How Your State of Mind Affects Creativity

How can the same person, with the same skills, perform so differently depending on the day?


Chris Barez-Brown, author and creativity guru, knows that if you want to be a great creative leader, you have to be able to identify, and if need be, change the state you are in at any time. In this video Chris shows us the four components to realizing, maintaining, and changing our state.

Watch this video to uncover the keys to understanding and changing your being and using that for creativity.

So there are some days you go to work and you feel absolutely bulletproof. You get your expenses sent back for the fifth time, and you think, "No, it's just peachy, because the finance guys are looking after the business." On other days however, you turn up and the fact there's no creamer for your coffee is enough for you to have an emotional breakdown.

Now, you're the same person on both days, but you will perform very differently because your state is very different. Your state is how you are at any given point, and I believe it is more important to your performance than your ability. So it's really key if you're going to be a great creative leader to monitor it, and do something about it if it's not working for you.

Now in Britain, if I was to ask somebody, "How are you?" there is only one response that is polite, and that response is, "Fine." We are never fine. There are more things going on at any given point than fine. So I'm going to talk you through the four key components to state so that you have better awareness, and therefore you can make a choice to change it if it's not right.

The first component of state is your physical energy. Now obviously we know how we should feel physically to perform well. We should be vital and energetic and dynamic. We know that jet-lag, and lack of sleep, and too much food, is not going to give us the best energy to think differently.

So physical energy we're probably quite aware of, and yet I would imagine most of you at some point in the last month have worked so hard, you skip lunch. Even though your body was craving nutrition, you've carried on through, so listening to our body is important.

The second part of our overall state is our mental energy. Now often we find it very difficult to focus at work because we've got so many things going on, and we're thinking about the future and the past. Not a great place to create from. Where we need to be, is we need to be focused on the task in hand and open to possibility, and then we find it easier to have ideas. Now again, we have to overcome our negativity bias if we're going to be in a good, positive, creative state.

The third component of state is our emotional energy. Now, if you're absolutely purist, any emotion can stimulate great ideas. If you go back 100 years, poets and authors used angst and despair as part of their motivation. I find those less useful in group situations. The type of emotions we want to encourage in others are happiness, joy, passion, playfulness. Those emotions are going to give us better chance of having ideas.

The fourth and final component of state is our spiritual energy. Now, I'm not talking about religion here. I'm talking about our sense of connection to ourselves, the people we are working with, the world around us. I believe our spiritual energy can be the key to unlock amazing work if, again, we know how to make it work for us.

Now those four elements of state - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - all impact each other constantly. They're a bit like harmonics. If one goes out it impacts the others. So you hear people say, "I was emotionally exhausted." So it's really important to be able to audit them quickly and say, "Am I in the right place, or do I need to do something different?" The way to make sure you audit effectively, is to take a deep breath in, and go through them in your head. Quick check list. How are you now physically? What's going on for you mentally? What emotions are you enjoying? What is your sense of connection?

If it's not absolutely right, it's then time to do something different, and that means going somewhere else, doing something new, change your physicality, or changing your focus until you feel you're in the right place to create.


Chris Barez-Brown

Chris Barez-Brown has been unleashing the creative potential of worldwide organizations including Nike, Coca Cola, Diageo, The Gates Foundation, Sony and WPP. He is a master of metamorphosis, challenging and transforming businesses th...

Take Action

Complete the following Action Items to put the insights in this video into practice,
and share them with your team to continue your leadership growth.

Perfect your new leadership skills every day with these exclusive Leadercast exercises, available to Subscribers! Click here to become a Subscriber.

Liquid error: No such template 'platform/programs/search-modal'