About the Dark Side of Life Hacks

© Omid Scheybani

© Omid Scheybani

What if I told you that the Silicon Valley productivity hack culture (no netflix, no games, ...) is not that efficient at all as many claim it to be. Instead, being able to unplug yourself, being able to anti-hack yourself is what is key for artistic creation, for excellence, for innovation and for quality work that stands out. Life hacks are great and may be inspiring, but are there any good life hacks to increase your creativity, to make your work feel unique for others?

Most probably this is the wrong question to ask. Life hackers always have in mind to increase their productivity, lean their processes, and push themselves to become more efficient in what they do. Now, what if creativity actually requires you to do the complete opposite. What if creative work can only be done if you dare to be inefficient, if you take the risk to be unproductive, if you are patient and wait for a better thought?

Indeed, creativity needs an emptiness before being able to fill it again. A kind of wash-out, cleaning, and inner balance for creativity and waste. A creative moment is nothing you can hack or enforce or squeeze or dense or adjust, it's just there. You have got to embrace it or you loose it.

Do we need structure at all?

 © Omid Scheybani

 © Omid Scheybani

Of course, you need some structure, something to write down your ideas, a place to note your history of memories, but creative minds always search for topics, titles, texts, thoughts, tragedies until they get to a point where they need to let it out. The idea won. It took itself too seriously, and it needed to spread itself.

Creative minds, indeed, manage to distance themselves from their ideas and let the ideas evolve themselves. They are able to control the overall idea creating process, but the details appear just to happen. And if creativity is missing, they may feel anger, distress or anxiety. It's a reaction to their quality expectation that is not met. Creative minds take the risk to wait until a better idea comes to their mind.

Some time ago, when I first learned about the Silicon Valley hack culture, I started to not unplug myself for some time and I begun to feel miserable. Actually it was a friend's comment. I was like: How do you manage all that? He said: no tv, no netflix, no games... I said to myself, well I can do that. Let's kick out all of that fun and joy and pleasure and arousal and kick another round on my laptop, my phone, my tablet, my office desk, ...

Well. I felt miserable after 4 weeks. I got more done. I enjoyed it less and the quality suffered. I felt less productive over all. I learned from this time that creativity comes and goes as it likes. There is no structured way of being creative, it's a loose thing.

What can we do to become more creative?

 © Omid Scheybani

 © Omid Scheybani

One of the best advices that I can give that worked for me to become more creative is to unplug myself with something really stupid I love doing. And I don't mean going to the gym. I mean doing something I wouldn't put proudly on facebook. Like playing a shitty video game I love. Waste myself with a bottle of wine and watch how i met your mother binge for the third time. Go and watch with my wife Germany's next Top Model and have a laugh.

I mean seriously we all should do stupid stuff that we love. Nobody wants to admit it, post it in social media or else, but we should actually embrace this habit. It's the moment where we don't take ourselves too seriously. Being ridicolous for some time helps cleaning all this self-esteem that is often in our way to creativity. 

Being creative is more an attitude than a skill. You may need to be patient, waiting for a good thought, take risks in getting inspired by others and most importantly you may need to unplug yourself one time or the other. Hacking your way to creativity makes it only longer and less fun.

I am deeply convinced that everyone is creative, be it painting, writing, photography, interior design, or fashion. We create every day. It's in our nature, but to exploit this creativity, we need to unplug ourselves for some time. So forget all these hacks, lean back, relax and let the creativity come to you. 

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