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Wash the Dishes

There's something magical about monotony. Whenever I have a problem I am trying to solve or a rough decision I need to make, I wash the dishes. At some point in between putting more soap on my sponge and dumping out day-old whole milk from our 2 year old, I tend to get a revelation. It doesn't happen every time, but when it does it feels like magic. Seems a little suspicious, don't you think?

The great thing about being a creative person is we have the ability to place constraints on ourselves. We understand the importance of parameters in the creation process, but I wonder if we could also apply the constraint of repetition and monotony to our understanding of creativity.

I love this quote by G.K. Chesterton:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

It's crazy to think about creating in terms of repetition, but it's so true. If we can create a framework of repetition in order to structure our creativity, we can deliver transformative work. There are lots of ideas in this thought, but the one I really love is that even though each daisy is created through monotony, it doesn't result in sameness.

We all need to figure out what makes us unique—how our lives and experiences have shaped the work we make is so important in defining our personal values and determining our future.

The main reason I always talk about defining our values is so that we can align values with people around us, for longevity in our relationships. If you want to know more about creating and capturing more value, sign up for Pricing Your Life's Work.

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