Anyone can be creative. Here is how!
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What do you think of when you hear about creativity? Do you think of a painter painting a portrait or someone writing a song? Maybe you feel like it is something that is far from what is possible for you. You might be surprised, but what if I told you that you can be just as creative as any artist that is out there.
Creativity doesn’t just apply to the fine arts, but it can be as simple as building a website or creating content for your blog. Now, I know what you are thinking: Chris, even when I want to be creative, it does not turn out very good. I can’t tell you how much I hear that even outside of work! Creativity isn’t some magical gift that people are given at birth. Now, some people might seem to catch onto it much faster than others, but is more of a skill that has to be learned. It takes a lot of work, but is possible if you want to put in the effort. So, let’s get into how you can be creative in whatever it is that you do.
Simply do nothing
No, you did not misread that. One of the keys to any creativity to come is to do nothing. We live in a day and age that moves so fast and is always putting stuff in front us. Social media is a great example of this. We have hundreds of hours of entertainment right in our pockets. As great as that is, it is a creativity killer! People spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone. Now, some of that time is essential and useful, but think of the time that is wasted chilling on YouTube or Instagram for no reason.
A study done by the University of Central Lancashire illustrated the power of boredom. They started by putting together two groups. With the first group, they were asked to copy numbers out of the phone book. Sounds fun, right? The second group was not given the task of copying numbers, but was instead asked to generate as many uses as they could for a pair of plastic cups. After some time, the first group was then given the task from group two. The study showed that those that were intentionally led to boredom through the phone book task had generated significantly more uses for the pair of plastic cups compared to group two.
Now, you might not have to copy numbers out of a phone book, but find time to just do nothing. You would be surprised with all the ideas that will come to mind when your brain is left to think.
The Idea Book
Yes, you read it correctly. Keeping a book where you can write down ideas and draw up things that you are thinking of is huge when it comes to thinking of new and creative ideas. If you have ever had moments when you are going to bed or a getting ready for the day where you have had good ideas, then you know that it hard to remember them when they do come up.
Our brains are not built to come up with creative ideas on demand when we want them. Take advantage of those moments where you are thinking of good ideas and write them down. If paper freaks you out, it is okay. Keep a note on your phone with some of those brilliant ideas.
Explore the Unknown
When you want to be creative, you can block new ideas if you are simply sticking to the same routine. Change things up and investigate new areas that you have not thought of before. If you are designing a website, maybe look into fashion magazine layouts from the 1960’s. Sounds pretty crazy right? Well, you will never know what you will find unless you try. There is so much to discover if you will simply do a little more searching. So go ahead, turn on that one song from Frozen 2 and dive into the unknown!
Sometimes our ideas might feel like a tangled mess inside our brain. A mind map will help you see some of those ideas and get rid of some of the bad ones. In order to create a mind map, start out by drawing a small circle at the center of the page and write what you are trying to accomplish inside of that circle. After that, you can start drawing lines to ideas to connect to each other until you have a spider web of ideas.
A lot of people tell me that they don’t see the point of this and that it is a waste of time. If you take the time to make one, you will see that having all your ideas on paper will help you solve the problem that you are looking to do. There are a lot of great benefits to this, but make sure to make it your own!
Setting the Stage
Creativity will only come when it is summoned. It sounds super weird, but those great ideas will not come if you are browsing your news feed. Location is so important when it comes to this. What is a place that you feel comfortable in? Maybe a walk in the park is your thing, or maybe it is in a quiet room with your thoughts to yourself. Wherever it is, make sure you are in your creative space.
If you are not able to go to that special place, then grab your headphones and play your favorite songs. You would be surprised just how powerful music can be to inspire new ideas. Lastly, something that is important is take breaks often. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours and trying to wring you brain of ideas is not a very good practice. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and take a break every so often.
Look to the Professionals
It is time for me to be honest, just because your grandma said that you were the next Michelangelo with your drawing for the refrigerator, doesn’t mean that you are the best this world has ever seen. There will ALWAYS be someone that is better than you in your field. As soon as you realize this, the faster you will get better.
It is not bad to look to professional examples to see why they are so successful. But, don’t let that be the reason why you come up with a million reasons why you are not very good. There are two questions that you should be asking when you are looking to the professionals…
- What are they doing that you are NOT doing? (Whatever the answer is, START doing it!)
- What are they NOT doing that you are doing? (Whatever the answer is STOP doing it!)
When you go through these questions, then you will be on the right road to creating professional work.
Breaking the barrier
We briefly talked about this, but in order to be creative, you need to get out of the mindset of your ideas being bad. Some of the world’s best creators have overcome the barrier of thinking that their ideas are bad or not as good as everyone else. For example, if you were asked to draw a self-portrait of yourself and make it as realistic as possible, what is your brain thinking? You might be thinking on how it will look bad or how you are bad at drawing. That is the barrier that we are looking at! In order to grow creativity, you need to ignore those natural thoughts and just go for it.
This is very hard to do, but it is possible. If the best creators in the world worried about their work looking bad or worrying about what other people thought, they would not be where they are at. Start today to try and get out of that mindset. It will transform your ability to be creative!
I am by no means the greatest when it comes to creating things, but these are things that I have done that have made a difference. Creativity is in everything that we do. The device that you are using right now took thousands of hours to brainstorm, map out, and design so that you could use it how you do today. The clothes that you are wearing took a lot of thought in order design and create. If there is one take away from all of this, it takes work to be creative. So, take the steps today and capture those great ideas inside your head!