The surprising power in everyday creativity

Do you have a creative outlet, something other than what you do for work?

If so, you’ll relate to today’s post. It’s about a silly little creative project that just lit me up.

If not, watch it twice! :-) The more creative things like this you can have in your life, the better.

Either way, enjoy!

A fun story of everyday creativity.
How it’s been lost in our modern lives—and what it costs us.
The important difference between creativity and entertainment.
Watch/listen to get the full message.

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“Nemesis Games.” James Corey. Just finished this, the 5th book in the Expanse series. I LOVE these books. Great sci fi. Trying to force a break before picking up the next one. :-)

“Getting to Yes.” Roger Fisher, William Ury. Heard about this book over and over. Figured I should finally pick it up.

“Spy Master.” Brad Thor. Might not finish this one. Don’t care for the writing. That’s me being polite. :-) Not sure why I bought it. We’ll see how it goes.


[ transcript ]
Hey, it’s David Levin. author of Raise Your Inner Game, co author of QBQ the Question Behind the Question. Founder of Raise Your Inner Game ACADEMY.

Do you have a creative outlet in your life? Something other than your normal work? I hope so, because having one makes a HUGE difference in your life. Let me tell you a little story.

My son Peter and I were planning to go to the big airshow in Oshkosh Wisconsin a couple weeks ago. If you don’t know, the Oshkosh airshow, it’s called AirVenture, is I believe the biggest airshow in the world. It’s just huge. It’s not even really an airshow in the way you normally think of it. It’s a gigantic convention, like hundreds of thousands of people, over a full week, totally devoted to aviation. It’s like the biggest state fair you’ve ever been to, but only for things that fly. It’s really too big to get your head around. You have to experience it for yourself. Great if you like airplanes. Maybe not so much if you don’t.

So anyway, I’ve been many times. Peter and I have been at least once before. And knowing how exhausting it can be, I really wanted to have a good system for taking care of ourselves while we’re there. Basically, I wanted to use this folding wagon we have to hold all the stuff we’d want with us on the grounds. Stools for sitting and taking a break. There aren’t a lot of places to sit there. Umbrellas for shade, there’s very little shade, and you know, the last week of July, it can be hot. Water bottles. Snacks. Sunscreen. Just all kinds of things I wanted to have with us, and I didn’t want to carry them in backpacks because that just adds to the effort, having to lug all that around. So a wagon works great. But when we go there, we have to camp. And the show is so big, that the camping, which is really just basically tens of thousands of people — and I’m not kidding — all crammed into basically just a huge grass field that’s like a mile square. It’s insane.

Anyway, the camp area is over a mile away from the show itself, so the question is, how do you get all that stuff there? They have shuttle busses, but those can take a long time, be pretty frustrating and stuffy, also I didn’t think we could get all the stuff on the bus.

So I decided the best plan was to take bicycles, to ride to and from the show, and to figure out a way to pull the wagon behind the bike.

So now we get to the creative project. How to connect the wagon to the bike? How to attach it in a way that would be solid for the 2 or 3 miles to and from the grounds, and easily hooked up as a trailer and unhooked to become the wagon.

So I thought about a bunch of different options. Tried connecting it directly, tying the handle to the bike. That didn’t work. Failed right away. Tried strapping the wagon folded up onto another trailer we have. Basically like a Burley we had for the kids when they were little but don’t use any more. That didn’t work. Wagon was too big for the trailer. Also I didn’t really want to have to bring two trailers just to get the wagon to the show. Not sure we had room for that in the car. Plus the bike parking area there has hundreds and hundreds of bikes crammed in there. So I couldn’t think of how the extra trailer would fit there.

So then I finally had the brainstorm that I could maybe take the connecting bar from the kids trailer and come up with a way to use that with the wagon. The bar was designed to fit the bracket on the bike. If I could get the other end to attach to the wagon, that might work.

So I messed around with that for a while. Looked at the structure of the wagon. Thought about a bunch of different ways it might work. And then I saw it. Couple of pieces of wood. Drill a hole for the attachment. Stick it in like that. Bungee cord to hold it together. I think it’ll work.

So once I could see it, I spent maybe 30 minutes cutting and drilling. Putting it together. Fastened it in place. Tried it out. It was perfect.

Well, one little thing. Because the original trailer was wide, the bar was bent out to the side to keep the trailer centered. But the way I was using it, the bar attached in the middle of the wagon. So behind the bike, the wagon was basically positioned like a side car, off to my left. But it ran straight, seemed solid. So I was good to go. And I was just tickled about it. Couldn’t wait to try it out.

And the big thing was, the whole process had been a joy. It wasn’t just that I had the hitch, and would be able to use it for the show. The problem solving and the creating itself was a total blast. I was just lit up for the whole time, and for days afterward.

So then we get to the show. The system is working great. 10 minute bike ride to the grounds. Pop off the bar, pull it around at the show. It’s great. End of the day, hook it back up, bike back to the campsite. Perfect. I’m loving it. And thinking I’m pretty clever.

But then was the best part. Second day, we’re riding in to the grounds in the morning. This guy goes past us on his bike, notices my rig, says “How did you do THAT?” Stops at the next corner, flags us down. Asks if he can take pictures. Gets down on his knees, taking close ups of all the details. Saying “this is great.” Tells us how they go to this other festival every year. Going to be so helpful. He’s just super excited about it. And I am feeling like a rock star.

I’ll tell you. I have released 4 albums of original music, had some success with it, and heard some pretty great feedback on my music. That’s felt great. I have written two books of my own and three with my friend John Miller we’ve heard amazing comments about the difference those have made in people’s lives. Feels, there’s nothing like it.

I have never been more tickled than I was when that guy wanted to take pictures of my little improvised wagon hitch.

But even if no one had noticed, this was still just an incredibly uplifting thing in my life. Again, the whole process — identifying the problem, thinking of possible solutions, trying things, experimenting, figuring it out, making it work. There’s just nothing more fun and satisfying than that.

So that’s the main point here. If you really want to add incredible energy to your life, have some sort of creative, problem-solving outlet. Even if you’re a creative already, like me. Having something that’s different from your every day work is just incredibly fun and exciting. Make things. Puzzle things out. Solve problems. It’s just so great.

I think this is part of why the MAKER movement has such energy now. This kind of outlet is something we really need and enjoy, and to a great extent have lost in our modern lives.
As humans, we need to use our imagination and our creativity to feel fully alive. We need to use our hands and stretch our minds. And you can really feel the truth of this is when you get the rush that comes from doing it. It’s not just fun. It feels right. Like it’s important somehow. And you just feel more alive. It lights you up.

So I really encourage you to do this, if you don’t already. And I want to point out that this is quite different from entertainment. This is not sitting in front of the television. It’s not even doing fun things – it’s not playing games. This is creative problem solving. Figuring things out. Making things.

It doesn’t have to be every day, of course. Or even every week. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I did something quite like this. Maybe a few times a year something pops up. And it might just be something around the house that needs fixing. Might be making a present for someone. But every time it does, it is just a blast.

So that’s my suggestion. Find a creative outlet, one than gets you experimenting and playing and working with your mind and your hands. There’s just nothing like it.

All right, that’s it for this week. If you are hearing this somewhere other than my site, come on over— Grab the free download there—3 things you can do right now to love your work and life again. That’s a good piece. Plus it gets your name on my newsletter list, so I can let you know about new posts and offers when they come out.

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Otherwise, thank you. Keep up the good work. I’ll talk to you next time.

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