16 – Accessing the Filing Cabinets of Creativity
When we are stuck we can often be spinning our wheels. The reason is that we are relying on a system that is not giving us access to new thinking . In this episode I introduce the idea of filing cabinets, which is our brains natural way of organizing information. If we stay in the same cabinet expecting a different answer, well then we are just crazy. I share how to access different resources by looking elsewhere to jump start your creativity and resources.
Walk away knowing: 👋 How your mind works and why it works the way it does.
👋How to jump into another filing cabinet to find resources you already have
👋How to bring those resources back to your challenge, to get UNSTUCK.
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*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Hey there and welcome to the hi. Hello Sera show. I am your host sewer, our naming on this particular episode, which I have labeled, accessing the filing cabinets of creativity, which I know some of my writer friends will hate because they'll be like, Sarah, what does that mean? Nobody is going to know what that means.
So, uh, this episode is all about bringing that to life. So we have our minds, which are Incredibles. So we're going to deep dive. Well, not really deep dive that much because I'm not a neuroscientist confession time, but I'm going to share with you how your mind organizes information and how that's absolutely amazing, but really it can get in the way of your creativity unless you know how to use it differently.
Then I'm going to share with you how you can actually use it differently to enhance your creativity and your resources. And then I'm going to share with you a few examples of how I have done that in my personal life, as well as in my professional projects in innovation and creativity. So let's dive in.
All right. So what do I mean by filing cabinets? Now, when we think about all the experiences that we've had in our lives, that's a lot of experiences I would imagine. And so in order to create efficiency so that we can move through the world and we don't have to figure out how to tie our shoe laces every day.
Our mind organizes experiences with like, with like, and so that way, when you come across something that looks a little bit like something that you've already experienced, it says, ah, I know what this is. We don't have to do this all over again. And so by default, you're able to move faster and more efficiently.
So let me give you an example. Let's imagine there was a point in your life where you learn how to open a door. Right. And so you're like, okay, it kind of looks right. Tangle up for the most part. And there's generally like this thing that is within arms reach and I, I pushed down on it or a tenant around, and that gives me access to move the door either towards me or away from me.
And I can walk through the door. And so the next time you see something that looks like that, you're like, ah, I so have this, I know exactly what's going on. And then you jumped through the door, uh, and uh, hopefully you open the door first versus run into it because it's made out of glass. That has never happened to me.
I promise. So this is the beauty of your mind. And so it's almost like a filing cabinet or Edward DeBono likes to use the metaphor of rivers. So we create streams of consciousness. As we have these new experiences, the little droplets, they come down onto this gorgeous mountain. I imagine it's gorgeous.
And then like, with like plasters, That creates, uh, you know, streams of experiences. And over time, these streams become fast running rivers, uh, which is wonderful. So if you think about any area in your life where you have a deep well of expertise, you have a really wide river, or you have a massive filing cabinet, and that is gorgeous.
That's wonderful. But the trick is the thing is, is that when we are thinking about creativity or tapping into resources, that really gets in our way, because we're looking through this filing cabinet and we're like, why isn't there anything new here? Why can't I come up with new thinking? Why am I so stuck?
And so if you're looking to get unstuck, if you're looking to tap into resources, you're gonna have to go into a different filing cabinet. And so that is wonderful because instead of having to reinvent the wheel, there's already an amazing system that exists somewhere else that you're already actually practicing.
And so the trick is just, just to tap into it. And so by tapping into that, but you become more resourceful and you're able to be more creative about the challenge that you're facing. Now, let me give you a few examples. I was having a great conversation with a girlfriend recently and, you know, we've obviously been going through COVID and, um, there was some irritation that was occurring for her, with her husband.
And she was like, I'm just, I'm so annoyed with him. He's. He's annoying me. And I'm sure this is transferable to anybody that, uh, unfortunately, or fortunately means a lot to you, uh, that sometimes, you know, um, we are not our best selves around that individual. And I said, you know, um, what, what, what is it she's like, I don't know.
