This is a topic I’ve been contemplating for a while now. How do you get yourself inspired to create something new? Can you actually induce your creativity out of nowhere? Or do you have to get yourself inspired somehow? Well, here’s what I think …
What I know so far …
I was discussing this topic with a colleague of mine recently. What I brought up seemed to be puzzling at first. “Let’s look at Renaissance”, I said. “The answers are hidden in there”, I proceeded.
Even if you’ve never studied history, you must have heard of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, … right? Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about that period:
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in art, architecture, philosophy, literature, music, science and technology, politics, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry.Copied from Wikipedia
How the hell do you get so much art happening all of a sudden and so many brilliant people producing some of the most famous pieces of work in such a wide variety of fields? Now, I’m in no way a history buff, but I’d be strong to claim that it never happened before. At least not in that amount!
Let’s jump forward to the modern times now. Look at movie directors. How do they get inspired? I don’t have a clear list of references so I won’t be able to publish this as a white paper, but googling around and connecting some dots that I was aware of previously, leads me to a clear answer. Most of them get inspired by watching tons of other people’s movies; and reading literature.
What about writers? Pretty much the same. Songwriters? Same. Musicians? Same … You get a gist, right?
So, what the hell am I saying?
Let me put it this way. Imagine yourself living during the Renaissance period. You wake up, brush your teeth, grab some muffin, get some coffee … and you go out. And what you see all around? Art! Either in making or finished pieces. It’s remarkable! And what’s everyone around you talking about? Yes, you guessed it – art! So, what will you do now when you get home? Fart around? Discuss politics? Well, you could do that, but you’re probably inspired and pumped so much that your natural urge for creativity is now burning inside and you just have to express yourself … by creating more art!
The point that I’m trying to make, is – in order to get yourself inspired – you have to immerse yourself in other people’s art. Make it widely available. Plant the seed. Make the ground fertile and just let people do whatever the heck they want. Remove day to day obstacles and everyone becomes creative. The urge to be creative and make art is a natural tendency ingrained deeply in all of us. That’s what got us going and that’s what helped us evolve and eventually end up where we are today!
How the hell do you apply that?
Let me tell you a personal story here. I was sitting with my ex at her summer house and the whole place was arranged like it was dropped out directly from a photo shoot. It wasn’t (that) rich. It was just that every single piece seemed to be exactly where it was supposed to be. Just purely astonishing. Naturally, it got me into thinking. Hell, how crazy it is that some people have that natural gift for interior design? I, on the other hand, couldn’t even arrange two dishes on a table without it looking like it fell directly through the roof from neighbour’s place during the hurricane followed by avalanche. And even that would be an exaggeration of how much I suck at “designing” the interior.
So I casually asked my ex how her mom does it. As in – was she always naturally gifted for this stuff? Or was it nurtured somehow? Schooled maybe? You know, like – what’s her secret? There has to be some magic behind it, right?
“Oh”, she said, “no, not really. She just enjoys reading the magazines about interior design”. And lo and behold, next to a god damn bed, there’s a shelf with tons, and I mean – TONS of magazines. House decor, interior design, gardening, … you name it – it was there. And that’s when it hit me – I’m not god damn retarded for this. I just never even looked this stuff up! As in … never!
So, naturally, I went to google and searched for “living room design”. Boom! Bunch of pinterest posts. “Bedroom design”? Hell, what a difference can plants make! “Bathroom design”, “balcony design”, “cozy kitchen”, … you name it, I damn googled it! The outcome? Well, I’ll probably skip my nomination for the “most innovative interior design 2020” award but I can assure you that my living room and my balcony have never been cozier!
The point I’m trying to make here, is – you do not suck at stuff that you think you suck at. It’s most likely that you just never even tried it. And the best way to get a taste for it? Just look at what others are doing! Steal that inspiration from them and observe what happens! You might not become a rockstar, but you will be surprised at how much you will improve!
So, you a programmer? Look at other people’s code! Manager? Google for “best practices in _____ management”. Innovator? Producthunt! You get the idea, right? You’d also be surprised on how much inspired you can get just by reading and meditating! But that’s a whole different topic now which I’ll leave for some future blog post!
Good luck and let me know how it worked out for you!