Do you dare to be irresponsible? Creativity lies in doing things differently. And there probably is never the “perfect time” for creativity – unless that time is NOW.
by Pete Ferguson
In response to my recent post “Wee Fun! Creativity Lies Outside Your Comfort Zone,” a reader wrote me and related the following –
When I was a kid, one of us (don’t remember which one) came up with the idea of taking our tricycles apart and putting them together upside-down…the first (ok, maybe not the first) lowrider…they cornered like crazy; and while we were still pre-motors, they were the hottest thing.
Why am I so afraid to put things together upside down now?
Answer: because I have bills to pay. I guess the fundamental question is: How do you balance “creativity” and “responsibility?” And this is where I get stuck!
I’m certainly not the expert in this area – but I’m hoping you all are.
For me, creativity is like humor. The more you fret over it, the less it will happen. Creativity is in the doing – or the undoing – of something. It just requires you to dive in and head for the unexpected.
Whenever I feel stuck, I sit down at the piano. I don’t read music, I just start playing chords with my left hand and try to keep up with my right. It starts off awkward and doesn’t sound great, but eventually I ease into a rhythm and create something new that I enjoy. If I want to add pressure, I open the windows and door to the house to add some pressure.
Or I sit down with my kids and play Legos. Often I have no idea what I’m going to build, I just start putting together pieces until I start to recognize a car, a boat, a plane, a submarine, a thing-a-ma-gig. My son has several thousand Legos, but I can never find the right piece or color, so I improvise.
Sometimes a lot of creativity is irresponsibility.
Irresponsibility is not forever – but is a lot of fun just for a moment of time. Hang out with kids, they aren’t worried about paying bills. Or taxes. And there are no limits. In one afternoon, they can be President of the United States, an astronaut, and a garbage collector. A felon, a police officer, and a doctor. A … [fill in the blanks].
I would recommend to my reader to keep being responsible at work, but then after work, during lunch hour, on the weekends do EVERYTHING possible to be irresponsible. Hang out with new people. Go to new places. Cook new foods. Make a list of 100 things to do in your area that you’ve never done before. Aim for the silly and spontaneous.
My reader went on to tell me that his dad was a retailer who was was really bugged by people who window shop in his store – wasting his time.
So I have a double dare for him – go to a mall and walk into EVERY store – and buy nothing. Yup, Victoria’s Secret (not with your wife). The kid’s clothing store. The maternity store. There are a lot of millionaires today who are selling stuff in the mall no one ever thought of before. My advice would be to learn from them.
Besides, the 16-year-old texting behind the counter isn’t going to be annoyed like his father was.
Dreaming takes courage. It is a scary first few steps, every time. But it also a lot of fun and rewarding. It frees the inner child.
What will you dare to dream?
I’ve covered the Learn and the Act – What can you Share?