Why is it that the best comebacks often occur to us after the moment has passed?
Our best creative ideas are unconscious. Several artists speak about how their ideas come to them during unconscious moments – as they dream, take long walks or are in the shower. The unconscious mind translates the various inputs that the artist has accumulated and combines them in new ways to produce ideas.
As wonderful as our unconscious mind is, it isn’t a voluntary organ. When inspiration is lacking, we often rack our conscious brains for giving us ideas. However, the harder we try to focus, the more blank our mind becomes. This forms the basis for the dreaded writer’s block, where as writers stare at that blank page, the words simply do not come to them. Similarly, when we’re caught in a tense situation, our conscious mind isn’t able to produce the best comeback for the moment.
The root of the problem is usually the inputs that we’re feeding the brain. If the unconscious mind doesn’t have quality input, it is unable to produce its best ideas. Most writers would tell you how the key to good writing is to do a lot of good reading. In my own case, I can find a high correlation between the ideas I have with the books, the auidobooks and the podcast I consume.
In the moments when inspiration dries up, it might be better to shift our focus from straining to produce outputs to focusing on the inputs.