Two simple ways to increase your creativity – vary what you learn and learn in various places

In-house lawyers do most of their reading, listening, and giving advice – their primary ways of learning – within a relatively narrow cone of their practice areas. Further, while seated at their desk they do most of this. Time and facilities don’t permit otherwise, they would remonstrate. That rigidity takes a toll on creativity.

John Brockman, Ed., This Will Make You Smarter (Harper Collins 2012) at 101, presents research that shows we can learn more effectively through situational change. Periodically, read something from a field that is new to you and, here’s the odd part, read it in a different place. So, find out about Renaissance tapestries at a table in the cafeteria; delve into the international notation for opera singers in a conference room; learn something about Mongolian yurts in the reception area. That is, to fertilize your mind and store creative building blocks, we should “invest a few hours a week in reading research that ostensibly has nothing to do with our day jobs, in a setting that has nothing in common with our regular workplace.”

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