Don’t Waste Your Change Reserves

Don’t Waste Your Change Reserves

If there is one certain thing in the life of a professional creative it’s the need to push change; change in your work, change in approach, change in results, change in thinking, you name it. Some change is voluntary, some is not but both types command your complete attention.

There is a good deal of validity in tuning your creative radar for discomfort; if you’re not uncomfortable you’re not breaking new ground. The inverse, pushing discomfort to get creativity, could have merit as well. One thing for sure, routine won’t get you there. Anything not demanding your complete attention is not going to cultivate imagination in favor of innovation or new works of art.

My corporate days at Hallmark Cards defaulted with comfort. I was a middle manager with a job description inspired to (not specifically stated but strictly enforced) keep employees comfortable; asking them to achieve in the nicest possible way, and passing them on to other departments – if possible – when under performance could no longer be tolerated. In fact, I pushed change too much so they asked me to leave; I made everyone uncomfortable; routine was discouraged.

Yet there is a balance to be found. When creativity is needed most spending more energy is not often the answer.

“I’m not getting it, I need to innovate harder; I need more discomfort.”

Much more frequently one hears creative breakthroughs arriving during rest; those routine times post intensity. Push, rest, push, rest; that’s the ticket. But how do we measure rest?

How do we know we aren’t just being lazy? How do we know we aren’t behaving like comfort loving factory workers? I doubt there is a material answer, but the subtlety of creative exhaustion knows no bounds. Take a look at this experiment explained by Dan Heath at Fastcompany.com. It may begin to explain how we may better use our creative energy. At the very least it will encourage you to eat more cookies.

More about Switch can be found at the Heath Brother’s Blog.

Dan is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Made to Stick has been translated into 29 languages, the last of which was Slovakian, and it was retired from the BusinessWeek bestseller list after a 24-month run. Dan is also a columnist for Fast Company magazine, and he has taught and consulted on the topic of “making ideas stick” with organizations such as Microsoft, Nestle, USAID, the American Heart Association, and Macy’s.

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Creativity, emotional, expectations, Motivation

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