I just, I'm just, I'm just irritated. I, I, uh, you know, and he's, he's there and, uh, you know, it's, it's always like that. So I said, okay, great. So, um, you know, how. Let's imagine you were meeting up with an old friend, uh, how would you show up if you are with an old friend? And she was like, Oh man, I would be so excited.
I'd be like really in a great mood. And I said, well, you know, what, if you'd had a bad day, she would call, I would just put that to the side or I would tell my friend about it, but I wouldn't have any sense of expectation of her fixing it. I would just be like, Hey, I'm sharing this with you. And then we would just laugh about it.
I'm like, Oh, that's so cool. So as we went through it, we found that the filing cabinet a friendship was way more resourceful, allowed her to be way more creative, uh, when she interacted with her partner. So the next time she interacted with her partner, she was actually able to show up in a very different light because she had adjusted her perspective and she was also able to tap into some scripts that she was already really, really great at.
With her friends, but that she had kind of lost in her partnership with her husband. So that's one example, a personal example of how we can tap into a different filing cabinet. Now let's have a look at something with regards to work, right? So when I think about some of the projects that I've done with Disney, um, there were many instances where we had to tap into different filing cabinets to come up with solutions.
We'd been stuck. For example, we, we were working on a campaign, uh, which was focused on a Hispanic, Hispanic audience. And so this campaign, we were looking to really appeal to this audience. And in order to do that, we really had to tap into that mindset, but we hadn't really been able to do that successfully historically.
And as we started to do our research, we discovered that this audience, uh, you know, unlike other audiences who only got together for Thanksgiving, uh, you know, or like those special occasions or funerals or weddings, This audience relished getting together frequently on the weekends, you know, extending their property so that they could have bigger, bigger barbecues.
This was, you know, a few years back, uh, pre COVID. Um, And so we were like, wow, like that's really interesting. Uh, it's almost like they have their own bubble. Um, and so why is it that Disney would be attractive to them because they already have their own bubble. And, and, and in, in a way, Disney is also a bubble.
So who else, um, does, you know, bubbles or the berm really, really well. And like, how can we explore this area? So we actually thought about a bunch of different things and we landed on talking to one of the founders of a camp at burning man. And now for those of you who are not familiar burning, man, um, is this massive art installation that happens in the desert where over a hundred thousand people, uh, would gather historically to create all and to be together.
And then by the end of the festival, they would clean everything up and it would be as if they had not existed. And so this was a real bubble bum experience, and we really wanted to understand the script, uh, and the ways of being and the principles of the bum. And so we interviewed this individual and then we were able to extract some of those learnings back into our Hispanic campaign, which actually ended up being one of the most successful marketing campaigns that we'd had at Disney in over 20 years.
So there you go tapping into a different filing cabinet, accessing resources, super, super helpful. And we can do this in really simple ways as well. So if you think about. Disney, uh, instead of calling people, our customers, we would call them our guests. Right. So if you had a guest coming to your house, in what ways would you treat that guest in a very different way?
I would imagine to the way that you would perhaps treat a customer, right? So that it's completely a different reframe. Often in my innovation and creativity workshops, I talk about, uh, wanting to open up a, a carwash and I solicit ideas from individuals about, you know, what could be in this car wash. And as you can imagine, this.
The standard ideas of, I need the blue brushy thing and I need the pine smelling thing that goes in the car. And those are the kinds of ideas that we're generating when I asked that question. But then when I flip it and I tap into a different filing cabinet and I say, well, you know, actually I want to open up an auto spa.
And then all of a sudden the ideas change, right? All of a sudden I'm getting these different ideas that are way more luxurious. So all of a sudden, you know, I have Joe Malone perfume. Yes. And, uh, you know, I have, um, a fancy designer, uh, designing all the attire of the people that are working there. And there's a man in cure in petty for the car tires, as well as a Manny and petty for the owner while they wait.
