When was the last time you had a great idea or found new inspiration while sitting on the couch watching TV? Chances are, your most creative moments came from an experience outside your home.
Adulting is exhausting, so many of us tend to get stuck in our routine of work, eat, sleep, repeat. If a friend invites us to an event on a Tuesday night, we probably say “no” because, hello, it’s Tuesday and we have chores to do and dinner to make.
But in this industry, creativity is golden and you should make time for getting out of the house and finding inspiration – even if that means you put off watching this week’s episode of The Walking Dead until tomorrow.
In the movie “Yes Man,” the main character (played by Jim Carrey) challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for a whole year. As you can imagine, being a Jim Carrey movie and all, a lot of shenanigans happen in that year, but as he experiences new things, he continues finding himself happier and a better person. Whether or not it was an Oscar-worthy movie, I think it had an awesome message: step outside your comfort zone.
You don’t need to say “yes” to everything, but some of the best ideas are sparked when we get out, try new things, see the world, and immerse ourselves in exciting, weird and maybe even scary experiences. Here are some ways you can get out and get your creative juices flowing.
- Explore new places. Everyone knows that travel is good for the soul, but you don’t have to plan a huge vacation to get away. Here in the Midwest, we are lucky to be an 8-hour drive away from so many cities (Denver, Chicago, Nashville, the list goes on…) that make for a fun getaway. And if even that is too much, spend an evening or whole day exploring a local neighborhood that you aren’t very familiar with.
- Go to an art exhibit or museum. No matter where in the world you live, there’s a good chance there’s some art or a nearby museum to enjoy. In Kansas City, we have a surprisingly cool arts scene. You could walk around the Crossroads Art District, visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, or buy tickets to the current exhibit at Union Station (right now featuring the Body Worlds exhibit, which looks incredible).
- Volunteer for a cause you care about. Volunteering is one of the best ways to help your community, meet new people, and find inspiration. If you’re unsure of where to volunteer in your city, VolunteerMatch.org is a great resource for finding an opportunity.
- Listen to live music. I would argue that any kind of music is good live (except maybe screamo, but that’s my personal preference). There are so many concerts, big and small, that come through just about any city. I highly recommend downloading the app Bandsintown to find upcoming concerts. It even scans your Spotify library to better match concerts to your music taste. Even if you don’t end up loving the music, all concerts are prime people-watching opportunities, and that in itself is entertaining.
- Attend a lecture. If you live in a college town or a medium- to large-sized city, there are tons of opportunities to attend to a lecture. And I’m not talking about snoozing through boring lectures like in college (What? I totally didn’t do that…). There are lectures on topics that you may find interesting, and many big authors travel the country giving lectures, too. Check out Creative Mornings, which hosts an hour-long lecture every month for creatives like you, or look at public lecture calendars at nearby universities. And, of course, TEDx talks are great events to attend if they come to your city.
“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” -André Gide