What are you using your creativity on?

Today, I'm attending the 99u conference in New York. If you're not familiar, it's an annual conference (6th year) for creatives. The tag line is that it's not about idea generation, it's all about idea execution. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

I wanted to talk about creativity, and specifically what you use that creativity for.

When I signed up for this conference, something within me compelled me to sign up for the VIP option, which gave access to the speaker's lounge. I figured if just one important connection was made from this, it would be well worth the $1200 extra.

So today when I got there, I went upstairs to check out the VIP lounge, and it was completely empty. Later on it wasn't so empty, but it wasn't what I'd hoped it would be.

Immediately my brain started coming up with arguments for why it was a stupid idea to invest in a VIP ticket, and why that was self-evident. It had some great arguments.

And that's when I woke up and realized, I've done this many times before: Instead of using my creativity for something good, I unconsciously put it to work trying to come up with reasons to make myself wrong.

And let me tell you, that is not a very helpful or productive use of creativity.

The moment I saw that, I stopped. Who knows if it was a brilliant move or a stupid move. Maybe tomorrow will bring some awesome connection. Maybe the experience will bring some other value, such as this blog post. Or maybe I'll copy the concept with my own conference when I put one on. Or who knows.

The important point is, it's not worth pursuing for even a split second.

Much better to put my creativity to use writing great prose or code or coming up with reasons why I'm awesome or why the world is a wonderful place or ways to make my wife or my employees or my customers exceptionally happy or a million other things.

What are you using your creativity on?

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