convERSATIonS WITH DR. VICTOR SHAMAS
BY KELLY HEITZ
CREATIVITY FUELS EVERY BIT OF WORK WE DO—
whether that’s designing product labels or coming up with a
weekly schedule that ﬁts all your employees needs. However,
we’ve all experienced those moments where the juices would no
longer ﬂow, and we just felt stuck.
Dr. Victor Shamas is a Ph.d. psychologist and researcher at
the University of Arizona with over 30 years of experience in the
ﬁeld of creativity. His research focuses on the experiential
aspects of creativity, including intuition, insight, and inspiration.
Shamas’ new book, Deep Creativity: Inside the Creative Mystery,
integrates art, psychology, philosophy and mysticism to oﬀer a
radical new view of both the creative process and the human
condition. He shows readers that creativity is not just thinking
outside the box but living outside it.
In this month’s Conversations, we asked dr. Shamas about the
creative process and what you can do to tap into it to not just be
creative, but instead live a life full of creativity.
Pulse: standard work environments don’t bode well
for creativity. How do you suggest people tap into
their creativity at work?
Shamas: Look for opportunities to nurture your creativity, which
are not always easy to find. The work environment
tends to be highly structured, yet creativity thrives
where there is less structure and more openings for new
possibilities. To tap into creativity, you must find gaps in
the structure: momentary pauses in your schedule when
you can have some quiet, alone time. Also, you need
physical space—a bit of elbow room where you can
spread out, move around or stretch your body. Creativity
is a full-body experience, but not all workplaces have
made that discovery yet. Until they do, you have to
nourish and protect your own creativity by making the
time and space for it.
P: explain to our readers what a power pause is.
S: A power pause is like a power nap. You take a short break
from your activity level, which ends up paying huge dividends
in the long run.
Suppose you are working on a creative project when the
flow of ideas feels like it has run dry. What do you do? Your first
temptation might be to get frustrated, especially when a
deadline is fast approaching. You might call
this experience a block. I prefer to think of it as
a pause. Creativity has a certain rhythm and
flow to it. If it were as simple as pressing a
button or flipping a switch, then
anyone—even a machine—
could do what you do. Think
this pause as an oppor-
tunity. Meet it with excitement
and anticipation of ideas yet to
What you do with this pause can make all the difference. If
you use it wisely, your productivity will just explode. Then you
end up turning what could have been an uncomfortable and
self-destructive creative block into a power pause. It is simply a
matter of doing the right things—or at least not doing the