10 Change Your State to Think Creatively

YES! AND… Facilitate, Innovate, Transform  Creative Gorilla # 10

You may never be as creative as Beethoven, but would you like inspiration when you need it?

Kissed by a higher being?

“I need some help, some inspiration. (But it’s not coming easily)”

Natasha Bedingfield “These Words

I needed to write this Creative Gorilla article one evening when I had been facilitating all day and Natasha Bedingfield had written the above words for me. Luckily in these situations I have a short cut to tap in to some inspiration. I play my favourite piece of classical music, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, played by the Boston Philarmonic, conducted by Benjamin Zander.

There is a moment in the Fourth Movement (“Double Fugue. Allegro energico chorus “) in which Beethoven (forgive me if I describe this poorly, I am not a music scholar) counterpoints three strands of music in a climax that raises the hairs on my neck. My spirits soar. At the moment he wrote this piece one might truly believe Beethoven was kissed by a higher being.

Ludwig’s genius worked its magic again as I listened to the music and my mind began to work.

Those of you conversant with Neuro Linguistic Programming will know that this is a change of “state” from unproductive to productive, by altering my focus (listening to a favourite piece rather than thinking of less inspiring things).

In addition, I can reinforce the new state by altering my physiology. Often this involves just tilting my head back to listen, but sometimes I stand up (and if no one is looking, I might try a bit of conducting too!)

You will have your own way of changing your state, whether it is having a beer (relaxed), working out (energised) or changing a baby’s nappy (stunned). But how can you reproduce a state when you have no access to a music player, beer or a bouncing baby? Simple, you use an anchor.

Whenever you naturally experience the state, you set an anchor (for example, I squeeze my left thumb and index finger for inspiration).

Then, when you need to reproduce the state, you fire your anchor to take you back to that state, even if the source of your state change is not around. (I’m not sure why they say “set” not “drop” and “fire” rather than “weigh”!)


Changing your state can work brilliantly. If you have issues with things like needing inspiration, preparing to speak in public or feeling negative, it is a quick way to overcome these.  You can anchor any emotion, for example on my left hand I have anchored the sensations of feeling Enthused, Positive, Inspired and Confident (EPIC) for when I am facilitating.

Like all skills you need to reinforce it, setting the anchor every time you naturally feel the sensation, otherwise it is more difficult to reproduce. You can create the right state for meeting participants too.


Set an anchor for an inspired or creative state for yourself. Repeat firing and setting it a number of times to reinforce it and then use it to change your state when you need it. It costs nothing, takes minutes and may just bring you that Eureka moment.

If you want to read more about it, buy yourself a book on NLP (try Sue Knight’s, NLP at Work, which I have found to be a useful).

(If you are a fan of Beethoven, do read a superb and riveting biography / novel of his life by John Suchet, the “Last Master” trilogy).

To Close

I watched a video of Robbie Williams preparing himself, just before a Albert Hall concert. Whether he was consciously doing it, it was fascinating to watch as he fired anchors to get himself psyched up to make a great entrance and a marvellous performance (well, if you’re a Robbie fan).

Drop a few anchors this week

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

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