To get new ideas and experiences think about getting out of your comfort zone

While I am hardly qualified to be a psychologist, I do constantly observe behavior in people and things in and around my life. One thing I have observed (and this is no revelation) is that people consistently fall into routines which make them comfortable and in so doing that makes them feel they are simplifying their lives and even making their lives less stressful.

My take is the routines stifle your own creativity and can make your life more stressful – and incredibly mundane. Last night I was at an event at Google’s NYC office sponsored by the BMA (Business Marketing Association) of New York City entitled “Creative: 2.0 Ideas and Innovation in a Brave New World”. The excellent panel was put together by Nader Ashway (full disclosure Nader is our Creative Director) and Phil Johnson of PJA Advertising of Boston. If you want to read some of the tweets from the event @BMA_NYC, was the Twitter address.

The panelists Claudine Cheever of Saatchi & Saatchi, Susan Westre of Ogilvy & Mather, and Harry West of Continuuam, who discussed how advertising and general creativity have changed and where they might be headed.

What I was reminded of was that doing things the same way day after day is a big reason people lose that sense of creativity and adventure. I am aware of this since I like to travel so much and I always feel like I achieve a new sense of perspective when I take a trip – anywhere, and get out of the daily routine.

Sometimes I meet people that tell me they are not creative at all. Most of the time they are referring to copywriting or art directing, writing prose, painting, writing music, or playing a musical instrument. But creativity goes far beyond the bounds of the arts. People can be creative in so many different ways and some of the most creative people I know could not draw a straight line or carry a tune in a suitcase.

I find that having new experiences is a big generator for creative ideas and thoughts. I try to force myself to get out of my routine and to do my everyday things in a different way and this has resulted in a bunch of new ideas – some of which are not-so-good but also every now and again something worthwhile.

So think about changing your routine to help you jump start some creative thinking. You could start by going about your morning routine in a non-routine manner. Do things you don’t normally do. Take some chances and don’t do things in what you feel are the easiest way possible. Have new and different experiences that you might normally pass up because you think you know what they will be like. You may not come up with a brilliant idea right away but I guarantee you will gain a different perspective and become a more interesting person to engage with.

And who knows where that could lead?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Best business practices, Marketing stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To get new ideas and experiences think about getting out of your comfort zone

  1. Nader Ashway says:

    Good thoughts here, Mark. I think you’re right on that routines can stifle creativity. The truth is that somewhere near the DNA level of creativity is the understanding of combining two or more disparate concepts…and generally, the wilder the disparity the better. Routines, by their nature, do not allow for new-ness. A routine is the repetition of old-ness activities.

    I also like your point about travel re-charging your perspective. A big reason for this is that our minds have sensory routines, too. Day after day, we SEE the same things, the same street signs, the same people at the coffee shop and so on. So you don’t necessarily have to get on a plane to gain a new perspective…try walking to work a different way, or driving a slightly different route. Or trying a new pastry at the coffee shop.

    To get to a WHOLE new level, try seeing the SAME things, the SAME routines in a DIFFERENT way. That’s what creative professionals do on a daily basis. They look at brands, they look at consumers, they look at daily problems and find NEW ways to perceive them. When you can begin to see your world – personally, professionally – in a new light, that’s when you’re really being creative.


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