What We Can Learn About Creativity From Elaine Benes

Seinfeld may be “a show about nothing”, but through the ridiculous characters and LOLs, I’ve always found it as a place to learn a few life lessons. Mostly, what NOT to do, but I recently had an “ah-ha” moment watching “The Hot Tub” episode.

Elaine is working on writing witty descriptions for the J. Peterman catalog, but gets a severe case of writer’s block when trying to come up with an idea for the Himalayan Walking Shoes.

She’s sitting at her desk, and begins to write “It was a cold winter’s night in Timbuktu…”, then hits her keyboard in frustration “ugh, this stinks!”.

She picks up the Himalayan Walking Shoe, and squeezes it, praying it’ll spark some inspiration, thinking to herself: “COME ON… COME ON!”. Then quits trying.

You may remember an article I wrote a while back in Elite Daily on how to unleash your creativity. In addition to losing your fear of being wrong and being proactive about soaking up inspiration, we also shouldn't think too hard!

Sometimes when you need an original idea, it just doesn't come to you. Stop trying, and stop thinking. Instead, get out. Take a break. Take a walk. Get out of your head for a moment.

Elaine was definitely thinking too hard.

After Elaine left her office, she hits the streets in her Himalayan Walking Shoes trying to find Jean-Paul, a runner that was supposed to be staying with her while he was in town for the NYC Marathon. On her walk, she observes her surroundings, thinking to herself:

“I'm exhausted. I've been on this street a thousand times! It's never looked so strange. The faces...so cold. In the distance, a child is crying. Fatherless...a bastard child, perhaps. My back aches. My heart aches. But my feet... my feet are resilient!”

The biggest smile grows on her face, and she continues thinking:

“Thank God I took off my heels, and put on my HIMALAYAN WALKING SHOES! “

Writer’s block, cured! Here’s how she did it:

1.     She stepped out into a more creative environment. The dull office wasn’t helping her!

2.     She stopped trying to force her ideas out. Those "ah-ha" moments will come to you when you're least expecting them!

3.     She made observations and saw an idea within them. We all make observations, but seeing the opportunity and applying them to our work is something we need to train ourselves to do.

The key is having the right attitude and being in the right environment to let creativity flow more freely. So, if you’re stuck, frustrated, or uninspired, follow Elaine’s lead and get your Himalayan Walking Shoes on!