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We've discussed the obstacles that often arise that keep you from being your creative best. Few are more creatively deadly than present versus aware. Because this obstacle can affect every aspect of your creative growth. It's the hurdle of routine. A routine is simply a regular course and procedure. Anything you do repeatedly in the same order as a routine. Sport's coaches refer to it as muscle memory, a repetition of movement that doesn't require conscious forethought.
We have hundreds, maybe thousands of routines in our lives. When you count all of the repetition that we experience it's become second nature, like getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. These routines are necessary to keep our heads from exploding. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow morning and couldn't remember what to do next. You'd have to evaluate every step, discover every need from scratch, investigate every path through every room. And that's just to get around your house. Routine allows us to free our minds to focus thought on more important things.
Until that routine begins to creep into our creative lives. Most of us spend hours each day in the same places, day after day. We know these places so well, we don't have to think about where we are or what else is there. We instinctively know. But that instinctual knowledge can keep you from seeing the creative solutions that are all around you. In short, you're present in that moment and at that place, but are you truly aware? What happens when you're in a new place? You're aware of your surrounding.
You investigate all of it, seeing every detail of the place as you experience it. We stopped doing that environments that we frequent like our work places. Training yourself to be aware of your surroundings regardless of the familiarity will serve you creatively as you search for solutions. Let's try an experiment. You'll need a piece of paper and a writing utensil for this experiment. So, if you need to pause the movie to retrieve those, do so now. Are you ready? Go. I want you to write down the first thing you hear right now.
Write down the sound, or the source of the sound, if you know it. Got it? Now, I want you to close your eyes, and for the next 20 seconds, I want you to listen. For individual sounds, things that you can point out singularly sourced. In your mind, count up every sound you hear for the next 20 seconds. Are you ready? Go. So, how many sounds did you hear? I'm betting a lot of more than just one.
When you switch from being present to being aware, we find there is much more going on around us than we think? And those things can have a drastic effect on our problem solving success. Have you ever experienced a particularly clever solution to something in a place you didn't expect? You often see an ad campaigns where creatives use that gorilla marketing technique that uses everyday objects. Things that you've seen a million times, but then turn them into something else for the purpose of the campaign. This is an example of a creative being aware of their surroundings and seeing what most of us miss because our routine has made us numb to our environments.
Learn to be aware and not just present, and you'll find more solutions than you used to see.
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