Ask an Expert: Alex Egner

Samra Bufkins (Photo by Michael Clements)How can you reinvent yourself for the new year?

Many people see the start of a new year as a chance to reinvent themselves. In his new book Experience Passport: 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizons, Alex Egner, assistant professor of communication design, offers tips for enriching your life. Reflecting on the world and your own actions can help you tune into your life and spark creativity, Egner says. In the book, loosely based on a project created by UNT design faculty, he suggests a variety of exercises.

"The tips in the book are aimed at helping people break out of their routines and experience more in their own lives," Egner says.

He offers these suggestions for spurring creativity in your life in the new year:

Keep an open mind

  • Try new experiences. They give you first-hand knowledge, and reflecting on them allows you to translate them, as appropriate, for your own life.
  • Take creative risks -- the kind that let you take advantage of something you haven't done before.
  • Break out of your routines, or at least question why you have them and if they still have value in your life.

Explore self-discovery

  • Find someone whose cultural tastes are different. Ask about their favorite song and movie. Listen to and watch their selections. Did your perception of that culture shift?
  • Walk or drive a different path to work or school every day for a week. Consider and list the new things you saw.
  • List three of your most strongly held convictions. Choose one and, using a minimum of 500 words, try to persuade yourself to change your mind.

Guide yourself

  • Think about what you can rework. New ideas are sometimes just an old idea transformed.
  • Find activities that allow you to explore a variety of different subjects, such as those based on math, sports, philosophy and other topics.
  • Consider all opportunities. New experiences don't require world travel. You can start with a museum you've never been to in your own town.

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