Strike while the irons hot. Seize the moment. Whatever cliche catchphrase works. When creativity calls, answer it.

The human brain operates in cycles, with certain chemical reactions taking place at various points to trigger various responses. This is why we experience moments of great optimism, negativity, worry, restlessness, laziness, sadness, and nostalgia. Any of these moments can be harnessed and exacerbated depending on our physical responses. For example, giving in to our sadness leads to a mental focusing of that sadness and, therefore, more sadness. Likewise with all moods. If we feel lazy, we are inclined to embrace that feeling and bring about more laziness. And so forth.

Conversely, we are also capable of recognizing those moments of emotion and responding contrarily to them. If we are sad, we can fight against it and limit this emotion from taking hold more than it normally would. We may not have the power to erase that emotion entirely, changing gears as it were to a new emotion altogether, but we can keep that emotion under some level of control. This is assuming we are not suffering from deeper psychological issues as some people do.

What does this all mean in terms of design and creativity?

When a swell of creative motivation hits us, we should receive it and follow through. One should never ignore these sparks of energy. They are vital towards accomplishing great things and maintaining a constant creative mindset and lifestyle.

In practice, this means knowing when the creative juices are flowing and capitalizing on them. It means completing that unfinished project or simply starting a new one. It means painting, sketching, photographing, writing, etc. Whatever it is that makes you feel creative, do it.

These moments can be directed towards an official project or for nothing professional at all. Being a creative means living like one both in and out of the office. In fact, harnessing one’s creativity for purely independent projects can often lead to great breakthroughs on the professional front as well.

The goal in all of this is to creative and – more importantly – build momentum. The more we do, the more we do. And with this mindset we must seize those sparks of motivation, follow through on them, enjoy the results, and continue to follow through even when the sun goes down and the creative spark has fizzled. We must be mindful of the reality that the hormones are always flowing through our bodies, and we may soon be hit with a wave of sadness, complacency, or outright laziness. Capitalizing on our creativity when it strikes will provide a quick and painless transition through the duller moments and bridge the gap more quickly to the next wave of motivation. In doing so, we will be taking concrete steps towards a life and career of true excitement and creativity.