Happy days! How was your weekend?
At my place, the kids wrote letters to Santa this weekend.
They had a tough time.
You see, thanks to streaming services like PBS Kids and Netflix, we don’t see many commercials in our house.
My kids don’t really know what toys are out there, so they don’t have some crazy ideas on what to ask for.
In fact, most of what they “want” are more of what they already have.
The inputs to their brains reflect the outputs they come up with!
Sounds a lot like what we discuss here on PRL.
For today’s 31 Ways to Change State we’re hitting on Creativity.
When people talk about Creativity, it’s often in reverential tones—
“Wow, how did he come up with that idea!?”
The truth is, we don’t really “Create” in the way God created the Heavens and the Earth.
Human creativity doesn’t mean creating new things from scratch.
Human creativity is much easier.
Creative ideas are a new combination of existing ideas. That’s it.
We often don’t think we’re creative (or creative enough), and we wonder what other people do to be so creative.
In the mean time… those people are busy being concerned that they’re not creative enough, either.
The truth is, we can all be more creative.
James Altucher is an entrepreneur and author of books such as Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century.
Altucher says that creativity is a muscle which must be exercised.
Like trying to do 10 pull-ups on the first try… your creativity isn’t going to pour out of you without a little effort.
Altucher has a practice where he writes 10 ideas every day. Then he sends those ideas off to people that might benefit.
By forcing this daily habit, Altucher comes up with new connections in his brain.
He’s not keeping the ideas, either. He’s sharing them to try to make a better world, but really Altucher is just trying to keep his creativity sharp.
Vinny Le Pés, a photographer and creator of YouTube videos on creativity, has a video series titled Creative Crossovers.
Le Pés takes ideas from one realm of knowledge and applies them to another medium.
This is the essence of creativity—
Not to build something entirely new, but to build connections between existing ideas.
Mind mapping is one way to do this. Create a single idea and brainstorm new ideas that connect to it. Each of those new ideas has related ideas as well.
Drawing out a mind map looks like a series of connected bubbles.
These bubbles can give you ideas to write about, or actions to perform, or things to build or paint or photograph.
Eugene Schwartz, famous ad-man and author of Breakthrough Advertising, had a deliberate practice that he uses to be creative.
Schwartz would set a timer for 33 minutes and 33 seconds, sit with his paper and pencil and coffee, and he wouldn’t do anything except be creative during that time.
That’s it. He would look at the empty paper, or he would connect the ideas related to his advertisement.
And at the end of those 33 minutes and 33 seconds… mid-sentence… Schwartz would stop working.
For 5 minutes, he’d do anything else but work… and he’d let his subconscious mind make new connections.
If you’re having trouble being creative, look to one of the world’s most common methods to share creative ideas—
Movies and TV shows are the modern equivalent of a novel or short story, perhaps. And they’re filled with creative ideas as well, ideas that might connect you to your markets.
So while I’m kinda anti-television, I’m not immune to a good movie. I do understand there’s creativity to be mined in them hills.
Books that have stood the test of time, however, do so because they’re creative and they speak to the human condition.
When you’re creative and not critical of your ideas —you’ll have time for that later— you begin to exercise your “right brain thinking.” Blood flow increases and you enter a state of Flow, where time seems to slip away.
When you bring creativity to your work, you become open to new possibilities and outcomes. There’s an element of the unexpected, an element of risk.
Embrace that risk as an excellent way to change your attitude and approach — to Change State.
And when it comes from you, it sounds like no one else. That alone is a mark of creativity, when you speak with your own voice.
Have a goofy Monday, and go create something.