I had the opportunity earlier this month to speak to a group of students about to embark on a fairly intensive MBA at the Sauder School of Business in Vancouver. Part of the curriculum for the course is a piece affectionately called ‘The Core’; designed in part to foster teamwork and problem solving under pressure. After explaining what I do and why I was there to speak to the class that morning, one of the guys asked me ‘What do you do when you get stuck; when you hit the wall on a project?’.

I have to say I didn’t really see my answer coming, but it came almost instantly: ‘I go outside. I go outside and do something.’

Someone else mentioned they stop and have a coffee, which of course I’ve never shied away from, but I went on to explain that not only does going outside help solve the immediate problem; by stepping away from it and seeing it from a different angle; but I find the very act of ‘doing’ so stimulates my creative juices that I’ve taken to carrying a note pad with me now while on an afternoon hike. Most of the best ideas I’ve had over the past few years have come to me while either cycling, or hiking. Occasionally they come to me swimming, but the notepad is a little trickier to handle in the pool…

So, my question for you is; if we know what it is that brings out our most creative, problem solving selves, why aren’t we spending more time doing it?

What is it for you? What do you need to do more of?