On the edge

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.

One thought on “On the edge

  1. Brian

    So rarely mentioned. I’ve always felt that moments of earnest assimilation of new material seems oddly uncomfortable. We are indeed requesting significant internal resources that may peak slightly prior and during integration. I sometimes wonder if our brain is pedal to the metal as it shuffles synapse and we’re merely feeling it… To forge ahead rather than rush to comfort, I say to myself encouragingly, “Information Overload equals Information Retrieval”.

    Reply

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