Staying in the comfort zone is … well, comfortable. You do something that you have done many times before, and you do it better. You are comfortable, you have the confidence, and you do it well. Why would anyone try anything new?

You try something new because you have to. When your current strategy, current practice does not work, you land up in a crisis. You have to change your strategy and try something new. Your desire for novelty is driven by the crisis created by the changed world. And the world is always changing. Doing the old thing more efficiently works in a steady, stable, unchanging world – one that does not exist. The changing world makes powerful creatures like dinosaurs extinct.

You do not have to seek novelty only in the time of crisis. You can do something for the first time “Just Like That”, or without any external reason. Doing something new is immensely pleasurable. Why do you think people visit new countries, have new experiences and learn new skills? The core reason for that is novelty feels good.

H-Creativity and P-Creativity

Whenever someone thinks of doing something new, they raise a hypothetical question, “Is this really new?” Has X done it before? Has Y done it before? Has anyone in the world done it before?

Margaret Boden, the great philosopher of creativity differentiated between two aspects of creativity, one where the act of creativity has never happened before for the world – imagine the first time an artificial flight was designed, the other being the act of creativity that is new for the person experiencing the act of creativity – imagine visiting a new place. The first one is called H-creativity, or historical creativity. The second one is known as P-creativity, or psychological creativity.

While H-creativity is cool, you are inventing something for the first time in the world, it is something that is a destination – sometimes a false destination as Newton and Leibniz discovered while they thought they conceptualized calculus for the first time. It is P-creativity that is more important from an individual well being perspective. And if I may speculate, most H-creativity is born from people who practice P-creativity on a regular basis. These people make seeking novelty a regular habit. They seek to find new ways of doing the same thing, just like that. They do not need any reason, any crisis to come out with new stuff. They just do it because they love to do it.

With the world changing so rapidly because of new technology, with world becoming boundaryless, and creative tools becoming cheaper every day, it would be illogical not to get into the habit of creating new stuff every day, or learning new things every day. They could be in the same field you are in, or they may be absolutely new skills in areas that you have never ventured into before. What matters is to experiment with doing these things for the first time, from a psychological perspective.

So let me ask you:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?