When anyone says that I’m a creative person, I tell them that I get my creativity from my Father. I inherited His genes.
But I’m about to tell you a secret to creativity, about which few people know. I have purposely kept this to myself.
I have a private “think tank.” It’s a place to which I retreat every morning. It’s personal a prayer closet, but with a difference. It’s a very small room, probably about four feet by four feet. There is no seating, no windows, no pictures on the walls, no TV, and I when I enter that very special room, I take nothing in with me. Nothing. No iPhone. No iPad, no pad paper, and no food or drink. There’s nothing to distract the mind. I even remove my watch. So when I’m in the think tank, I lose all sense of time. There is nothing but me and my thoughts.
One of the problems of modern living, is that people have forgotten how to think. Think about it for a moment. Every creation of man, every invention, every painting or idea, began with a thought. Now think about this generation. Most of them are either staring at something on a phone, or they are listening to something through earbuds in their ears. These things distract from the simplicity of creative thought.
Every day there are noises from annoying barking dogs, to gardeners with annoying blowers, to annoying car alarms, squawking crows, loud car horns, hovering helicopters, and a thousand and one other unwanted invasions of the mind. True thought needs golden silence, even if it’s the “silence” of a running brook. And that’s sometimes hard to find. That is, unless you have a personal think tank.
Some mornings I retreat to my tank for as little as ten minutes. Other days I stay in its wonderful environment for up to thirty minutes. However long I take, there’s always a sense of peace when I temporarily escape from this annoyingly noisy world.
What I’m now going to tell you will probably make you think that I’m a little weird, if not completely crazy. But I will share these two secrets with you, because they’re pivotal to creative thought. Embarrassing though they are, both of these really do work.
Here now is the first secret. Every day I spend at least thirty seconds in the tank, massaging the brain area firmly with my fingers. I do this for two reasons. One, it’s very relaxing (even my dog likes it when I do it to him), and, two, it really does seem to stimulate my mind.
And here comes the second embarrassing secret. I apply hot water to the back of my neck (particularly to the spinal area — where the nerves are closest to the surface). I have done this every day for years.
Then I take a pencil (that I keep permanently on the wall of the think tank), and I write my thoughts on the wall.
Going through that simple procedure has given me many creative thoughts — from new book ideas, to thoughts for our television program, for unique gospel tracts, ideas for new videos, and of course provocative questions to ask students when I film each day at the local college.
These two things really do work, crazy though they may seem. Again, I do this every day without fail, and have done for many years. So now you know.
Some people use their daily shower to sing. I use it to think. And yes, pencil works on our shower wall, and it doesn’t smudge when wet.