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Cross-Pollination: How to Enhance Your Creativity

As a culture, we value productivity. Efficiency. Excellence. Not bad things, in and of themselves. But they come at a cost. And one of the many costs is creativity.

How do we grow our creative muscles in an environment that pushes us toward automation and factory-style productivity? The answer, ironically, is buzzing around outside.

You didn't know you were signing up for botanical lingo, but here we are.

Cross-Pollination (definition): This occurs when pollen from one plant is transferred to a plant of a different variety by a pollinator, resulting in cross-fertilization and outbreeding.

Now, let's translate.

Cross-pollination occurs when one discipline provides an answer for a problem in another.

Think engineering to theater.

Restaurant industry to marketing.

Or strength and conditioning to higher academics.

It's the collision of worlds that occurs by the transfer of ideas.

And contrary to what we value culturally – speed, efficiency, productivity – this process of cross-pollination forces us to slow down. It looks messy. It feels messy. Because it is an exchange. And it means we have to put time into two different worlds.

A quick pause to emphasize the previous point, before we close with a challenge:

You have to put time into two different worlds.

You can't skim. A multi-hour YouTube binge doesn't cut it. You've got to spend enough time in that world to get to know it. I'm not saying it'll take years. Maybe so, if you really love that world. But "time" is definitely more than a day or two.


The closing challenge:

If you're creative and feel like you've hit a rut, maybe you're stuck because you've only been in one world. Here's the challenge:

What's another world you could explore?

If you're creative, and you're doing fantastic (no ruts or obstacles in sight), but you want to keep your momentum going, here's the challenge:

What's another world you could explore?

I know. The same challenge. So clever. But I mean it.

Give cross-pollination a go, and see how it plays out over time.

I don't think you'll be disappointed.


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