Whether some of us like it or not(I certainly do), marketing and making content is a very creative activity.
The problem solving, continuously new information, and endless possibilities are why I get excited about it. However, it can wear you so thin your slip on shoes seem like a chore. It’s all too easy to run out of juice and get ‘stuck’.
As Apple would say, Think Different
One of the best ways that I’ve heard to rejuvenate your creativity (think of it like a rechargeable battery), is to do something out of your norm. It helps to put new information and sensory experiences into your brain. You can get stuck on the same patterns and habits quite easily, and to break free from the usual will make the brain work at recognizing new patterns. That is how ideas and epiphanies are born.
While I write this I’m sitting in a nice wood cabin in Gibsons, BC. Not rustic by any means. Carpet, lights, TV, appliances, but it’s away from the norm, and that’s the point. We walked up a 100 foot steep hill with a zig zagging dirt path. The steps are large and the path is skinny with a big drop on one side. The scenery? Absolutely sublime. An eagles nest sits on top of the tree 80 feet away from our front window.
Learn to let your brain guide you.
The core of me always knew ‘getting away’ was a good idea but I didn’t really understand why until I listened to a podcast featuring an interview with writer Steven Kotler. He talked about the state of flow that extreme athletes get when they are in ‘the zone’ as it is commonly called.
We’ve all experiences getting excited about a new project and ideas just flow one after another, or writing an article that just seems to flow straight from our fingers to the computer and bypasses our brain altogether. 2 hours go by and you felt it was 15 minutes.
The chemistry and inner workings of the brain actually change in this state. The piece of your brain that tracks time literally shuts off. This is why time seems to fly so fast when you find your zone. You also start to think using more of your subconscious, which ends up being much faster with more access to information. These and the many other brain changes can be extremely helpful when problem solving and trying to make new connections in the brain(creating).
Do it on purpose.
We need to find ways to trigger this state of thinking more easily. One of the methods Steven outlined in the interview was to put yourself in unfamiliar situations. There are many more triggers, he mentioned some in the podcast and there are even more in his book The Rise of Superman (which I have yet to read, but it’s on my ever growing list), but this is the one that stuck out to me.
I think it’s becoming even more important to be conscious about how you work, not just when and how much. People work too many hours plugging away at problems the same old way as before when all they really needed was a fresh new perspective. The epiphany can sometimes come from something as simple as going to a different coffee shop to write or think, or taking a new route to work.
How do you escape from the norm to give your body new stimuli to react to. Please answer in the comments section below.