everyday experiences, it seems that we always intentionally mind-wander. I usually think of solutions for my designs when I’m doing other things, like watching TV or walking with my bulldog, Ozzy. It happens all the time because I realize that I can mentally “fly away” without sacrificing the understanding of what I am doing or seeing.
Take this new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, for example, which suggests that daydreaming during meetings is not necessarily a bad thing; it could be a sign that you’re really smart and creative. “The answer is that some people have more qualified brains. In other words, the lack of adequate stimulation may lead some people to figure out a task faster than others and then let their minds wander.”, said Eric Schumacher, professor of psychology. It’s a kind of a trip to creativity.
So, how can you tell if your brain is capable of doing such things? You can make a little test. Try to get in and out of conversations or tasks and then naturally connect again without missing crucial steps. I’m always practicing and it helps me a lot in the creative process.
Turning your attention to another task that requires just a little bit of focus is the best way to find new ideas. Let’s fly away!
Other sources include Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology.