In our ever-expanding technological-based world where we have more access to information than ever before, why is it that so many of us feel less and less creative?
I recently shared this article, and although it’s quite long and detailed, what stood out to me the most is that a huge proportion of what we see these days is dictated by some type of algorithm. Obvious right? But not something I had really thought about. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and even Google use our previous behaviour to determine what we are likely to want to see in the future. Whilst this is designed to give us an efficient user experience, what in effect does is continues to show us things we’ve already shown an interest in. Meaning that our worldview is continuously reinforced being and we’re not exposed to ideas/imagery/commentary that’s challenging.
It’s been established that this is contributing to a widening divide between the left and the right. But why does this matter for creativity? Well for me, a genuine sense of creativity comes from being challenged, seeing/experiencing something new or having a new idea (hence why travel is an ideal way to boost your creativity). However, I’m getting the feeling that when I’m particularly plugged in, these moments are becoming rarer. If you feel the same, perhaps it’s time to challenge your creativity a little bit?
You’re probably sick of me banging on about this, but one of the most simple ways to challenge yourself creatively is to step outside of the online world. As someone whose whole career revolves around the internet, this might sound a little bit counter-intuitive, but just because we love being online, it doesn’t mean we should be a slave to it. In fact, a little bit of time offline (whether that be in the evenings, day or a month) will stoke your creativity more than just about anything. Read more about digital downtime here.
Be More Aware
Train yourself to be more attentive to the things around you. It’s easy to be so absorbed in the online world or rushed and busy that we forget where true creative inspiration comes from… Around us. So start being more aware in everything you do, particularly when you are, say, commuting or travelling.
Consider (And Translate) Your Reactions
Once you’ve started noticing the things around you, start considering in more detail how you actually feel or react to the things that you are seeing. And take note of that reaction. True creativity comes when your brain works through these processes and gives you a tangible decision.
Have a Conversation
Sounds elementary, but you’ll be surprised how often these days we avoid it. With all of us head down staring at our devices, and slowly becoming more and more introverted, it’s easy to forget how stimulating it can be really talk to someone and take in what they are saying. If you’re someone who has started avoiding face to face meetings (this is more common than you think) perhaps it’s time to reverse that.
Try A New Medium
True, for a long time I have got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. But what I am seeing now is the same thing over and over, and it makes me think we’re all seeing the same things. To try to counteract that, I’ve started experimenting with other mediums, that have no algorithm at all… Clay, paint and lots of other mediums can help to nurture and challenge your creativity. And get your clothes thorougly dirty too!