The Art of Boredom

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May 13, 2021

The Art of Boredom

Creativity thrives in the quiet

Most of Amy Radin’s creative breakthroughs come after her quiet time. When she lets her mind rest and not push so hard, the most interesting patterns and connections appear, fostering breakthroughs that lead to creative freedom. In a time when the degree of change and disruption impacts nearly every facet of our lives, Radin believes finding creative bursts are vital to cultivating and implementing strategic visions.

In her book, “The Change Maker’s Playbook,” Radin profiles leaders seeking to solve unmet market needs. The leaders, Radin says, don’t just have ideas, they feel commitment, and a sense of purpose toward creating new forms of value and growth – ideals that ultimately benefit employees, customers, partners and shareholders.

Getting to that place is not always easy. In a time when technology plays an enormous role in our everyday lives, creatives are expected to create with tech tools and for tech-engaged audiences. They want to move with urgency, speeding progress by learning from others’ experiences. Radin believes this has changed how people develop their creative skills and which ones are now required for commercial creative roles. “With the demand for personalized content, there is a demand for creative that is more highly targeted. This requires an understanding of your audience. What do they care about? What are their needs? What’s on their minds?”

One of the biggest obstacles to finding these answers is that so much of our daily activity has been reduced to bite-size transactions, instead of thoughtfulness from real dialog, from consideration over a few minutes, hours or even overnight. There is pressure put on immediacy that sometimes is great, but too often not a universally useful state of mind.

“I think the issue today is more about stress than boredom, and stress is a terrible inhibitor of creativity,” Radin says. “Creativity requires a freedom of thought, a relaxed mind that can wander and develop ideas, and find connections. It’s really hard to do that when you are under stress. It’s easy to say, ‘I’m too busy,’ but I see that as a cop-out. We can all be more productive and satisfied by taking breaks away from work.”

There are tactics that Radin uses to reenergize her creative juices-small things that have helped her disengage from the noise that so often punctures the walls of creative thought. She developed these self-revitalization strategies on her way to becoming a leading voice on the art of enabling innovation under complex, continually changing conditions. She built an impeccable reputation for moving ideas to performance at brands like American Express, Citi, E*TRADE and AXA.

Her secrets are ones she feels are keys to breeding creativity. She suggests spending 20-30 minutes a day journaling (by hand, not into a Word document). “Just letting your mind go, writing down your thoughts and ideas, frees your mind for creative thinking and is a great routine.”

Another tactic involves taking a few walks every day to break up the monotony of isolation, especially as the days start to blur together during the pandemic. “Walking is proven to be good for creativity and health. Just a trip around the block can give you a fresh perspective and clear your head.”

This article appears in the March/April 2021 issue of Connect magazine, written by Michael J. Pallerino and published by NextPage, which can be found online here. If you would like a free print subscription to Connect, please click here.

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