Advertising
Advertising

15 Common Places That Can Inspire Your Creativity

15 Common Places That Can Inspire Your Creativity

If you’re a writer or artist, you understand the power of location when it comes to creativity and finding inspiration.  Looking for a place that will get your juices flowing? Here are 15 common places that can inspire your creativity.

1. Libraries and Bookstores

Words are a wonderful thing. You could rearrange the same 26 letters to create an endless array of words that will surely tickle somebody’s fancy. Become so curious that you want to read everything you get your hands on. Observe how things like the weight or texture of a book could offer clues for what’s hiding under the cover. A heavy book could symbolize a significant time investment for the writer (and you, the reader). A light book could be seen as a short-and-sweet escape perfect for a beach, cruise ship, or even your lunch hour. If you’re a writer in a creative rut, browse the top-sellers in your genre for a hint that might lead you in the right direction.

2. Early Mornings or Late Nights

You know what I love? Being awake with no sound but birds chirping and an ever-so-slight morning glow overhead while the lazy sun opens its eyes for a brand new day. But maybe you’d be more inspired by a hooting owl, glowing moon, and the sound of crickets. Morning or night, the same fact holds true: there is something innately inspiring about getting work done while the rest of the world sleeps. I’d love to know if you are an early bird or night owl in the comments.

Advertising

3. Hotels

Hotels are kind of like the purgatory of living arrangements. It is an in-between place that is hard to feel comfortable in despite the fact that you do “home-like” activities such as sleeping, bathing, and brushing. The drastic change in living arrangements could shake you out of auto-pilot from your daily routine and increase your awareness and ability to live in the present.

4. Bars

If you’re a writer looking to sharpen your ability to write conversational pieces that click with your audience, go bar-hopping (but not to one of the annoying ones with music so loud that you have to scream at level 11 to be heard). Alcohol has a way of breaking the barriers to authenticity, so have a drink and enjoy some plain and simple truth with fellow patrons.

5. Parks and Hiking Trails

It’s easy to forget that we humans are a small part of the life bustling throughout this world. Explore a trail while keeping an eye out for animal life. Observe the unique quirks and behaviors of each animal friend you come across. Turn off your inner-chatter, crank up your listening ear, and enjoy the sounds of the whole other world you are now a part of.

Advertising

6. A Bench in a Busy Downtown Area

Can we just all go ahead and admit we enjoy people-watching? I love to plop down on a park bench with a notebook and coffee, watching the busy city life unfold before me. You are but one person in this big, crazy world. Check in with the rest for a fresh hit of human inspiration that will help you relate to the people around you.

7. Record Stores

Whether you want to explore a musical genre that’s never been introduced to your ears or admire album artwork that catches your eye, a record store is one place that’s sure to inspire your creativity.

8. MovieTtheaters

Whether you’re a movie buff or not, there is no denying that films are the preferred art form for most people, so catching some flicks could offer you a hint about what people react to (not to mention it will be fun).

Advertising

9. Old Haunts

Are there any places you used to visit ALL the time but then you got married, had kids, (insert big life event here) and it’s been a while since you visited? Maybe the bar you always went to in college, the Mexican restaurant you loved in high school, or an ice-cream shop you used to adore? Revisit these places to re-live some of your past memories that are likely to bring a smile to your face.

10. Art Museums

If you’re going to learn from somebody, why not learn from the greats? Explore paintings from a variety of eras, countries, and styles to increase your perspective. Challenge your brain by asking yourself, “What was the artist trying to accomplish with this work?” This game will be especially fun for abstract pieces.

11. Live Concerts and Performances

There is something amazing about seeing a band or theater troupe that perform with complete harmony.

Advertising

12. Conversation with Friends

Ideas happen when you stop talking about them and start making them happen….. to an extent. Have you ever had an idea in your brain or written in a notebook that just felt like it was missing something, but then you talked it over with a friend and the missing pieces weren’t far behind? Your friends will have perspectives totally different from yours, so don’t underestimate the power of a simple conversation.

13. Supermarkets

There are few places more neat and tidy than your area supermarket. Check out the nifty food packaging, the attractive (and efficient) shelf placement, the magazine section, the floral selection, and anything else that jumps out at you. If you’re feeling sweet, buy a balloon or flower for someone special.

14. High School Football Games

Check out a football game this fall for a combination of sports, music, community, and crisp fall temperatures (perfect excuse for hot cocoa and snuggling!). Imagine all of the working pieces that made this event possible: the football team, the band musicians, the volunteers at the concession stand, and the school’s staff. You’ll also have a perfect excuse to partake in some people-watching. Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll enjoy the experience.

15. Your Existence

Would you say that your life has meaning? I can’t imagine you wouldn’t, so look for creativity in the most obvious place it could be: inside yourself. Every day is a tiny part of the grand story that is your life. Keep a journal and write without filter. Don’t be surprised when you look at your notebook later to discover inspiration staring you between the eyes.

Are there any specific places that inspire creativity in you? 

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

9 Things to Remember When You Had a Bad Day How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressed 4 Ways Physical Touch Helps Your Relationship 10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively 2 How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You 3 What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For? 4 Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes 5 10 Things High Achievers Do to Attain Greatness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 21, 2019

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

Advertising

You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

“While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

4. Good leaders are students.

In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

Advertising

As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

“As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

6. Good leaders understand themselves.

I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

Final Thoughts

Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

Advertising

Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

More About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
[2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

Read Next