Everyone is looking for an idea that will disrupt something. Innovation alone is no longer impressive, so it seems. You must radically change an entire industry or a business segment to make it. At the same time, the greatest opportunity for disruption is staring at us from the mirror: disrupting ourselves.
We are creatures of habit, and for the most part, we don’t like changes. We love to change others, but changing ourselves? That’s another story. We think of whatever we do as the best thing we can do, and even if we know we should strive to do better, our habits prevail.
Disrupting ourselves is not about ongoing improvement (which is no less critical). Disruption is all about experimentation and trying things we don’t normally do. Breaking habits will not always produce better results; it will always produce different results. Some will be better, and some will be worse, but all of them will be valuable. The value of disrupting ourselves is in the experience itself: in observing new things, wondering and questioning, exploring opportunities, and playing in new playgrounds.
Sometimes, disruption is the result of creativity, but more often, it ignites creativity.
Just Do It (Differently)
It certainly isn’t easy, but doing things differently is the most accessible way of disrupting ourselves. Pick something you do regularly and try doing it differently. Change something in the way you do it, the setup in which you operate, or the people you are doing it with.
Let’s say you write and publish daily on social media platforms. How about trying to do it differently? If you are writing short posts, try writing something longer. If you are using a Word Processor for your writing, try a different tool. If you write in the morning, try writing late at night.
Will all these changes make your writing better? Maybe. But they are guaranteed to generate different experiences. The result will be different, and whether it is better or worse, you can learn from it. You will cease to operate on autopilot, and that by itself can be an eye-opener.
Play in a New Playground
An even more challenging disruption is doing something you’ve never done before: playing in a completely new playground.
Playing in a new playground is like touring a country you don’t know. It invokes all your senses and creates a profound experience. But unlike exploring new scenery, experimenting with doing something new is an active experience. It might require new skills or activating “muscles” you never knew you had. When this new play influences other activities and changes the way you do them, even unconsciously, it will be magical.
If you are writing regularly but have never painted, try it. Or try creating a sculpture. Or dancing. These new playgrounds will rewire your mind. Playing in them will be an experience, and this is an excellent setup for creativity to flourish. As a side effect, you might notice these experiences affect your writing: what you notice, your rhythm, or your energy level.
It shouldn’t have been so, but unfortunately, doing nothing is a rarity. We are either actively busy or passively busy, submitting ourselves to whatever some algorithm decides to serve us. In our culture, doing nothing is regarded as laziness or a waste of time, when in fact, it is often when deep processing happens and creative ideas are being formed.
Add white spaces to your daily agenda for doing nothing: no tasks, no commitments, and absolutely no screens. Use this time to take a walk, observe, or just daydream. Disrupt your busy mind by taking some time off.