Why Disconnecting Is Crucial For Creativity (Tahoe Trip)
A lot has been written in the last few years about rest, breaks, and margin. Naps are suddenly in style for people older than six. The “Safety Training” episode of The Office is no longer a joke.
After decades of 70 hour work weeks being a badge of honor companies and employees seem to finally have had enough. Especially now in the knowledge work age. A healthy body may be able to work for 10 hours straight but a mind cannot. Not effectively anyway.
For us as followers of Christ however, this is nothing new.
God Himself rested on the seventh day after creation.
The Old Testament Law required rest for both man and land.
Our Father calls us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
Jesus demonstrated many times the importance of getting away from noise and distraction.
He was “lead by the Spirit into the wilderness”
Many times He stopped what He was doing and “went up on the mountain to pray”
God’s Words is clear that quite, undistracted time with our Lord is crucial to our spiritual well being. It bleeds into every aspect of our life.
As creatives it also has ton to do with our ability to think, create, problem solve, and be inspired. Last week my wife and I spent a week away in beautiful Lake Tahoe. The disconnection almost immediately had an impact on my creativity. I had time to do things like:
- Write a Jazzy rendition of “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations
- Write and recorded a few other song ideas
- Read a biography on Bob Dylan
- Work my way through Bob’s early discography noting his influence on John Mayer’s later albums
- Spend time drawing
There’s nothing profound about any of these activities but the principle is profound.
A mind that is constantly consuming content never has the chance to produce content.
Your mind needs time to process everything you’ve taken in before it can actually consider it in any kind of meaningful way. Vacations are few and far between but here are a few ideas to give your mind some margin for creativity.
- Don’t take your phone with you everywhere
- Don’t listen to anything on your commute
- Read a chapter instead of watching an episode before bed
- Take short walks without earphones
- Have conversations about films, albums and podcasts
- Write. Either for yourself or for others
I hope that when you encounter a still, quit moment, no music, no screen, no immediate action to take, it isn’t a foreign feeling but a comfortable one.
How do you get away and let you mind wander? Let us know!