Simple Tips to Improve Creativity!
Think back to when you were young. What was your favourite day of the year? Most of you are probably imagining your birthday, right? That special day once a year where you got extra attention, plenty of cake and ice cream, and of course, every kid’s favourite: presents!
What child doesn’t love presents? But as you may recall, there’s something funny about kids and gifts. No matter if it’s a brand-new bike or the latest, greatest toy, most of us eventually found ourselves putting down the gift itself in favour of playing with the giant cardboard box it came in.
This box was our castle. Our spaceship. Our fort. And for good reason. During this time in our early childhood, we were all thinking “Expansively.” Our little minds knew no constraints, and so through the power of Divergent Thinking, a simple box could be anything our hearts desired.
But then one day along came school. Soon enough, we had teachers telling us that our favourite spaceship is “just a box,” and in that split second all of our creativity and imagination started to crumble. This would go on to be compounded by traditional education and employment, where we were taught to think “Reductively” (Convergent Thinking) instead of Expansively. Meaning that the endless leaps and bounds of our imaginations were reeled in and confined.
This is why so many people believe they are not creative. Because instead of thinking Expansively and believing anything is possible, they were taught to think Reductively and to believe that “Creativity” was a special skill set limited to the ability to play music, paint or act.
Personally, I have a much broader view of Creativity. We are all Creative. We all played with the box once upon a time and turned it into a vehicle that sailed the seas or reached the stars. But we have been told we’re not creative so many times that we’ve simply given up, and now leave creativity to the “Creatives”.
I define creativity as the ability to have an idea and Innovation as the ability to get it done. But like every other muscle, your creative brain (the right side) needs regular exercise. Thankfully, I have a 5 simple tips to improve creativity you can try to exercise the creative part of your mind..
5 Simple Tips to Improve Creativity:
Go for a Walk
Both Walt Disney and Steve Jobs could always be found walking the campuses of Disney Studios, Pixar and Apple. Indeed, they would tell you it was these walks where they got their best ideas. So, find time each day to get out from behind your desk and get some creative inspiration while out on a stroll!
Have you ever gotten home from your commute only to wonder how you got there? Believe it or not, your brain shuts down on the way home because there is never any fresh stimulus. It’s the same car, the same route, the same sights and the same sounds.
I’m a great believer that “no new stimulus in” equals “no new ideas out”. Try commuting a different way to work once a month and see what you notice that wasn’t there before. Listen to a different radio station once a week. Even small changes can have a profound effect on how your brain functions and these new stimuli could be just the thing you need to kickstart creativity.
Einstein famously once said, “I am not particularly clever, I am just innately curious.”
As kids, didn’t we ask “why, why and why” again? Asking “why” was how we learned. But then education and corporate training taught us there is only one right answer, and so we stopped looking for the second one.
Creativity and the insight for innovation often come from asking the fourth or fifth why never just the first one. So, condition yourself to keep asking why, and you’ll find new creative ideas become magically unlocked.
We all know our daily calendars look like the bar code on the side of a cereal box. We also know that time is generally considered to be the biggest barrier to innovation, yet we continue to pack our diaries with meeting after meeting, and then complain “I don’t have time to think!”
Scheduling a mindfulness routine can counteract this endless cycle. Try meditating first thing in the morning. Even as little as 5 minutes can help, especially if you are one of those people who get their best ideas falling asleep or waking up.
Did you know that only 13 percent of your brain is conscious, and the other 87 percent is subconscious? We only use 13 percent on any given day because when we’re stressed at work, the reticular activation system (think of it as a door inside your mind) between our conscious and subconscious brain is firmly closed.
Yet the moment we play and laugh, that door opens, giving us access to both sides of our brain. It’s these moments where creative solutions to problems can really shine through, so take advantage and work in times during the day where you can let your brain “play”!
With these quick, easy exercises, you’ll be able to greatly enhance your ability to function creatively on a daily basis and reactivate that Expansive thinking from your childhood. And with enough practice, not only will you be an unstoppable force of creativity and innovation, but you’ll find yourself turning every box you see back into a spaceship!