I’m a massive fan of the BBC’s “Sherlock” series for many reasons. But, apart from being a massive Sherlock Holmes geek, the most important reason why I love this show so much is because of how it makes me feel whenever I watch it.
For at least an hour or two after watching an episode of “Sherlock”, I feel like an absolute genius. I feel like a superhuman mastermind who can outsmart whatever gets in my way.
The same is true, to a lesser extent, whenever I watch an episode of “The A-Team” or read a Lee Child novel. I feel like I’m someone who can solve any problem and who can come up with ingenious plans and ideas in the space of a few seconds. Well, for a little while at least….
So, what does any of this have to do with creativity?
Well, it’s no coincidence that I came up with the idea for this article after watching an episode of “Sherlock”. When, for a couple of hours, I felt like an absolute genius. In fact, I actually came up with a couple of ideas for articles and only really settled on this one because it was my first idea. If I’d been in a more “ordinary” frame of mind, then this article may never have been written.
The fact is that, when you feel like you’re a genius, you tend to be more creative. Even if you didn’t have any good ideas before you started feeling like a genius, they’re a lot easier to find when you feel like you’re a genius.
It’s kind of like the difference between using a modern internet connection and using an old 56k modem – yes, they can both access the same websites, but one takes a lot longer than the other.
But, it’s not enough to just think that you are a genius or drearily recite some “I am a genius” affirmations to yourself. No, for this to work, you have to both vividly see yourself as a genius and feel like a genius too. Once you’ve done this once or twice, you’ll probably understand exactly what I’m talking about here. The emotions you feel are the most important part of all of this.
I’m not quite sure of the mechanics behind this and there are a whole range of explanations for it – from the coldly scientific to the intriguingly esoteric. But, whether you believe that it works because of basic psychology or because of the law of attraction – it still works.
If you feel like you’re a genius, then you’re going to start to act like a genius.
And, what do creative geniuses do? They create lots of things. They’re always inspired. In fact, they’re so inspired that they have so many ideas that they barely have time to work on all of them.
So, how do you make yourself feel like you’re a genius?
Well, different things work for different people. But, here are a few things which might be worth trying:
1) Watch other geniuses in action: It doesn’t matter if they’re fictional or real, even the act of watching a genius being a genius can make you feel more like a genius. But, I’d personally advise that you stick to well-written fictional geniuses (like Sherlock Holmes) for the simple reason that they can easily be much more of a genius than most real geniuses can be.
Not only that – if you’re watching a well-written fictional genius in action then you’re probably a lot less likely to feel jealous of them (rather than inspired by them) than you are if you’re watching a real genius in action.
2) Look at how far you’ve progressed: As an artist, one of the things which can help me to get into “genius mode” is to look at some of my really old art or even to re-draw some of it. Usually, when I look at my old art from a couple of years ago, my first reaction is something like “this looks absolutely terrible! A ten year old could have done better!”
But, when I compare it to my more recent art, I suddenly realise how much better I’ve become at drawing. How I can spend the same amount of time creating a drawing as I used to and yet, somehow, come up with something ten times as good. And, for a few seconds at least, I feel like a genius.
If you’ve been creating things for a long time, then it might be worth digging up some of your older work and seeing whether it provokes the same reaction in you.
3) Remember that you’re already a genius: It might sound trite, but everyone is a genius. It’s true – there’s something (regardless of how strange or small it might seem), which you can do well. Something which you can do better than most of the people you know.
It might not feel like anything spectacular to you – but, to at least some other people, you would probably be a genius.
Therefore, even if you’re just a genius at peeling potatoes, morris dancing, predicting the scores of football matches, drinking beer etc… – you’re already (in the eyes of some people at least) a genius. Remember that fact.
4) Re-live your best moments: Unless you’ve lived under a rock for your entire life, you’ll have probably had at least one or two moments in your life where you either got very lucky or did something extremely smart. Remember those moments – sit back, close your eyes and bask in them. Remember how they made you feel.
It doesn’t matter how small, old or insignificant these moments may be, the only thing that matters is how they made you feel.
Whether it was passing an exam, blagging your way into a horror movie at the cinema when you were underage or even just completing a fiendishly difficult computer game – as long as remembering it makes you feel like you’re a genius, then it doesn’t matter what it is.
5) Music: Sometimes even just listening to music which you find inspirational or dramatic can be enough to jolt you back into your “genius” frame of mind again.
6) Daydreaming: If I wanted to sound like a New Age self-help author, I’d probably call this “visualisation” or something like that. But, it’s basically just daydreaming.
If you start daydreaming about what it would be like to be a genius, then you’re probably going to start feeling like one fairly quickly.
Of course, the cool thing about daydreams is that they don’t even have to be realistic either. In fact, they’re a hell of a lot more fun when they aren’t. So, start daydreaming about being a genius and doing wonderful things.
Anyway, I hope that this article was inspirational 🙂
But it probably wasn’t, because you knew all of this really obvious stuff already.
After all, you’re a genius.