Break from Your Internet News Feed for Greater Creativity

I listen to a lot of Disney Park atmosphere recordings on YouTube. It’s how I keep my stress level lower and improve my concentration while remaining relatively positive. The thing is, I just started doing this a couple of months ago with the implementation of self-isolation protocols. I watch How-to-Dad sometimes, and I’ve started Mousercising. I also watch Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert; however, when they went on vacation, my YouTube feed was taken over by Disney songs of all sorts. There are Disney Sing-Alongs, Disney Classic: A Magical Night, Disney mixes made by random people and a YouTube station that looks like it has radio call letters. All of this would be great if my only interest was Disney songs and their related videos. If it weren’t for a recent Mr. Rogers article, I wouldn’t find anything beyond what I’ve searched for in the past.

Creativity at the Intersection

Because creativity happens at the intersection of subjects, these search results stifle it. There is no intersection when everything is basically the same. If YouTube threw in an aeronautics video or something on the origins of oatmeal, or anything that wasn’t related to what I searched for, then it could be a conduit for greater creativity. Instead, it looks to give me what I’m searching for, even when I don’t know what I should be searching for. YouTube isn’t the only search engine that does this. In fact, all search engines give you lists of the things you’re looking for. That’s what they are designed to do, but that design eliminates the possibilities of creativity. No one knows what will spark a breakthrough idea; we do know that a lot of the same input won’t do it though.

Use a Dictionary or Encyclopedia

There are some things you can do, starting with getting off the Internet and getting into real life. Using a dictionary (affiliate link), one made of paper with pages to turn, to look up words will allow you to make some connections across unrelated subjects. The same is true of an encyclopedia (affiliate link). Getting out into the world and leaving your screens (including your phone) at home will help you increase your attention. Rather than having a ding interrupt you when you’re thinking a new thought, you’ll be able to explore the thought more. The more you explore, the more likely you are to have new ideas.

Search for Something New

If you can’t get off the Internet, search for something new. No one can tell you what that new thing is. For some it may be the breeding cycle of snails. For others, it may be the position of the planets in relation to the nearest star. For still others, it may mean looking up myths and fables. The more you look for new things, especially on a platform like YouTube, the more you’re likely to find connections.

Go Incognito

Another help may be to go incognito. While you will still get a list of relatively same links, they will not be influenced by your personal browser history. These aren’t perfect solutions, but they are a start to getting you to your next Aha! moment and helping you live a fuller life.

For More Creativity

If you’re still not convinced that the Internet kills creativity, read Cathy Cooke’s post. For more on creativity, subscribe to this page and join our Patreon, where we will be releasing our series “So, You Think You Can’t Draw” as a first step to greater creativity. Check out “Disneyland Is Creativity,” “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” and “Penguinate! Positive Creativity.”