A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods. – Mason Currey
Our world is crying out for creative solutions to everyday problems.
The workplace and the home are two places we spend the most time…but these are two places where we feel creativity is “out of place”.
Why would this be?
This is because most people simply do not view themselves as creative people. That’s a shame because creativity is a birthright of every human being. It’s not just reserved for inventors, artists, and titans of industry. It’s something we all have but many of us were discouraged from using.
Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals busts open the myth that creativity is a “walled garden” that only special people can access.
The book examines the lives of several artists that we consider “legendary”. But as you start to read further and further…you can see that they were ordinary people just like us. The difference? They refused to be told that they couldn’t be creative.
In fact, there’s nothing more masculine than creativity.
There were many men who were warlords, kings, overseers, and inventors who helped to create and shape our modern world.
So if you think you’re not creative, or if creativity is innate…you’re dead wrong.
After you read this, you’ll:
- Realize what creativity is
- The best insights from the Daily Rituals book
- How you can apply them to your own life
First of all, it’s legitimate to ask: what is creativity?
What is creativity, anyway?
Creativity is the ability to create a new variation on an already existing form.
Creativity is not originality.
It’s a new way of doing something.
This is where a lot of people feel stumped. They feel as if they have to “think outside of the box” in order to be creative.
Not at all. It just requires having an open mind and “cycling through the kaleidoscope”. This is one of the key teachings in the Kelley Brothers’ Creative Confidence.
Here’s a little secret that most people won’t tell you about being creative: creativity is an unfoldment and accumulation, not a revolutionary new idea.
There is nothing NEW in the world. Everything else existed in some form before its “creative” counterpart was discovered.
Facebook wasn’t the first social networking site.
The iPhone wasn’t the first cellphone.
Picasso wasn’t the first painter.
Amazon wasn’t the first online store.
But they offered something else nobody was at the time.
As I read on and on about these artists, I started to see common themes emerge:
- Most of them had many vices.
- They were incredibly persistent in the face of failure.
- They believed their work would produce some type of end result.
- The act of creating didn’t come easy.
- These people constantly found ways to be creative, self-reliant, and productive despite outside interference.
- They stuck to their daily rituals like glue.
All of these traits I believe come together and create a latticework of creativity all formed from daily rituals for success.
Let’s deconstruct them.
Frailties and Vices
In her later years, she became a hardened drinker with a high tolerance, she kept a bottle of vodka by her bedside…She was also a chain smoker for most of her life, going through a pack of Gauloises a day. – Mason Currey on Patricia Highsmith
You probably have some bad habits and vices that hamper your daily rituals. For most people this comes in the form of drugs.
Drugs more often than not are a hinderance.
In popular culture, artistry and drug use go hand in glove. People have the misconception that artists are creative because of the vices. Instead of believing that, entertain the thought that they used the drugs as a coping mechanism to help dilute their oversensitive natures.
Drugs usually always end up destroying the artists in the long run.
These artists intimately understood their craft and practiced on it while sober to the point where they could write, draw, play, etc. while blitzed out of their mind.
They knew that at the end of the day, they had to develop the skills to create meaningful work and no amount of substances would do it for them.
Don’t let your readiness to indulge in substance use as a way to create excuses.
You just need to do it.
Doing The Work
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. – Chuck Close
Let’s just admit it – sometimes getting up and “going” is a bitch.
I know, it’s much easier to talk about something than to actually do it. That’s why the self-help market is so large.
Here’s how projects usually go when acted out through normal methods:
- You get a flash of inspiration from the gods
- You start sketching out all these plans to do it and how awesome it would be
- When it comes time to put the pedal to the mettle, you fall short
- “Oh screw it. It was just a pipe dream anyway“
Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry, it should. It’s part of the human condition. This is what Steven Pressfield calls “The Resistance ”.
Many of these artists had massive mental barriers to overcome when it came to working. Many of them absolutely detested the act of creativity. But the end result is always worth it, I promise you.
Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen
In fitness circles, there’s a saying that goes “the hardest rep is opening the gym door”. Well, the hardest “rep” in being creative is just starting.
Are you afraid to be creative in business or in life? These are some things that might be holding you back:
- Embarassment of looking stupid
- Awkwardness when attempting to be creative
- Loss of status or reputation
- Desire to travel down the path of least resistance
All of these are rooted deeply in fear, which for the most part is an illusion.
