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Innovation and creativity require dismantling assumptions and rebuilding assertions.  It means deconstruction before recollection.  Imagining while while refashioning.  What are you doing to that end in your work? In your art?


Yup, another week gone by.

Like most Friday’s, it is a time for a pause and break from the weekly grind, for sure.  Today, I am asking myself some questions which I bring up periodically:

  • The year is almost 1/4 over, how have you grown so far?
  • Where are you on your New Year’s Resolutions?
  • What are you doing differently today than 1 year ago today?

Personally, if I’m not careful with how I live out my daily or weekly life, time flies by like a blur and all of a sudden I realize that I’m in a never ending pattern.  Although it can be a healthy one, most of the time, it can be realized as a rut.

Doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over again…and with the sense of purpose lost in the air somewhere back there in the distant past.


So one of my most sacred praxis that I keep is a randomization ritual.  Each month I carve out some time on my calendar and purposefully mix it all up.  Do something different.

We all need some randomness in our lives.   Otherwise, there’s a method to our madness madness to our [repetitious] methods.

Here’s some ideas for what I personally have considered for my own randomization rituals:

  • Go out to lunch at a restaurant alone and bring nothing else — No cell phones, no dedicated Twitter devices, no people, no books, no reports, no nothing. Nada. Nunca.  EXCEPT a pad and pen. I eat slowly and observe.  People watch.  Listen carefully to the environment.  And I jot down random observations, thoughts, axioms etc.  I try to avoid at all costs task lists, reminders, to-do’s, etc.  This is a time of reflection & brainstorming.  And oh yeah, don’t order anything you’ve ordered before on that menu.
  • Go the library and walk into the non-fiction stacks and start perusing books in a category I have no experience with.  Perhaps it is knitting, aerospace, crock-pot cooking, music genres I don’t normally listen to.  You’ll be amazed how curious your mind becomes when you set it in front of volumes of books just waiting to be picked-up and discovered.  It is not about reading books cover to cover, but browsing, investigating, being inspired not about the technical aspects of the category — I’m not so concerned about remembering the 12 different knitting pattern techniques, but rather more about planting seeds in my head about the creative aspects of the genre.
  • Call  and talk to 3 people you have not talked to in 6 months or more.  These conversations are casual, non-intensive, but more importantly, they jog your brain about subjects, themes, interests, and ideas that were alive in me in the past.  Some of those ideas should stay dead and buried of course! but more times than not, these talks ignite old ideas reincarnated to help you with your future.
  • Write a thank you note.  Yup, this is so old school that some of you readers might get offended.  Just to be clear, I am in fact suggesting that you use a physical writing instrument and get a note card out (for some, that means you’ll have to physically go out and buy some at the stationery store, but you have to do it!) to share the blessings you’ve received from someone else’s actions, words, or presence.  The easy way out is to send it to someone you know closely.  Here, I challenge you to write a thank you note to those who are in your sphere of influence, but to people would never in a million years expect something in the mail from you.  If you want to go a step further, write to someone who doesn’t know you personally – like a public figure, a speaker you heard at a conference, or guest speaker at church.  How about the head of a company regarding a recent positive experience with one of their employees?  You would think that writing a thank you note to someone who is technically a stranger is the easiest of the categories, but it’s not.  Your brain actually works harder to think about who to write, what to write and how to say it.  In the end though, this is more for you than for the recipient.  Going through this process reverses so much of the hard-wired processes we use on a daily basis.  It will loosen up that sludge in your brain and get your creativity going.  I promise you.  Plus I have never heard of someone getting offended for receiving a thank you note.  Have you? WARNING: thank you emails, text messages or tweets don’t count!

As you can see, they don’t need to be time intensive or cost intensive at all.  But you can bet that the benefits will be intensive changes to your life as you continue to infuse randomization rituals into your weekly or monthly routines.

What other ideas do you have for randomization rituals? Please share some new ideas with me so I can try them out in my own life! Leave one or two ideas in the comments below.