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These last few months, I’ve been feeling like a creature of habit, dangerously toying with the kryptonite of creativity ― I like to call it “mundaneous”!

I find that I’ve been leaning toward routines because they feel familiar and seem easier. I don’t have to think about what I’m doing. My brain just goes on autopilot. I tend to prepare the same meals, take the same routes to my destinations, read the same genre of books, and do the same ol’ exercises.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a little bit like Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day,” reliving the same day over and over again. Wake, work, sleep, repeat.

Moments of Spontaneity Spark Inspiration

I’m very appreciative and humbly grateful to have the opportunity, one that others may not have during this time, to work remotely and safely from home. I guess what I’m expressing is my lament for those moments of spontaneity that spark unexpected inspiration. Those fresh, unplanned moments that make my routine day feel, well, not so routine.

Dr. Jacob Moreno, a famous 20th Century Romanian-American psychiatrist and educator, called spontaneity the arch-catalyst and creativity the arch-substance.

Morena said that spontaneity operates in the present, here and now; it induces an individual to respond adequately to a novel situation or to respond in a novel way to an old situation.

According to Moreno, there are many more Michelangelos than the one who painted the Sistine Chapel, and many more Beethovens than the one who composed all those symphonies. In other words, we are all born creative geniuses, but we must warm up to our spontaneity!

Embrace Freshness to Break Down Barriers to Creativity

I’m not implying that I aspire to or will achieve Michelangelo or Beethoven status, but I do recognize the parallel between Dr. Moreno’s theory on spontaneity and creativity and the innovation behavior we call “freshness.”

Trying new things gives us fresh stimulus to help us think outside the box. It allows us to make connections between previously unconnected concepts. I realize it’s time to disrupt my usual regimen by making intentional efforts to identify routines and not allow myself to regress into those old habits. I can try small, simple changes, like taking a different route home, listening to a new podcast, or having a virtual meeting with someone from a different department. Each of these things can help me start to break down barriers to creativity and develop my problem-solving skills.

I look forward to unexpected, inspirational conversations in the hall or elevator, to seeing advertising that triggers a lightbulb moment, and to overhearing a conversation during my commute that encourages me to do something I’ve been putting off.

Until then, I’ll make small changes while working remotely. Fresh stimuli in, fresh ideas out…becoming a creature of new habits! Check out our Innovation Toolkit to learn more about freshness and other innovation behaviors that inspire creativity.