Anthony Mayfield reflects on the joys of liminal thinking. It’s a subject that really interests me.
In the context of creative and strategic thinking, the liminal state is what you find yourself in just before you have a breakthrough, or just before you fully understand something, make it yours. For instance, if you can recall trying to learn your lines for a play, the liminal state is where you are just before the words settle and take up residence in your memory – and then you can start using them, adding your inflections and emotions, making them your own.
Of course, when you’re in that uncomfortable place you don’t know if you’re about to have a breakthrough or not. So the temptation to panic, and either give up or makesomething happen is pretty strong.
That temptation often leads us to adopt standard tools and processes in the hope of “managing” creativity better. I’ve come to think that there is just no substitute for accepting, even welcoming the discomfort, and staying on our edge.