Keeping It Fresh

There’s a valuable thing that inexperienced people bring to the table, that more experienced people are often lacking.

It’s the gift of seeing through beginner’s eyes.

This June will mark the 35th year of my career, and the lesson I’m continually learning is this: The more experienced I become, the more important it is to keep my outlook fresh.

I never want to become that grey, old ad man clutching his double Manhattan, longing for the good old days and grousing about how the business has changed.

If you feel the same, here are some suggestions on how to keep that old guy at bay—even if you like double Manhattans as much as I do.

1. Never Sit Still.

Move. Ride a bike, run, go for walks, cut your own grass, play tennis, play softball, join a volleyball league, lift heavy stuff. Whatever it is that makes you tired and happy, just do it. It fuels your joy, and makes you lots more fun to be around.

2. Learn to See Without Knowing.

Goethe said that “Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.” A great way to practice this is to draw the negative space around something like a chair. Try it. It’ll open your mind, and that’s how it should stay.

3. Always Talk to Strangers.

Ask them questions about what they do, and how they do it. Ask why they feel about things the way they do. Become a good interviewer. Meeting new people and making new friends helps you stay curious, and being curious makes being creative a lot easier.

4. Find New Ways Home.

Lately, I’ve been taking different ways home from the office, and it’s led to exploring different neighborhoods on weekends. Not connecting the dots in the same old ways has led to lots of new experiences, new conversations and new ideas. It started with just breaking a simple routine.

Have you created ways of keeping your perspective fresh? If so, I’d love to hear from you. But please let me know soon—I’m not getting any younger.