What makes someone creative? What is creativity? Many people assume it’s something we once had as a child that most of us have lost, save an eccentric few who’ve managed to land coveted ‘creative’ jobs in adulthood.
Science has shown that, in a lot of ways, we’re all creative, but that creativity takes on many forms. So, what can we do to make use of this cognitive flexibility?
Here are the some of the habits we recommend to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Be passionate
Passion is the emotional fuel that ignites creativity, but it’s just the start of the creative adventure. People who truly want to realise their creative ideas balance the initial excitement with realistic strategy and deliberate actions that take them closer to their end goals. By all means, follow your passion, but make sure you don’t do it blindly – set yourself goals, and follow a path towards them.
2. Let your mind wander
Despite everything you’re told at school and by your parents, creative people know that daydreaming is one of the most important parts of coming up with ideas, and certainly isn’t a waste of time. Letting your mind drift and wander can lead to huge improvements in creative thinking, and can help you relax enough to make that breakthrough you need. One tip you could follow is to take at least 5 minutes every hour to allow yourself to daydream. Sketch, doodle, even go for a walk or a lie down. A writer I used to work with would take 20 minute naps under her desk, wake up, and then write continuously for 3 hours. Try some of these ideas and see how it affects your work!
3. Have some ‘alone time’
When you find yourself constantly surrounded by others, your mind focuses on them and the things happening around you. This is can prevent you from thinking inwards, which is what you need to do to focus and achieve the self-reflection your creative mind needs. Our best ideas don’t tend to come to us when we’re fully engaged in the outside world, so you need to make time for yourself. Take any opportunity you can to reflect, make new connections and find new meaning. Alone time may not always be socially accepted in modern society, but it’s crucial for triggering creativity and tapping into your thoughts and inner world
4. Use your intuition
You may have heard of something called “fast and slow brain” theory, or “thinking fast and slow”. Your intuition is a big part of this system, with the ‘fast brain’ helping you to make new connections to your existing knowledge, helping you generate creative ideas, and the ‘slow brain’ helping you to explore these ideas and work out their uses and applications. It’s pretty hard to give you tips on how to actively use your ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ brain intuition, but a good start would be to absorb as much knowledge as you can about your creative pursuit, and then go with your gut!
5. Be open minded
Having an open attitude towards new experiences will broaden your horizons and expose your mind to new inspiration and avenues for creativity. The desire to learn can have a much more profound impact on the quality of creative work than pure intellect alone, so we should all be striving to learn as much as we can, all the time. If you want to improve your creativity, you should try a new creative outlet, or try to express yourself in a different medium. This can be as simple as taking a different route to and from work, or seeking out a group of people with different interests from your own that you might learn from. Open mindedness will help you in many different ways with your creativity. It means you’re more open to change, innovation, and the ideas of others, as well as suggestions on how to improve your own creative work.
6. Be focused
Although being aware of the present moment without distraction or judgement is a vital skill for anyone who seeks joy and fulfilment in their life, it’s particularly important for anyone who wants to be a more creative thinker. Being mindful like this can benefit you in many ways, such as helping you with concentration during tasks, maintaining your attention span, being empathic and showing compassion, and even improving your understanding and learning. Many of these go hand-in- hand with creativity, so try to be mindful of what you’re doing and whom you’re working with throughout the day.
7. Be sensitive
In addition to mindfulness, a sensitive nature often goes hand- in-hand with creativity. Sensitive people are in tune with their feelings, and the feelings of those around them. They connect the dots between actions, reactions and emotions. Sensitivity can also mean being more aware of your surroundings, and the sensory input the world has on you. Whether it’s sounds, scents, sights, or just something they feel, sensitive people are in touch with their connection to the world.
Don’t be afraid to let out your inner child. Research has shown that mixing work and play Fadults. Over time, this could lead to greater moments of inspiration, increased effort and overall creative growth.
9. Find the silver lining
Things don’t always go your way. In all honesty, things rarely go your way in creative industries, so it’s important to be able to experience loss and defeat in a positive manner. If you think about how much art and creativity has been inspired by struggle and suffering, you’ll realise how much of a catalyst negative emotions can be for producing amazing creative work. The secret is to use our negative experiences for learning, rather than being consumed by them and giving up.
10. Think sideways
No one discovered anything new by thinking in the same way as everyone else. If creative people share one thing with each other, it’s their unwillingness to be held within the boxed confines of conventional or ‘normal’ thinking. By choosing to do things differently, creative thinkers accept the risks of uncertainty and failure, but they also open the door to innovation and discovery. The secret of applying this principle to your daily life is quite simply “don’t be afraid of failure”. You will fail hundreds, if not thousands of times before you hit the right answer or discover something new. Trial and error are the mother and father of invention, so don’t be afraid to use them to give birth to your ideas – no matter how messy it gets!
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