Creativity Is A Muscle
I own a lot of books. Unfortunately, I am not a very avid reader. The trouble is, reading puts me to sleep, so I buy a lot of books with good intentions but it takes me a while to get through them. When I can, I buy audiobooks because, as it turns out, I’m much better at listening than I am at reading.
All that said, I’ve finally got around to reading/listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink. It’s an amazing book and I can’t recommend it enough, and in listening to it I came across an idea that has been kicking around in my head for quite some time.
In the book, Gladwell tells the story of two women who do nothing but taste test food for a living, and they’ve become so good at it that they can taste a bit of cookie and tell you what factory that cookie came from! It’s pretty unbelievable.
They can do this, not because they’re freaks of nature, although I’m sure that they have some sort of natural gift to do what they do, but they can do it because over the years they’ve trained their minds and their tongues to look for things in food that you and I would never consider looking for. Why would we? But for these ladies, this is their job.
As it turns out, there’s a whole vocabulary of terms and categories that have been developed to describe the foods they’re tasting. For instance, when they’re taste testing mayonnaise they grade it across 6 dimensions of color, 10 dimensions of texture, and 14 dimensions of flavor. And each of those 30 different dimensions are evaluated on a 15-point scale.
When you and I taste mayonnaise we may rate it across only a couple of unconscious categories because we haven’t trained our minds to look for these things. But, with some training and practice, I’m sure we could begin to rapidly improve our ability to taste.
Creativity works the same way.
I can do what I do at Church on the Move not because I’m some super-creative dude, although I have no doubt that to some degree I’m naturally gifted to do what I do, but I believe that I can see and hear things in our services that most people don’t see or hear primarily because I’ve trained my mind to do it over the last 15 years.
Your mind is a muscle and you can train it.
That’s why simply making time to be creative is SO IMPORTANT! You’re giving your mind a workout and the more you work it out with creative thought, the more creative you will become.
You can do this by brainstorming with friends, but brainstorming by itself isn’t enough - you also need to start evaluating your services regularly. And don’t just be general in your evaluations, look at the nitty gritty details.
When most people take in a service at Church on the Move, they don’t see what I see. The average person may lump a service into one of three categories: Great, Average and Bad. But, I see so much more than they do because I’ve trained myself to look for things that most people don’t see.
When we evaluate a service we look at every single detail, from the tone of voice that each presenter on stage used, to each camera shot and everything in between. We look at all of it in great detail because the details matter! The difference between good and great isn’t 50%, it’s 5%, so we put a lot of effort into that last 5% and we’ve found that it’s worth it.
A famous architect once said “God is in the details” and I believe that wholeheartedly. The more you look at the details, the more your mind becomes adept at taking them all in and processing them, and the more your mind processes them, the faster it becomes, thus making you better at what you do.