Creativity is a powerful tool no matter what your profession, and it’s one you should actively cultivate. If your first response is that you don’t need to be more creative because you’re not an artist or a writer, think again. Creativity will help you solve problems better – that whole clichéd “think outside the box” thing really refers to being creative. Creativity will also help you invent original business ideas, ideas which might just make you millions.
So how do you do it? If you define yourself as a uncreative person, that’s your first step: Stop that! Just because your 7th grade art teacher thought the cat you drew was a tortoise doesn’t mean you aren’t creative in other ways. In fact, it might just be your thought process that’s creative, rather than having specific talent traditional artistic endeavors like singing, painting, or writing.
So let’s focus on the creative thought process. How can you shake up your thinking so you’re looking at the world a different way? To be more creative you’ll want to learn how to connect old and new in a unique way, learn how to think in different ways, and learn how to change the way you look at things.
1. Figure out your creative time of day. This might not be your most productive time of day, but rather the time of day when your thoughts are flowing in a more intuitive, less formulated way. For a lot of people, it’s when they’re relaxed in the shower, while driving, or maybe when they’re out for a walk or run.
2. During those times, be ready to capture your ideas. Sometimes they are very fleeting, and if you aren’t ready to jot them down or record a voice memo, they might be lost forever. Like writing down your dreams, it seems that writing down your glimpses of inspiration encourages your subconscious to produce more for you. So encourage your muse by being ready.
3. And now mix it up. If you usually run in the morning, try running at night. Try showering at night before you go to sleep if you usually do so in the morning. Take a different route to work. Run a different route. Take yourself out of your comfort zone to stir up your creativity. Again, though, be ready to record your thoughts.
4. Now that you’ve shifted your physical habits, shift your mental habits. Do you usually write with classical music? Shift it into high gear with some hip hop. Are you generally a calm, peaceful person? Get angry about something and see how that shakes up your thought processes. Usually angry? Try meditating. Identify your normal mental state and then do something to take yourself out of it to inspire your creativity.
5. Break problems and situations down to their basic elements. I think some people do this more naturally than others, intuitively seeing that the chair is made of wood, nails, and a cushion, where others just see a chair. Breaking situations and physical objects down to their basic elements will help you look at the world in a new way and help you come up with new solutions.
6. Be the quiet one. If you’re in a meeting where everyone is vying for attention, be the one who sits back and observes. What are the underlying concerns and problems? A lot of times the best solutions deal with the undercurrents, not the stated, superficial problems. Piecing together the underlying concerns and creating a solution that masterfully deals with everything will have you looking like a genius.
7. Feel more, think less. We spend a lot of time in our heads, and sometimes taking a step back to feel into a situation and see what our intuition says can help us come up with a new perspective. Does a proposal feel wrong? Does it feel as though you’ll be climbing uphill to go with the particular proposal? Take the time see what you can come up with that feels more natural. In a world filled with busy, taking the time to feel into a situation and see what solutions occur to you can save you oodles of time in the long run.
What do you do to increase your creativity?