My wife, Tammy, and I went shopping this past Sunday. From where we were there are basically two routes home. There is a short and boring way; and there is a longer and more interesting way. On Sunday I chose to take the long way home.
I often do it intentionally. When I teach at Concordia on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get finished with my second class at about 5:15 p.m. I usually have to walk back across most of the campus to get to my car. Every time I take that long walk, I try to take a different route.
n fact, when I do anything in my life that tends to get repetitious, I try to veer away from the repetition and try a new, different, or more interesting way.
I don’t do these things because I’m some kind of “neurotic” or “obsessive compulsive” (…at least I don’t think I am!). I do it for the sake of my vocation. As a pastor, week in and week out, I have to come up with some kind of new and creative way to tell a “story” that’s been told time and time and time again.
In order for me to remain fresh and creative, I try to vary routine; and as I vary that routine I purposefully try to notice anything different, new, interesting, or exciting. As I do so, I am often “struck” with an idea that had never occurred to me before. Sometimes it applies to the work I am trying to accomplish in a particular week, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it always keeps my creative chops sharp and honed.
For instance, have you ever noticed the vertical arrow between the E and the X in the FedEx logo? What about the janitor at the office who suddenly has a limp? Have you stopped to smell the daffodils this spring? Which unusual word or phrase jumped out at you today? How did somebody make creative use of a sign in their advertising?
Which routine can you change to heighten your awareness of your surroundings and stimulate your creativity? You’ll be surprised at what you observe.
Help my creativity this week, and tell me about something unusual, different, exciting or out-of-the-ordinary that you have recently observed. Leave a comment!