I have resolved to put into practice the Huffington Post’s 18 things highly creative people do differently. It’s one of the best articles on practical creativity I have ever seen. Let me be clear. I don’t see myself as necessarily a “highly creative” person, but I’d really like to make strong headway in that direction. So on Easter Sunday I decided I would begin by taking advantage of a unique opportunity to carry out one of the eighteen: People Watching.
About people watching the Huffington Post article says:
Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.
“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important … They’re keen observers of human nature.”
So on Easter Sunday I had the opportunity to observe two groups of people. I was able to observe the roughly 400 people that worshipped at my church on one of the highest festivals of the church year.
- I saw faithful people who are in church every Sunday bring friends and relatives along with them to worship.
- I saw people who claim to be members of the church and yet are only in worship about once or twice a year.
- I saw volunteers who set up chairs outside for the Sunrise Service, cook Easter breakfast, and usher the throngs that showed up for church.
In contrast, my wife, Tammy, and I spent the afternoon at Disney’s EPCOT. Easter Sunday at a theme park is an interesting thing.
- I saw families from the north sunburned, tired, and dragging crying kids.
- I saw people wearing things they would never wear in the outside world.
- I observed employees, some who seemed to be walking through their day, and others who seemed to be truly enjoying what they were doing.
So where’s the juxtaposition?
- Both groups of people were committed to something: one to their church (regardless of the reason), the other to their tourist plan.
- Both groups of people dealt with crowds the best way they could.
- Both groups of people were (mostly) filled with joy.
People watching most certainly fuels creativity. Based on this day alone I could write about:
- Dress codes
- Crowd behavior
- How church members and tourists compare with one another
- What motivates people in specific situations
- The way people direct their money
- The difference between church volunteers and theme park employees
- What the church could learn from Disney
- What Disney could learn from the church
People watching with purpose and attention can bring about a creative bonfire in your brain. Give it a try. No matter your form of creativity, it will be a boon to your art.
How has people watching fueled your creativity?