If you want to be more creative, consume more content – good content. As the old saying goes, you are what you eat. And the same is true of content. Good content feeds your creativity.
Creativity by its very nature is the releasing of ideas. You take in disparate pieces of information, and smash them together to create something new. The more information you have at your disposal, the more ideas you can generate.
Every time you create a new idea you are giving something of yourself. If you aren’t feeding your creativity, you’ll eventually run out of the food you need to create new ideas.
Plug yourself in
Great content is everywhere. It’s accessible. And it’s yours for the taking. All you have to do is plug yourself in, and start seeking out great stuff.
Every day I get a little more addicted to my iPad. It makes consuming content a breeze, and at the same time it is changing my relationship with content.
I can read a book using the Kindle app, or browse a few dozen blog posts in my Reeder app. They both serve up text with a very similar look and feel, and make it very efficient for me to flip through a few pages when I have the time.
When I don’t feel like reading I can open the TED app, and watch incredible speakers. Or I can flip over to iTunes and download a documentary like Helvetica or Art & Copy.
At other times I want something fresh and unexpected. Twitter is becoming my primary source for new content. The nature of people sharing links provides me a steady stream of new, interesting and curated content to consume. I’m always amazed at the quality of links I find, and the ideas they generate.
Make it a habit
Our brains are incredibly adept at storing and processing large amounts of information. The only problem is they don’t digest information quickly.
Our brains have a governor. You experience it when you read a book. If you read too quickly, you won’t be able to remember what you read five minutes prior. That’s your governor in action. It controls the flow of information from your short term memory to your long term memory. If you overload your governor with too much information too quickly, it just digests a small fraction of what you took in and throws away the rest.
To overcome the limitations of your brain, make consumption a habit. Spend a set amount of time every day to purposefully consume great content. It doesn’t have to be a lot time. Twenty minutes a day is more than enough. A habit helps time accumulate, and at the end of the year you will have consumed ample material for new ideas.
Digest and share
Don’t simply consume. Your ideas are too valuable to keep locked inside your head. Release them to the world.
When you find a great piece of content, share it. Tweet it. Blog about it. Tell a friend.
When you get a brilliant idea, make it a reality. As Scott Belsky wrote in Making Ideas Happen, “Ideas are worthless if you can’t make them happen.”
We all have the ability to be creative and create great things. We just need to keep feeding our brains with good stuff so we can reach our true potential.