What happens when you start to turn a door knob that won’t budge? First, you turn it harder; then perhaps you pull up on the knob or push it down.

Then maybe you wiggle it. Eventually, you shove the door with your shoulder or kick it.

What you try will be a combination of your history with doors and your creative inclinations.

When we are “unsuccessful” in an attempt to do something, it makes us frustrated but, most importantly for creativity, it generates a resurgence in us of any other behaviour that ever worked in this situation before.

This is why “failure” is a key (pardon pun) to creative breakthrough. And why a great way to accelerate your creative flow is to put yourself in difficult, even impossible, situations — real or imagined.

That’s what will give you the idea that blows the door wide open all by itself.

Try This: Attend a function or take part in an activity where you know you’re going to feel frustrated and confused. A contest in which you’ll publicly come last, for example. Or a meeting of people who are experts in something you know little about. Observe your frustration and the confusion as it arises. Feel it, allow it. Stay with it as long as you can. Then go away and F-R-E-E-Write about it.

Try This: Take a short course in something that really doesn’t interest you, the last thing you’d ever want to know about.