I’m speaking from experience here. I used to be plagued with a lot of self-doubt and crippling fear.
I was afraid to voice my opinion on certain things after some occasions where I was emotionally scarred for doing so.
I preferred to sit back on cruise control, leading to a deep and pervasive apathy for life in general.
No wonder I found it hard to “think of the box” for several years.
I used to be so creative when I was younger and it just turned “off”.
Does this sound familiar? It’s recognizable to many people. In their book Creative Confidence, the Kelley brothers state that many people are walking around with “creativity” scars on their psyche.
Somewhere along the line they were told that creativity is innate, not learned/rediscovered.
This mindset is absolutely devastating to creativity in entrepreneurship, business, or any other pursuit.
Look at children. They are incredibly creative. Why? They are fully engulfed in the present moment. They aren’t worried about what people will think of them.
This is truly tragic.
Just show up with the intention to create and just make.the.first.step. That’s all it takes.
If the Pope has time to work out and the President has time to work out, YOU have time to work out! – Arnold Schwarzenegger
What is the biggest detriment to creativity, establishing daily rituals, and success?
This entire “sermon” is intended to smash excuses and creative barriers.
Yes, I get it – a lot of us are incredibly “busy”. But is it just “busyness” or true productivity?
Many of these artists had children. Many had husbands and wives to attend to. Many of them had jobs. Many had chronic illnesses. Many of them, if alive today would be classified with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and lots of other mood disorders.
Toni Morrison had two kids she had to watch and was a full time literary editor for much of her life. Her schedule was more than packed. Yet she took the time out of the day and eliminated what was unnecessary in order to do her writing.
You have to carve out the time for creative endeavors if they are important to you. There is no other way.
Shave an hour off your TV or Internet time. Decide to spend the night in instead of going out with friends.
You’ll be there in no time.
The harder I work, the luckier I get. – Thomas Jefferson
One common denominator I’ve noticed with success in any endeavor is this: the people who stick around usually win.
After everyone has blown the vuvuzelas, packed up the hot dog stands, and swept up the confetti, they’re still there toiling away in the dark.
The greats you hear in any field are just the people who managed to stay around the longest even though they wanted to quit numerous times. Ask yourself this:
How many times have you wanted to do a new workout routine but you didn’t stick to it?
How many times were you looking to pick up a habit but you didn’t stick to it?
I know there have been many times where I’ve done something and then gave up because I got tired of doing it or I didn’t see results right away.
Again, that is the wrong mindset to have.
If it was easy, we’d all be doing it, right?
What Are Your Daily Rituals?
Daily rituals are a guiding compass to establishing true creative confidence and showing up fully for ourselves and others in our lives.
They help us center when we are lost. They calm us when we are fearful. They shine light on darkness.
So let me pose a question to you: what’s your daily ritual? Do you have one? If not, why not?
If not, follow this step by step process on how to create your daily rituals.
First, ask yourself:
What’s important to me?
What are your non-negotiables? What are some things that you will absolutely not do?
Once you’ve established those, think of opposite alternatives.
What are things that are the complete opposite of something I wouldn’t do?
If you absolutely hate processed food and wouldn’t eat it for breakfast, would your breakfast be a meal filled with organic eggs and vegetables instead?
You don’t have to go to extremes, just use this as a thought exercise.
Secondly, start small.
If you start adding a bunch of new rituals like going to the gym first thing, meditation, journaling, and reading the news first thing in the day – you probably won’t do any of them.
You need to establish a habitual routine for your daily rituals.
What is the smallest possible change you can make to your morning routine that will set you up for the greatest amount of productivity for the day ahead?
Again, this is just a thought experiment.
Third, decide to be proactive instead of reactive.
One of the most crucial elements of the daily ritual is that it is a time of “creation” instead of “chaos”.
Most people spend much of their lives on “chaos”/reactive mode. Instead of dealing with problems head on, they decide to “attempt” to fix them as the arise.
Your daily rituals are supposed to be a time of building up your reservoir of strength. They should be contributing to you, not taking from you.
Again, remember the smallest thing you could do to spur your daily rituals and creative confidence.
It might be something as simple as going to bed early, waking up when the alarm sounds, and not pressing the snooze button.
So the question still stands! What are your daily rituals? Do you have any?
Let me know in the comments.