creative cities

So you’re busy running a company or you haven’t read enough Under30CEO to figure out how to break away from your 9 to 5 job….

You wish you had time to for excitement and adventure but bills and responsibility always seem to bring you back to reality.  Your brain is caught in a rut, and on your way to work everyday you think the same thoughts… You want to travel, but your excuses are too big to overcome…

How do I break out of my slump within the confines of my own city?

Here is a list of seven ways to break out of your comfort zone, and spark your creativity…

1).  Get lost.  On purpose.  Like most CEO types, I hate getting lost.  I like to be in control, and if I don’t know where I am, I feel powerless.  But getting lost when you have nowhere better to be can actually spark your creativity.  Use it as an exercise in controlling your fears, letting go, and almost “being one” with the fact that you have relinquished control.  Simply breaking through that barrier of being in control, can put you in a whole new mindset…

2).  Break your routine.  It’s been three weeks since I’ve returned home from our Under30Experiences Nicaragua, and  I’m already feeling like I need to spark my creativity and get out.  Instead of making breakfast at home and going straight for the office, I decided to do something differently.  I walked to Little Italy, in search of a cafe with wifi.  Now, I’m drinking espresso with my laptop open and this break in my routine has given me the inspiration to write.

3).  Challenge your creativity.  Maybe you’re a paper-pusher or a number-cruncher to pay the bills… Maybe you aren’t asked to be creative at work.  Or worse yet, maybe your corporate job does everything they can to make you conform, and suck all individualism right out of your day to day.  It sounds like you need a creative side project.  Why not start writing, get hooked on crossword puzzles, or start plotting your escape from whatever is holding you back.

4).  Remove boring people and boring things from your life.  Think life is boring?  Get rid of your boring friends.  It’s not rocket science.  If the people around you suck, you’re going to suck too.  Are you the type to sit on the couch and complain that there is nothing good on television?  Get rid of your cable.  For $100 a month, invest in learning a new language, pick up an instrument, get a personal trainer, or start planning a trip.

5).  Bring awesome people together.  Now that you’ve gotten rid of your boring friends, it’s time to solidify time to spend with people who are more like the person that you want to become.  If you become an organizer or leader of smart, passionate people, you not only get to enjoy their energy, but also these people will look up to you in some capacity.  I don’t care if it’s poker night, a keg party, or a startup event, if you bring creative people together, it’s going to rub off on you.

6).  Collect people, not things.  Errr… okay, don’t “collect people”, but instead of accumulating material possessions, start accumulating awesome people in your life.  Look around your living space.  Is it creative? If not, get rid of the things that clutter your brain.  Instead of material possessions, invest your money in experiences that will bring you closer to interesting people.  And, remember– it doesn’t have to be expensive– coffee dates won’t break the bank but can spark ideas and relationships that last a lifetime.

7.) Get emotional.  There is a proven link between emotion and creativity.  It’s why the best music and art evokes emotion in the audience.  That emotion has been directly passed from the artist, through the art, to the person on the receiving end.  It’s no wonder why so many artists and creative types are crazy and plagued by mental issues.  Even Steve Jobs is now known for his use of LSD.  While I’m not condoning drug use or going AWOL, if you aren’t moved enough by life to be emotional, you probably won’t be creative.  Start taking risks, get outside of your comfort zone, or get wrapped up in powerful film.  My best writing days start as freehand journals, when I need to let out some emotion, and then I turn them into articles that other people can get value from.

As Tony Robbins says, “motion creates emotion”.  Get your body moving. Get out of the office–think the most creative people in the world work in an office?  Even if you can’t get on a plane and be inspired by a foreign land, try to do do things that are foreign to you to spark your creativity.

What are your top ways to spark creativity?

If you are really ready to break out, challenge yourself, and be around other ambitious people in an exotic, creative environment, check out our new travel company Under30Experiences and join us in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  

Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30Media and Adventurer in Residence at Under30Experiences.