Last week I took my Mom (at her request, of course) to see one of her favorite artists, Jason Mraz. Since I wasn’t really familiar with his music, I found myself concentrating less on his melodies and more on his stories. There was one song in particular that really captured my attention––“Shine,” inspired by the short film Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames.
In the film, Charles and Ray Eames use the system of exponential powers at a rate of 10 (or the effect of adding or subtracting another zero) to visualize the importance of scale. The film begins with a close-up of a man sleeping on a blanket; the camera zooms out and away from Earth and into the atmosphere exploring the depths of the universe. Eventually, the camera descends back to Earth, proceeds to enter the human body and explores the very DNA that makes us who we are.
After viewing the film, I asked myself how often we look beyond what’s right in front of us. The film isn’t only about the relative size of things in the universe but about changing your perspective, taking a step back from your everyday landscape and finding inspiration through a different lens. We’re all professional multitaskers, often having conversations and sending emails simultaneously. But sometimes, falling into these habits can limit our ability to look at the big picture.
As creatives, changing perspectives is something we need to do. If we continue to approach a problem in the same way, every time, we are only going to get the same results.
Since the Jason Mraz concert, I’ve been making a concerted effort to break old habits, freshen my perspective and subsequently, my work. I’ve found that inspiration comes from unexpected places, no matter how big or small. Here are a few, simple changes I’ve made and recommend, which have helped me expand my horizon:
• Change your commute. Turn off autopilot and see something different on your way to work.
• Disconnect. Put down the cell phone; it’s life’s biggest distraction. Be present and observe your surroundings.
• Mix it up. Stop looking for inspiration in the same places. Pick up the latest issue of Vogue, go to the Whitney, see an independent film or shop around. Our surroundings have so much to offer and more inspiration is waiting to be found.
• Get in touch with Mother Nature. Get out of the artificial cloud and admire the real clouds! Feel a part of something alive and constantly changing.
I didn’t go to the Jason Mraz concert expecting to walk out with a new perspective on life and my career, but somehow it inspired me to rethink my journey. Keep your eyes open, because inspiration might hit you when you least expect it.