Johnnie Moore

Creativity hidden inside boredom

Persisting through constant repetition can lead to remarkable creativity
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Creativity often comes if we persist through boredom

Transcript of this video:

The choreographer Twyla Tharp explained that creativity often arises rather paradoxically out of doing routine, almost boring things in constant practice. And it’s something that I’ve started to pay more and more attention to.

The other day I did an online calligraphy class in my friend Rob Poynton’s Yellow programme. The drill for this involved drawing a straight line with a pencil again and again and again. With I think the instruction just to experiment with the amount of pressure that we applied as we went down the line.

We did it for quite a long time, and at times it felt pretty boring. But what gradually happened over time was I started to notice more and more of the detail of the process.

I actually found the variety inside the boredom. I noticed, for example, that after drawing a few of these lines, there’s a pattern of all of the lines that I hadn’t designed but had emerged from the process.

And I became more intimate, if you like, with the detail that is in, just the simple drawing of a line. And I could see how this could build into a deeper practice of calligraphy that would result in beautiful things at least eventually.

In the Groundhog process that I use to help people have difficult conversations, we’ll often repeat the same response to a provocation multiple times, 10, 20, 30, 40 times.

Sometimes we try very radically different responses and sometimes we practice saying more or less the same thing, and discover in the repetition slight variations of tone and posture and speed and so on, that actually start to feel significant.

I think there may be a lot more creative potential hidden inside boring routine, than we sometimes realize.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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