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 http://www.bma_nyc.org (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?