Businesses need creative visionaries to guide them in the right direction. So, of course, they jump at the chance to hire innovative thinkers. Creativity is critical to invent groundbreaking products and to solve the obstacles along the way.
“The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.”
Imagine if you had endless brilliant ideas at your disposal. You’d have the power to dominate any industry you chose. It would undoubtedly upgrade every aspect of your life.
Some people think creativity is genetic, and if they didn’t get this valuable trait at birth, then they’re doomed to never be creative.
Luckily, those people were wrong! Anyone can become more creative with the following tips.
Here are 13 proven ways to gain more creativity:
#1 Challenge your creativity
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”—Maya Angelou
Creativity is like a muscle—it needs exercise to get stronger. Basically, you need to challenge your brain by using it in new, unique ways.
Here are some creative ways to challenge yourself:
- Write every idea you can think of in 10 minutes.
- Think up 5-10 different directions you could take on a project.
- Reverse your perspective or put yourself in other’s shoes.
- Create something new every day for a week.
- Listen to music while brainstorming.
- Do an activity you loved doing as a child.
- Write down all the annoyances or issues in your life. Then think of 5 solutions to each problem.
- Take some of your ideas and combine them.
- Observe someone being creative.
#2 Let your mind wander
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”—Dieter F. Uchtdorf
You might think that if you push yourself hard enough, you’ll generate a ton of life-changing ideas. But creativity doesn’t work like that.
You can’t whip your brain into submission, so it produces magnificent ideas on command. Creativity can be quite elusive if you don’t know how to capture it. It’s also easily spooked or distracted. So, don’t try to force it.
In fact, research shows that you’ll get more profound ideas during times of relaxation. That’s because your mind needs “incubation time” to form new ideas. Archimedes discovered the law of buoyancy by taking a bath. Einstein created his theories while daydreaming.
Take some time to let your mind run free. For instance, draw, sing, paint, or lounge on the couch and escape into your thoughts.
#3 Become more open-minded
Open-mindedness is linked to creativity and intelligence. So, if you’re stubborn regarding new ideas, you should try listening to different perspectives. You don’t have to believe them but give them a chance. Thinking in unique ways expands your ability to “think outside of the box.”
#4 Escape from your comfort zone
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So, do it.”—Kurt Vonnegut
Similarly, you can spark innovative thinking by leaving your comfort zone. Your comfort zone isn’t a place, but instead, it’s the habits and routines you perform daily. These actions are low-stress and unproductive. Furthermore, they’re comfortable and relaxing, so people choose to stay in their comfort zone rather than feeling the awkwardness of doing something new.
This happens because the subconscious mind likes to keep you doing the same behaviors every day and never taking risks. Thus, it traps you in “safety,” and that guarantees you’ll never do anything life-changing. Consequently, you’ll need to make an escape plan!
So, every day challenge yourself to do something that scares you. After you repeatedly do them, the fear will vanish.
But, be aware that your mind will try to distract you by steering you in other directions. Essentially, derailing your goals. But, you’ll need to break through its deception and do what’s necessary to succeed anyway.
#5 Question everything
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. “—Albert Einstein
People tend to root themselves firmly in their old ways. As a result, they remain trapped and unable to make progress. Everyone’s different; therefore, customize what works best for you.
Take the time to examine your life closer. Ask yourself what areas of your life are frustrating and time-consuming? How can you revamp your processes to be more efficient?
Ask yourself more questions, for instance:
- Am I using the most effective steps to do this?
- How can I make this better?
- What if __?
- Is this the truth? Does it sound logical and based on reality?
- What would I do if I had to finish this in half the time?
#6 Embrace solitude
“He who would be a man must, therefore, be a nonconformist.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Constant distractions kill the creative process. Not to mention, it drains your precious energy!
Instead, work alone in complete silence. Turn off your phone and put on some noise-canceling headphones. Then hone all your focus on your project, and don’t rush yourself. Solitude breeds creativity, so use it to your advantage!
#7 Don’t judge your creative process
“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”—Pablo Picasso
Pursuing a new goal can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you! Have the fearless determination to keep going despite any fear. Then you can make some extraordinary things happen. Work when you’re carefree and relaxed. There might be a ton to learn, but remember, you don’t need to understand everything before you start. Take your time and learn as you go.
If you’re still resisting your project, trick yourself into starting it. How do you do that? Tell yourself you’ll only work on it for 2 minutes. You’ll have no problem doing that. Then before you know it, you’ve fooled yourself into doing the hardest part—starting!
#9 Embrace failure
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”—Mary Lou Cook
Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. Besides, failing is how we learn best! Think of your mistakes as the steps to success.
When you judge your work harshly, you also slam the brakes on any visionary thinking. It would be as if your boss was continually watching you work and pointing out every flaw you make as you work. But, creativity doesn’t follow rules and it can’t work under intense observations and critiques.
So, unleash your mind to run free and edit later.
First, aim to focus on completing your project before you start refining it. Editing kills creativity.
Also, don’t put ultra-high expectations on yourself. That’ll stress you out and cause procrastination. You’re not going to be a pro the first time you do something. So, don’t be hard on yourself.
You’ll need to repeatedly try, mess up, and then fix what didn’t work. Expect to make mistakes, don’t fear them. Pressuring yourself to be perfect will only stifle your creativity.
#10 Get in a good mood
A creative brain is calm and happy. Therefore, being in an upbeat mood increases your creativity. On the other hand, if you let negative thoughts take over, you’ll be at a loss for any original ideas.
So, you should throw out these negative thoughts first. You can meditate, work out, or do some yoga to clear your mind. Then, you’ll find that working on your project is much smoother.
“Don’t think; just write!” —Ray Bradbury
Try “freewriting,” a creativity-boosting method of brainstorming by writing non-stop. This skyrockets the number of ideas you’ll generate. No editing, no thinking, only writing everything that comes to mind. You might stumble upon several innovative concepts!
Once you have a relaxed, happy mind, then brainstorm for ideas. Write down any problems you need to fix and then several solutions to them. See how many things you can come up in 5 minutes.
Next, look at your paper and cross out the ideas that won’t work. Refine them until you find the best one.
#12 Talk to creative people
Having an innovative friend to share thoughts with can be a game-changer. If you’ve been trying to solve an issue, they might show you the answer from a new perspective. Potentially saving you a ton of money and time.
Not to mention, they’ll offer encouragement and keep you accountable for your progress.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.”—Vincent van Gogh
So, practice and always push yourself to try new things.
In short, everyone, at any time, can be more creative with some practice. But, don’t worry about the outcome of your project as you’re working on it. Instead, shut down your inner critic and let your creativity flow.
What do you do to boost your creativity?