Increase your creativity by making fewer choices


Some people who want to be considered creative spend a lot of time focussed on making every single aspect of their life reflects their creativity. It’s not enough that they are a brilliant painter, they also have to wear crazy outfits and drive around in a car with jewels and feathers hot glued to the outside. Here’s a thought, have you ever tried being completely uncreative in the parts of your life that don’t directly impact your work?

Lots of artists talk about the importance of routine and discipline for their work, but there is also power in making a choice once and sticking with it.

I was reminded of this when I read an article about Devo asking to meet David Lynch. Lynch agreed, but the meeting had to be at Bob’s Big Boy. You see, Lynch ate lunch there every day. This is how Lynch describes it:

I like things to be orderly. For seven years I ate at Bob’s Big Boy. I would go at 2:30, after the lunch rush. I ate a chocolate shake and four, five, six, seven cups of coffee–with lots of sugar. And there’s lots of sugar in that chocolate shake. It’s a thick shake. In a silver goblet. I would get a rush from all this sugar, and I would get so many ideas! I would write them on these napkins. It was like I had a desk with paper. All I had to do was remember to bring my pen, but a waitress would give me one if I remembered to return it at the end of my stay. I got a lot of ideas at Bob’s.

Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip had the same breakfast, english muffin with grape jelly, and lunch, tuna salad, every day at a diner he built for himself.

Einstein famously didn’t like to think about his clothes and wore the same outfit every day. He said, “I like neither new clothes nor new kinds of food.”

Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, most people find their creative lives enriched by new experiences. However, spend a few minutes looking at your own life. Is there a decision you dread? A process that takes up too much of your life? Try simplifying it.

Eat the same lunch every day, get your hair cut on the same day every month or stop worrying about the color of your socks. Whatever weighs on you, take control of it!

You just might find that spending less time on the trivial gives your more time for the amazing!

(Read more about David Lynch’s creative life in Catching the Big Fish his book on meditation and creativity. It’s on sale for $5.99 on Amazon and it’s a bargain.)

3 responses

  1. Love the ideas, and it makes sense when you consider that there are very few all rounders in life, everyone deals with just one area. I recently talked about going from those initial ideas, and putting some structure on them and taking them to a final product, Might be of interest? I’ve linked to the post – Structure as a Starting Point for this comment.


  2. Very compelling thoughts, there. I remember employing that concept on a friend who turned scary and uberstressed while planning her wedding — I told her: pick the things that you really want to be right (flowers? dress? menu?) and release the rest — delegate it and forget it. Me, I don’t think about altering clothes or deep cleaning my house (I make the [for me] worth-it investments in a tailor and housekeeper); I eat oatmeal and yogurt every morning, and have no intention of developing an interest in gardening.


  3. Ewan,
    Thanks for the link. Interesting! It may spur further comment from me.
    Limiting what you do is the best. I never understand people who want to do everything themselves and worry about everything and then wonder why their lives are so boring.
    Spend your time doing what you want to do!
    Lets start a revolution!


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