Sometimes, even small things can make a big difference in your creativity. What works for you will be different from what works for other people. It’s important to try out a lot of different things to see what best ignites your creative spark. For me, few things have a greater impact on my creativity than music. I’m just starting to tap into how even something as simple as sharing playlists improves my creativity.
Sharing is caring
Yes, there’s value in creating your own playlists. I love to create my own playlists! But as I’ve discussed in my recent posts on interdependence, going it alone can only take you so far. The real power lies not only in bringing what you have to the table, but also in accepting what other people bring to the table.
How sharing playlists improves creativity
This helps us start to scratch the surface as to how sharing playlists improves creativity, but let’s take a look at some of the reasons beyond that.
There is creative power in music.
Music has long been recognized as a tool for improving cognition and enhancing learning and memory, but it has creative power, too. One research study found that participants who listened to happy music had an increase in divergent thinking, which is linked to creativity. Additionally, the music impacted both the quantity and creative quality of the group’s ideas.
Music sets (or resets) the mood.
A soundtrack can make or break a movie, because perhaps more than anything else, the soundtrack contributes to the mood of a film. Music can have a similar impact as the soundtrack of your life, setting or resetting the mood as needed.
The right song can turn a sad moment into a happy one, a discouraging time into an empowering time, or a “stuck” moment into an epiphany. Each of these things, and more, has happened to me personally.
If you need to change the mood, reignite excitement over a project, get into a particular mindset, or just get unstuck, music can be the perfect way to do it. And if you don’t have a playlist that does what you need it to do, someone else does.
Someone else’s playlist gets your mind thinking in a different way.
Your playlists are probably composed of songs you know and love. They’re familiar, dependable, and comforting. When you throw a new song (or a whole new playlist) into the mix, your brain perks up. You pay attention. “What can I get from this new thing?” you wonder.
Along these same lines, I’ve had the experience where a song I’m familiar with starts playing on a playlist I never would have put it on (a slow ballad on a playlist of energizing songs, for example). This always gets me thinking. “Why does that person think that song belongs on this playlist? What do they see in that song that I don’t see?” It forces me to think creatively, see things from a different angle, and search for an unexpected solution.
Listening to new music helps you practice trying new things.
Creativity is all about trying new things—solving new problems, finding new solutions to old problems, etc. But getting out of your comfort zone isn’t exactly…comfortable. For that reason, it can be beneficial to try new things simply for the sake of trying new things. The more practice you have getting out of your comfort zone and exploring unfamiliar territory, the more willing you’ll be to do that in your creative work.
I’ll be honest—there are times when I listen to someone else’s playlist and am, shall we say, not impressed. All I want is to go back to my own familiar music and the familiar thoughts and emotions it inspires. But that isn’t going to expose me to new things, and it’s not going to improve my creativity in the same way.
Sharing playlists encourages collaboration.
Since I’ve discovered how sharing playlists improves creativity, I’ve started deliberately seeking out ways to share playlists more often. My daughter, for example, recently shared a playlist with me, and I can honestly say I probably never would have heard a single one of those songs if I hadn’t been open to the idea. Thanks Hannah!
Additionally, a colleague and I are co-collaborators on a couple playlists, and that has added a very interesting dynamic to my listening habits. It is fascinating to see what she adds to our playlists and it’s fun to be on the lookout for songs that I think are a good fit. It’s a whole new way of collaborating that adds a new layer to the creative projects we do together.
Here’s a recent playlist I’ve been adding to when I’m ready to get into the groove for a fun evening… let me know what you think I should add!
Taste in music is personal. You have your music and I have mine. It’s easy to get stuck in your own genres and with your own songs and playlists on repeat. But when you open yourself up to the idea, you’ll see how sharing playlists improves creativity—helping you think in different ways, set the right mood for your current creative work, and expand your creative (and musical) horizons.
Live a more creative life.
Your most creative self is waiting to be discovered. Start today by taking our free assessment!