The Mockingbird Solution to Blocked Creativity
Are you imagination challenged? Do you want new ways to look at a pressing problem?
Look no further for inspiration and guidance than the mockingbird, an ordinary looking grey bird with white wingtips who can shift tunes at the rate of about eight a minute.
With Its Ever-changing Repertoire, the Mockingbird Is a Great Role Model for Human Creativity
Some mockingbird tunes are imitations of other birdsongs, or riffs and variations on them. Mockingbirds typically mix these usually pleasant tunes with imitations of less pleasant neighborhood events, like cat fights or ambulance sirens. Some tunes seem to be each mockingbird’s own inventions, for the sheer joy of it.
Mockingbirds have been known to sing for hours. Many bounce up and down as they sing from the highest local treetop or TV antenna, thus projecting their music throughout the neighborhood. Their ability to sing so continuously once royally bothered Thomas Jefferson, who thanks to a lousy mattress and a really great mockingbird outside his window throughout a night, slept little one night.
Unlike Mockingbirds, Most Of Us Have Learned To Repress Our Creativity, Not Use It
Though humans are born with the potential to be far more creative than mockingbirds, the high creativity that bubbles in us as five-year-olds is mostly repressed by the end of second grade. One of the easiest ways to recover that creativity and develop it is to imitate the mockingbird:
1. Temporarily suspend all judgment, premature practicality and other human habits that kill imagination.
2. Dare to try something new at least once a day.
3. Get around and notice what others are doing. Then comment to yourself through writing, dance, art, etc.
4. When you like something, copy it shamelessly unless it is copyright or patented.
5. Feel free to mix, match and alter what you learn from others.
6. Give your imagination time to play without focus, so it is free to generate possibilities for your consideration.
7. Learn to tolerate dissonance and ambiguity, to weave harsh challenges into sweet thoughts to create a rich and satisfying symphony.
8. Express yourself with exuberance and joy … forever.
Imagination is Just One of Many Creative and Visionary Potentials.
Whatever you imagine as a possibility will need to be fully fleshed out so it can become a true vision. It will need grounding in reality and a lot of careful research before you can discern whether a new idea is likely to work or not.
In coming posts, we’ll explore other visionary potentials and how you can engage them. In the meantime, have fun imitating the mockingbird’s prolific creativity!
As always, many blessings for your life and work, Pat McHenry Sullivan
Note: this post was originally written as “The Mockingbird Solution To Almost Any Problem” in 1994 by Pat McHenry Sullivan. Your comments are welcome below!
copyright 2011 by Pat McHenry Sullivan, t/a Visionary Resources