Right. So by shifting out and tapping into a different filing cabinet, we're able to access more resources. So you might be saying to me also, like, how do we, how do we do this? How do we know which filing cabinet to go to? I really, um, wherever you are stuck, when you think about it, you're like, Oh, what do I, what do I desire?
What am I craving more of? What would be great. Um, and then going to that place where you have already exhibited that greatness or where it already exists in the world. Right. So, uh, going back to the Disney example, if we're looking to be a super hospitable and to like, not be transactional, right? What wild and what filing cabinets always super hospitable and not transactional.
Well, when we have guests over our home, hopefully, you know, um, And so really it's about doing that. So you might find that that resource is available within yourself. So, you know, where else, what other situations have I really demonstrated, uh, the best version of myself. So going back to the example at the beginning, where I talked about my girlfriend, who, you know, was getting a little bit stuck with her husband, But, you know, she showed up amazingly and, and, you know, all sparkly with unicorns and rainbows when she thought about hanging out with one of her girlfriends.
And so she's like, Oh, okay, I have this in me. Uh, and I was just kind of, you know, being unresourceful and this other situation. So I can tap into that. And so that's a very simple way to jumpstart your creativity and your resources so that you're able to have new thinking, um, for different things. And when I think about, you know, personally, of course, during COVID, there've been a lot of things where I've I've, you know, I've been really getting.
Right. Um, I've been really craving, um, a trip. You know what I mean? Thinking about Costa Rica, for example. And I remember a time where I had a place and it was lovely and we'll go for a walk on the beach and I was very healthy and there were just these lovely, um, These lovely, lovely cafes everywhere, and everything was super healthy.
And, uh, I was getting particularly stuck here because I wasn't moving my body as much. Uh, and I was eating a lot of, you know, more comfort food. And I said to myself, gosh, like I'm just, I'm really not feeling motivated to move my body. Um, I'm really feeling compelled to, um, you know, eat multiple burgers, uh, and not space them out.
So I said to myself, like where, where in, in what other situation have I experienced? Uh, something where I haven't been feeling this way and I landed on Costa Rica and rather than say to myself, okay, well, I had to go to Costa Rica. I said, okay, well, how can I bring Costa Rica here? Right. How can I bring the filing cabinet of Costa Rica here?
And I thought, okay, well, You know, I can order some fresh juices, uh, from somewhere local, so that they're available to me. Um, I recall that when I was in Costa Rica, I was doing a yoga in a, you know, like, like a beautiful kind of Treehouse, for example. So I said, okay, well, something about the novelty of doing yoga in a different location was very exciting to me and also felt like a very special occasion.
So here in my home, you know, it's like, can I carve out some space and create a ritual and create a very special occasion when I do my yoga practice. So can I like some candles and have some incense and have some gorgeous music rather than saying to myself? Oh, okay. I guess I'll go do my yoga. Can I make it a treat?
Something that I look forward to versus something I've got to do? So just as a recap, Our brain organizes like with like, which is very helpful. It helps us be super efficient in the wild, but when we are looking to be creative and we're looking to be resourceful, we can access different filing cabinets that are already super successful.
So we say, okay, what is it that I'm looking to do right now? Where else does this already exist in, in what other situations have I really been at? Bad-ass at this? Have I been really amazing at this? And then, you know, what, what was I doing? You know, what kind of w w what things were happening, what mindset was I am, and then bringing that resource back to the original challenge, the original place of feeling on stock, feeling a little bit.
In a place of despair, uh, where I'm spinning my wheels and repeating the same thing and then, you know, opening up that space. So there you have it, uh, accessing, um, the filing cabinets of creativity, you know, so you can be powerful. I'd love to hear from you what you think of this episode and maybe, uh, as you have experiences of where you do this, I'd love to hear from you about that as well.
So, thank you so much for joining on this episode. I'm your host, Sarah Al Naomi. And, uh, if you like this episode and you would like to give it a thumbs up or a view, please feel free to do that. And equally, if you'd like to subscribe so that you are the first to be notified of the episodes, please go ahead and do that well until next time.
Thank you so much.