Innies And Outies (The Two Types Of Inspiration)

I’m an overly curious person. I’m the why-why-why-why-why kid. The one who doesn’t shut up until you tell me to shut it down.

And then after you tell me to shut it down, if I’m not feeling too bad, I’m either off to find a book about what’s still nagging at me, or moved onto the next thing. 

I know not everyone is like this. 

I don’t know how they’re not, because I envy anyone who can keep their attention in one place, but I also know a piece of them wants to be more curious. 

I know this because I hear from people about it a lot. I’ve come to realize it’s a mutual admiration. [insert “respect” Ali G meme here]

They want to know how to be more creative, I want to know how to be less curious. They want to know about creative habits, I want to know about productive habits. The magic is in the overlaps. 

A good habit closes one loop and opens another. 

For people who don’t feel creative, inspired, or know where to start – the answer is in the habits. 

For people who feel too creative, overly inspired (aka their attention is running in an eternal deficit, while their ideas are an overflowing surplus), and don’t know how to find any semblance of a healthy, satisficed sense of satisfaction – the answer is in the habits. 

If you can’t get no _____, it’s a rolling stone. That’s the trick of good habits. Good habits gather no moss. 

Good habits end by triggering an innie or an outie. This is the inception of inspiration. It’s the thing that comes BEFORE curiosity is piqued. 

Good habits end by either calling out something inside you (an innie), or calling in something outside of you (an outie). Did you catch the opposite directions? Go ahead, read the sentence again and think about this. 

Good productive habits get you on a fast track. 

An innie might be the curiosity trigger to knock a few extra items off the list, or stand up and take that walk, or text your wife the nice thing. 

An outie might be the weights in the corner calling you to lift them, a pain that makes you call a doctor, or an alarm going off reminding you to hurry along to the next meeting. 

Good creative habits get you on a fast track too. 

An innie might be the idea you wake up wrestling with, or a feeling something is “off” about somebody else’s take online, or a melody you started humming on the dog walk and now need to record on your phone. 

An outtie might be an inspired quote from a book you want to expand on, a theme from a movie you can use in a presentation, or a hunger pang and a sparse cupboard urging you to improvise a new recipe. 

Good habits make you get after a next step. They get your curiosity focused on noticing, on asking, “What else is here?” Good = not a dead end. 

A good habit, just like a rolling stone, gathers no moss. 

It’s not enough for a habit to be the end of the loop. The best habits open up new ones. The Creator Flywheel just keeps on spinning from there.