As some of you know, I recently read Tom Peter’s The Brand You and one of the chapters was on 50 ways to inject creativity in your life – I decided that I would take the 20 items that I have done and share them with you today.
Whether you’re in a rut, looking for that creative spark for your next project, or just interested in the new thing (maybe you have a rule like Barney Stinson), this post is for you – maybe you won’t do all of these 20 things but even doing a few of these things will help you get out of that rut and spark your imagination.
Go into the bookstore and go to a section you have never browsed before – PURCHASE one book that looks interesting to you
My preferred time for doing this is at the airport – so whoever it was that thought of putting bookstores inside the airports was a marketing genius. The selection at the airport is limited as well so the other plus is that they may (though I don’t know for sure) put books that have a better chance of selling (i.e., that are interesting to people in a rush).
If you feel like it is too risky to shop a completely new section / topic then go to a section that you really enjoy and choose an author or a book that you are interested in but may not have given it more thought and consideration before. In a way, this is how I found out about James Altucher’s Choose Yourself book.
If you are part of your gym (and even if you’re not), go find and ATTEND some fitness classes you may not have tried before
Recently, with a nudge from my partner, I went to boxing classes. I can say they are really quite a good workout for the upper body but they also have some classes that focus on legs and core. Feeling stressed from a work day? Or from jerks giving you a hard time? There’s nothing like de-stressing by letting out your frustrations on a punch bag.
Go to reddit and BROWSE a random sub-reddit
Just now, I went to a random sub-reddit called shorthorrors and watched a short horror film with a nice twist at the end. Will something come out of it? I’m not sure but maybe a connection will pop up in the future when I think of making videos, twists and surprises or about the creative process.
The next time you go to the dentist or doctor, READ and TAKE NOTES on articles
As I try not to use my smartphone too often, I’ll browse the magazines on the tables and pick up those that seem interesting to me. Many times it’s a cosmo or teen magazine but sometimes they will have reader’s digests –
Search for cooking classes and TAKE a class in a cuisine you enjoy eating but know nothing about
In Calgary, as part of a team building event, the team went to an Italian cooking class where we made gnocchi, fish, italian salad, italian dessert and really had a lot of fun learning how to cook italian food in the process. Not only did we get to eat everything that we made, we also got to see coworkers and clients alike in a non-work environment. Cooking is also an incredible way of inspiring experimentation – you experiment and then you can immediately see what the results are – which is incredibly different from something like product or service experimentation where the results are not immediately obvious or visible.
Look at your network and find someone that is doing interesting things, take them out to LUNCH or COFFEE
I don’t say this enough but I am heavily influenced and inspired by the network of individuals that I have around me or that are close to me. Part of the reason I got into management consulting is through my network and then the reason that I started to get promoted was due to building my brand, which was also a result of learning through my network. I almost think that one reason that I’m starting to plateau is because I don’t have enough interesting people doing crazy things in my network.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone in your network doing interesting things, take a look at the local newspaper or magazines or find out who the top X under X are in your area – for example, in my area I have a top 40 under 40 and by browsing a few of these people, you can see what kind of things they have done and whether that is of interest to you. Then it’s about reaching out. Will they say yes? Not always but you’d be surprised.
Go to the mall, find products and services that seem interesting to you. NOTE it down.
I am always surprised and amazed at what kind of products and services are available at the mall. The other day, I was at Sports Chek and I found an interesting product to clean shoes and sneakers. Since I have a fairly dirty pair of sneakers, I thought it was interesting that a product suddenly came up to meet my needs. I didn’t buy because I try not to impulse buy but it certainly made me do a bit more research into what products are available and what will best suit my needs.
Every once in a while, browse Kickstarter or other crowd funding websites and see what’s NEW
I enjoy going to Kickstarter so much that my coworkers make fun of me for all of the crazy things I make them see whenever I see something cool on Kickstarter. I’ve sent them links to cool multi-functional jackets, car cameras, powerbanks and more – some of the ideas are quite interesting, some of the ideas are kind of ridiculous at times but at no point is my creativity or imagination not stirred by the products that I see.
Lastly, keep a journal and JOT down your observations
Something that I learned from Tom is to keep a journal and jot down all of the above observations that you have. Things that interest you. Product ideas. Customer service stories. Then from time to time, take a moment to review these observations – especially when you need that spark or that injection of creativity in the project or work you are doing.