Garbage In, Garbage Out

‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ (GIGO) was first used in the computer science/tech world in the early 1960’s. Because computers operate according to logical principles and formulas, the idea was that if you input nonsensical data, you would get out equally nonsensical data.

Whether you’ve heard this phrase toted around or not, it’s a great mantra to have if you’re looking to cultivate creativity.

The same foolishness that comes with trying to get a calculator to give you the right answer if you put in the wrong numbers, or hoping a computer will give you a brilliant solution without first feeding it the proper data and analytic software, is hopelessly repeated in the world of those wishing to be creative, but find themselves unmotivated.

The solution? Input inspiration, creativity and breathable space into your life if you’re looking to output inspiration, creativity and breathable space in your life. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done.

Here are some practical tips for keeping the garbage out:

Turn off your electronics. Set aside distracters from creativity like the phone, tv or computer. Often, we use these as a means to stop thinking rather than start. Try to implement a “no screen” hour or day into your week, and allow yourself time to think and explore the world around you in more depth.

Check in on your mood after certain activities. Take time throughout the day to see how you are feeling. When do you feel most inspired and when are you drained? Do you feel energized and creative after working out or treating yourself to a relaxing cup of coffee in the morning? What activities are creating a garbage output in your life? Once you identify which activities produce your desired output and which ones don’t, you can cut the ones that are dragging you down.

Put ‘good stuff’ in. One of the best remedies for keeping garbage out is to fill your head and time with things that motivate and inspire you instead. You’ll notice you’re more drawn to these types of activities as you pursue them and allow them to fuel your creativity. Visit a museum, zoo, library, art exhibit or concert. Read books, magazines, or blogs that inspire you. Go on a walk, sign up for a class, or grab coffee with a friend.

Once you keep an eye on where the garbage is in your life and work to rid yourself of it, you’ll notice your creativity and inspiration start to flourish!


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