Have you ever tried to change a routine? When we form habits, breaking them and changing gears is tough. We have a process that has been refined to work for us, and sometimes even work extremely well. This past week I switched from a piece of software I’ve been using for more than a decade to something new. Why change a process that works for something different? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?
Sometimes we get caught up in doing something a certain way, and stop looking at it objectively. We get so engrossed in our habits that we stop imagining that something else might be better. We’d rather get by than work harder, even if the harder work will come out on top in the long term.
Yet the most creative people (and often the most successful, regardless of how you personally define success) rarely stop pushing. They understand that “not broken” does not mean “great.” Let me say that again:
The most creative people understand just because a system works doesn’t mean there isn’t something better. They look for the better, even if it means giving up what they know works.
Creativity is a tricky bit of business. It challenges us at a very deep level, because our brains desperately want to take the path of least resistance.
The brain might look at this glass and say “Well, as long as you don’t drink from the jagged side it will still work. And that beats going all the way to the kitchen for another drink.” All the more so if you’ve been using that glass for years and have never cut yourself. (An extreme example, but you get my point.) That’s why, initially, we can’t invite that part of our brain to the party when working creatively. We have to turn it off so we can look for options that are better than what we’ve currently got.
That doesn’t mean we can’t find contentment while still looking for something better. I’ll write more about that later. For now just keep in mind that not broken =/= great. Step back and see if there is a better way or a superior idea. It will be more work, but what are we doing if we’re not striving to be better every day?