Do you know what my email signature says?
You have a choice, and if you're feeling adventurous, you'll take the red.
That's how I feel about doing research on the Internet these days. You start off with a vague idea of what you're trying to find, and soon you have fallen into a rabbit hole.
Down down down you go...
Now consider the alternative: You see the rabbit, peek down the hole, but you're too scared to follow. You end up having an average day and wondering, what if.
My what if's are different... What if people don't let themselves fall down the hole? What if they're scared they won't find their way back up? What if they tried to "go back on topic" even though by doing so they will bypass the most wonderful and unexpected discoveries?
Because I have done this and it has never ended in WONDER. Or discovery. Or creativity. Or joy. (Basically, all the things that make this life worthwhile.)
The other day I was doing research for The Creative Rebel Database and I did the exact opposite. I fell and fell and fell until I was inspired and full of new ideas. See, I had stumbled upon - red herring style - a couple of creative rebels on YouTube and they started a chain reaction of creative rebellion in my own projects. Plus they inspired this article!
In the end, I loved my results (all the videos, books, and slam poems), even though they were a giant detour. You have to trust the Internet's synchronicity. (tweet this)
So always fall and consider this new research model for rebels.
Creative Research = falling down the rabbit hole.
Creative Research is flexible: you don't guide it, it guides you.
Creative Research needs you to know what you're looking for, but also needs you to trust that it will take you there in roundabout ways.
Creative Research is in cahoots with the Internet, and they have a wager on how long it will take you to relinquish control. (I joined the wager recently.)
Creative Research has you start from a super generic search, which can't possibly turn up any interesting ideas, and then takes you through a whirlpool of misplaced links, names, and titles which you have to first notice and then follow up on.
Creative Research will always give you answers to your questions. But only if you trust it. (Like that annoying trust fall exercise in every hippie movie.)
What makes creative research even stronger is when you ask the "right" questions and collect the "right" answers. What I mean is that you have to trust your inner rebel when you ask your questions and collect your answers. You must be selective and only choose the answers that resonate with you (and your brand), not just any answer.
Which is why I only trust creative rebels - people who know who they are and make their own rules - because they give the most authentic answers.
Check out the email I got right after writing this article:
Moment of Truth: Are you a Creative Researcher or a Control Freak?
I have found that whenever you relinquish control, magic and miracles happen. (tweet this)
Whether it's in your love life or money life or creative life, it always works that way. And to be honest, I have always believed that you make your bed, you create your life, and while this is empowering and all, it carries the risk of turning people into incorrigible control freaks. And as us freaks know, the more you try to control something, the more it resists. (Especially if you're trying to force some kind of creative epiphany or something.)
And since the Internet has its mysterious ways - we have all experienced them - we can't control our way into experiencing its full potential. Neither can we control ourselves into letting it show its full potential to us. It does it when we're not asking.
When you play on a turf that is not yours, you follow the turf's rules, right?
Normally, I am not big on rules, being a rebel, but this time I have to say that the only way to experience the full potential of Creative Research is to follow ONE rule:
Let it take you wherever it may. Just let it happen. (:
What's your (hole) experience?
Have you noticed how sometimes the Internet can be two things:
A black hole and a rabbit hole.
It becomes a black hole when you purposelessly browse around, killing time. Or when you're worried about a deadline or procrastinating, and guilt is making you fall deeper into it. On the other hand, it can be a rabbit hole, too. The difference is:
While a black hole feels empty and dark, the rabbit hole is fun and exciting!
The rabbit hole is an ADVENTURE!
(To the Thingamajigger!)
Just as Kate (from the email) said, you are going to hop from amazing thing to amazing thing until you are all spent and inspired. And somehow, your answers are going to be there in that giant messy heap. If you don't trust me, trust the Internet.
And remember: If I have to wager everything I've got on something, I'll wager on you. You are priceless.