One day I was working on a big project with several of my college students. We were getting hungry and I offered to run over to a nearby Taco Bell and grab lunch. As I left, one of the students said, “Make sure to get a lot of Fire sauce packets!”
I had eaten at Taco Bell many times before but never used their condiments. This time I decided to give it a shot, just for kicks. When I sat down to eat, I emptied a packet of Fire sauce onto my taco and took a bite.
It had a great flavor and a little kick. I loved it!
From that moment, I was hooked. Now when I eat at Taco Bell, no item feels complete without Fire sauce. I even keep a few packets in my college office in case of a culinary emergency.
We all tend to get stuck in routines that don’t allow for change, growth, or new ideas. And that, my friend, is a place you don’t want to be. It’s a town called Complacency, and it’s just down the road from Boringville and Stagnant City.
Sometimes you need a little push to shake things up and get out of that creative rut. Here are twenty ideas for trying something new and adding a little variety to your life.
· Watch a movie or TV show you haven’t seen.
· Read a different type of book than normal (i.e. fiction, non-fiction, graphic novel). Check out the Amazon Bestsellers for ideas.
· Read a screenplay. (Just look online for lots of free screenplays.)
· Read an author you completely disagree with to gain a new perspective.
· Go to the library and browse through a different section than usual. There are over 20 libraries by my town alone. Don't overlook the library. It's one of the greatest places you can learn.
· Follow someone on Twitter who posts interesting updates. (Steve Martin and Jimmy Fallon are pretty entertaining.)
· Subscribe to a new blog.
· Visit a historical site in your city. Just a few miles from my home is
· Get a cool photography app on your phone and take some fun pics.
· Visit an art museum. If you're in the St. Louis area, swing by the art museum. It's great!
· Listen to a new podcast.
· Get out of bed earlier up earlier.
· Listen to new music (that’s the beauty of iTunes, Spotify, and other music streaming services).
· Find the closest kid younger than ten and build or draw something with them.
· Buy a toy for yourself. (Lego sets are great.)
· Visit a bookstore.
· See if you can spot Jupiter, Saturn, or (if you’ve got an eagle eye) Mercury with the help of the StarWalk app or the Sky and Telescope website. If you use good binoculars or a small telescope you can see Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s Galilean moons.
· Send a handwritten note instead of an email.
· Learn to draw, paint, or do movie editing.
· Learn to play an instrument if you don’t play one already (or learn a new one).
Variety is the spice of life. Try something new and shake things up. Who knows, you might even learn something from a tiny packet of sauce in a fast-food restaurant.
Questions for Reflection
1. Why is it so easy to get into a creative rut? Are you in a creative rut now?
2. What is the last new thing you tried? Did you like it?
3. Have you done any of the items in the above list in the last six months? What was the result?
4. Is there a friend or family member who might be in a creative rut? How could you help them experience something new?