In a word: solitude.
Creativity often flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.
The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it’s only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. Some of the most famous philosophers took daily walks, and it was on these walks that they found their deepest thoughts.
Just a few of the benefits found from solitude:
- time for thought
- in being alone, we get to know ourselves
- we face our demons, and deal with them
- space to create
- space to unwind, and find peace
- time to reflect on what we’ve done, and learn from it
- isolation from the influences of other helps us to find our own voice
- quiet helps us to appreciate the smaller things that get lost in the roar
The Greats on Solitude
Of course, many other creative people have believed in the habit of solitude.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works and is among the most popular of classical composers.
“When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer–say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.” – Mozart
Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time. He is often regarded as the father of modern physics.
“On the other hand, although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn’t going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.” – Einstein
Franz Kafka – one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Novelist and writer of short stories whose works came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature.
“You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” – Kafka
Nikola Tesla – inventor, one of the most important contributors to the birth of commercial electricity, best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism.
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Tesla
Pablo Picasso – Spanish painter best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortunes throughout his life, making him one of the best-known figures in twentieth century art.
“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” – Picasso
The No. 2 Creative Habit
While it might seem contradictory, the No. 2 habit when it comes to nurturing creativity: participation. This can come in many forms, but it requires connecting with others, being inspired by others, reading others, collaborating with others.
But how can you have both solitude and participation? They obviously have to come at different times. Finding the balance is key, of course, but it takes a conscious effort: this time is for solitude, and this time is for participation.
Why are they both important? We need inspiration from without, but we need creation from within.
Lastly, being creative means living a creative life. Expect yourself to have one. Believe you are creative. Know that you are. Make that the most important habit of all.
Ambience Design Group advocates “creating space” in ones living space or work space to allow creativity to flourish. We also create these spaces for our clients with an intention to assist in improving their lifestyle. Ambience’s mantra has always been about collaboration in order to push our ideas further and bring about the best creative solutions.