The answer to your own personal, burning question may be waiting for you in the street outside your home. Or possibly, in these stay-at-home pandemic times, inside your living room.
On the opening day of C2 Online — Montréal 2020, Street Wisdom founder David Pearl guided participants through the workshop, or rather walkshop, “Creativity not captivity.” The principle goal of the walkshop was to leave participants with an applicable technique they can use to boost their creativity in the future.
Street Wisdom is an international movement based on the premise that when you go outside into what would normally be bustling streets, you can experience extraordinary creative stimulus. For C2 Online, David presented a refined, digital adaptation of Street Wisdom designed to reflect our current physically distanced reality, sharing a technique enabling participants to excite their imagination even if they are unable to leave their home.
“If we can tune into our surroundings, rather than block them out… we can pick up all sorts of wisdom,” David explained. “It’s a little bit like thinking of the world around you as a kind of server, and you can log into it, and once you have you can browse… You can ask a question to your surroundings and you’re going to get answers.”
Take it one step at a time
After a series of simple exercises designed to “tune up” the senses, participants arrived at the Quest Phase. In this phase, participants were asked to bring a question to mind that they wanted a fresh answer to. He gave examples: “What is a great way to make money from my hobby?” Or “What do I do when I retire?”
“Your feet are wiser than your head — they’re going to take you on a little journey.”
Participants were then asked to take a 15-minute walk, and let their body and senses guide them as they wandered around their home in search of an object, a word or a smell that resonated with them. “Be drawn to what attracts you,” David instructed. “Slow down and see the beauty in everything. You’ll find that it flicks a switch and just opens you up to more wisdom that’s coming from around you.”
Widely applicable wisdom that revealed itself during the walkshop included the following:
Trust your gut
When asking what your next step is in work or in life, use your body as a navigational tool. “In these days where we’re overwhelmed with information and there’s no shortage of answers to things, use your body, use those wise feet, use your gut sense of feel — where does your body want to take you?” Instead of going to Wikipedia for answers, David said, turn to the creative resource that’s within you.
Find a better question
Participants reported changing their perspective on the question they asked themselves, or finding a better question. “That can actually be the most important thing. Finding the right question can be more valuable than finding the right answer.”
Choose your own tempo
David, also known as the “creativity maestro” because he is a trained classical musician, thinks a lot about tempo. “In any situation, I’d love us to be able to choose our tempo and not necessarily go with the tempo of everything that’s happening around us. Sometimes you need to be fast and sometimes you need to be slow. In music, it’s what they call the tempo giusto — just the right speed.”
Think beyond your walls
David noted that a lot of people, especially those in creative businesses, are very used to being with other people – being in creative spaces is key to our creativity, and a lot of us can’t do that right now. He emphasized that we ought not let the walls of our current “captivity” constrain us. He cited the example of Nelson Mandela, who despite being incarcerated for so many years, let his mind expand beyond the prison walls.
“What I think we’re being asked to do, both individually and collectively, is how can we reach out using whatever means possible beyond our immediate circumstances? …We’re being asked to extend our senses beyond our skin, beyond our bodies.
“Don’t feel captured by your physical situation.”
In case you missed it…
Check out The Takeaways, a selection of the top action items and themes that came out of C2 Online — Montréal 2020, October 19-30.
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