Push Yourself Physically, and the Ideas Will Come

How exercise and the outdoors unlock creativity

In 2005, I left R/GA and joined CP+B. The experience changed my life. 

I got to work with some of the most creative minds in the business and create game-changing digital campaigns and products for big brands like Burger King, Domino's, Best Buy, American Express and Vail Resorts, to name a few. While there, my creative confidence soared, and it wasn't just a result of being surrounded by gifted people. It was about lifestyle habits that I still maintain today. 
 
One of the perks of working at CP+B was the gym, and the fact that they actually encouraged you to use it. While not that novel these days, you didn't see much of this in corporate culture back then. For the last 12 years, I've made daily lunchtime workouts a ritual. 

A lot of people prefer to work out in the morning or evening. For me, it's important to break up the day. High-intensity exercise clears out my mental clutter and helps me solve problems better. Scott Prindle, our head of technology at the time, and I used to hold running meetings at the Boulder Reservoir. They were some of the most fun, productive and thoughtful sessions we had. 

Thankfully, Deutsch also prioritizes and encourages health and wellness. Make time for it every day. You'll not only be happier, you'll have more energy and be more creative. 
 
Beyond exercise, I also found that scaring myself in the mountains can help with focus, creativity and overall well-being. Growing up in the East Coast, I learned to ski in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I played ice hockey and lacrosse in school, but was also passionate about skiing. After college, I moved to New York to pursue a music career. I put the skis away. It wasn't until I moved to Boulder in 2006 that I rediscovered my love affair with the sport. 

My friend and colleague, John Winsor, introduced me to backcountry skiing by way of Rocky Mountain National Park. I was immediately hooked. What I loved about it most was that it required you to be 100 percent in the moment. When you're skiing a no-fall zone or climbing a 55-degree couloir, there's no room for distraction. All you can focus on is your breath, staying calm, and what's in front of you—basically, not falling or freaking out. It's meditation with consequences. It wipes the slate clean and gives you perspective by forcing you to quiet your mind, breathe and simplify your thinking.
 
My business partner, Pete Favat, is a big advocate of "stuffing your face with culture." I agree. Live it up on the Internet, go to museums, watch films, travel to interesting places, read, see theater and comedy, and listen to music. But I also encourage you to get into nature, challenge yourself physically, and put a little bit of fear into the equation. It will bring you peace and clarity, and unlock creativity. 

If that's too much for you, get outside and take a walk. It worked for Darwin, Dickens and Beethoven. Big ideas arrive through experience. Not by staring at a wall.

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Winston Binch
Winston Binch is chief digital officer of Deutsch North America.