How to be more Creative

How to be more Creative

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We’ve all heard, carry a notebook with you at all times and write your ideas down.  Keep a notebook by your night stand for when you have ideas in the middle of the night.  While it gives you a place to write down your ideas at the very moment, I’m not sure simply having a notebook handy stimulates creativity.  Writing down our ideas, thoughts, etc., is just the beginning.  There is so much more.  There are things you can do, to stimulate your ideas and become more creative. 

Creativity, like any other skill, I believe can be taught and improved.  We simply need to practice certain behaviors. 

 

“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones…”

–          John Maynard Keynes

The saddest part of all is in how many parts of our daily lives, creativity is discouraged, hindered and stifled.  How many times have you said or heard, “that’s not how we do things here.”  How many times have you said and our children heard, “stay between the lines.”  Do you encourage creativity or are you a creativity killer?  Are you ever in an environment that encourages rule bending and free thought?  Do you encourage rule bending and free thought with family, children, friends, co-workers, etc?  For those of you that want to be more creative, read on.

 

Be a child

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Ask why and have a willingness to question any and all assumptions.  Always believe there is another way.  

Think back to when you were a child or better still, watch the children around you.  Watch how they explore, how they try different things, how they experiment, how they look at things, how they hold things, how they taste and smell things.  The very excitement in exploring and learning.  Recapture that youthful excitement.  Turn off the auto-pilot and each day do something different from the norm and be a child.

 

Cross-Pollinate Ideas

Cross Pollinate

Connecting and combining non-obvious ideas, notions and objects is a key part of the creative thinking process.  Numerous studies have shown the ability to reorganize and rearrange the things we know leads to creativity and new ideas.

A good way to start cross-pollinating ideas is to build on existing ideas.  Think about when artists, musicians, actors, writers, business leaders are asked about their inspiration for a certain piece, part or project.  They undoubtedly point to where they got their inspiration, another actor, musician, company.

 

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

–          Pablo Picasso

 

“The key to creativity is to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then to bring those things into what you are doing.  What made the original Macintosh computer great is that the people working on it were musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”

–          Steve Jobs

 

Persistence – Use your Failures / Mistakes

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We’ve all heard how Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times when trying to invent the light bulb.  Have you ever said or heard, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”  We sadly have this fear, disdain and contempt for failure and mistakes.  Yet, there is no better way to learn.  What have you learned from your mistakes?  Are you creating an environment where failure is OK?  The key here is to be persistent, continue forward and learn.

Not sure where I originally saw this, “Fear of Failure Narrows Vision.”  Something we should keep in mind and tell ourselves every day.

 

Visualization

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The Power and Practice of Visualization.  Being able to see how you can make your idea, dream, concept happen.  Visualization should use all the senses – What do you see?  What do you feel?  What do you hear?  What does it smell like? 

To practice visualization, (1) imagine yourself at the end; the project, presentation, blog, etc., has been completed successfully.   (2) Study patterns; the environment, my thoughts, my behaviors, my skills, my reactions, my learnings, etc. 

 

Eat more Chocolate

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Anecdotally, chocolate has been often linked to mood enhancement.  New research has scientifically demonstrated the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.  The polyphenols in chocolate can make a person feel more calm and content, which leads to creativity.

Follow along closely, cocoa supplies your brain with polyphenols, polyphenols relieve anxiety (anxiety inhibits idea-flow), mood-elevating chocolate can lead to creativity helping you generate ideas.  Now you have an even better reason to eat more chocolate … makes you more creative.

 

There you have it, my 5 Ways to be More Creative:

  • Be a Child
  • Cross-Pollinate Ideas
  • Persistence – Use your Failures / Mistakes
  • Visualization
  • Eat More Chocolate

 

Think about the creative people you know, why are they creative?  Do they do any of the 5 things listed above?  Are there any other actions, behaviors, traits that should be added?  Please share your thoughts with us.

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