Host Todd Henry (author of Daily Creative, The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Herding Tigers) shares daily tips, strategies, and provocations to help you unleash your best work each day.
Creative work requires vulnerability, because you are putting your thoughts, perspectives, and skills on display for others to critique. It can feel very much like a judgment of your work is a judgment of your worth. Because of this, many creative pros become guarded over time in an attempt to protect their sense of self. They close off to others, only allowing select people into their world.
While you should certainly be careful about those you invite into your personal space, I caution you against taking an initial posture of guardedness. When you greet the world around you with skepticism, you close your mind to possible new connections and insights. When you greet the world with a posture of possibility and hope, you discover bril- liance hiding in the most unlikely places.
Don’t allow a patina of guardedness and skepticism to cloud your relationships or your experience of the world. Instead, remain open to others, ask a lot of questions, be curious, and choose to seek wonder in the most mundane of happenings. By doing so, you train your mind and your intuition to recognize creative insights in each moment.
Guarded skepticism results in an increasingly closed mind. Hopeful curiosity yields wonder and creative breakthrough. Choose openness.
When you close yourself off to others, you close the door to creativity.
How can you be more open and less guarded today?
Listen For The Patterns
Listen for the Patterns
I grew up in a home situated right next to heavily trafficked railroad tracks. At night, as I would lie in bed trying desperately to go to sleep, I would feel a faint rumble in my mattress. It was almost unnoticeable at first, but then it would send vibrations up and down my legs. As I waited patiently, I began to hear the rumble of an engine, then the wheels on the rails, then finally a loud whistle—WOOOOOO!—of a train passing our house.
We tend to think creative breakthroughs are like the WOOOOOO! of a loud train whistle. We hear stories of aha moments that suddenly appear out of nowhere. But more often, creative ideas begin like a distant rumble, a faint vibration that signals that something is coming. Those who can hear those faint rumblings are often considered “visionaries” or “ahead of their time,” but they are simply listening for the patterns.
How do we hear the patterns? We get quiet, just like I was quiet lying in my bed. We pay attention to fragments of conversation, intui- tive hunches, sparks of inspiration. And we attempt to connect them into meaningful patterns. Much of the creative process is simply listening for the patterns that lie just beneath the surface of our conscious thoughts.
Get quiet, and listen for patterns.
You can’t force creativity, but you can listen for it.
is there a pattern that you’re sensing right now but haven’t fully recognized?
Phone A Friend
Phone a Friend
One pervasive—and damaging—myth is that creativity is a solo sport. We love to envision the lone creative pro, probably alone in a cabin in the middle of upstate New York, working feverishly at their craft, generating breakthrough after breakthrough in total isolation.
Of course, that’s not reality. Yes, much of the work you must do has to be done alone, but that doesn’t mean that creativity is a solo sport. Rather, we need others in our lives to help us see the full picture of the problem we are solving. Without their perspective and wisdom, we might work much harder and longer than necessary to get to the best result.
Do you invite other people into your work, or do you try to do everything on your own? I challenge you to think strategically about how you might begin to seek the insights of others more consistently. Here are a few questions you might try:
► If you were me, what would you do?
► Is there anything here that stands out to you?
► Have you seen something like this before? What did you do?
► If you were me, what would you watch out for?
All these questions leverage the wisdom of your peers and allow them to speak into your work. You will often find deep inspiration in these conversations.
We need others in order to see the full picture.
Who do you need to invite into your work today?
Like a potent (and yummy) multivitamin
This is the BEST podcast. Love that the episodes are juicy but super short. I often give each more than one listen. Todd is incredibly articulate and this sussinct format makes his delivery shine. The Daily Creative is the perfect companion for my creative spirit, short walks, and in between errands. Thank you Todd!
Todd Henry distilled, daily
This is quite like a dream come true - nuggets of Todd Henry’s wisdom, served daily in bite-sized, actionable portions. So useful. It is becoming a part of my daily routine. Thank you, Todd!
A trusted source
Todd is both deep and pragmatic. I look forward to Daily Creative and the inspirations that come from this podcast.
- Chris Angell
CEO, Groundswell Agency