Teach Yourself To Be Creative

Getting Your Mind Right for Creativity

It’s a common myth amongst professionals that creative people are born and not made and that you have to have a special gift in order to be truly creative.  If you hold on to this idea, then of course you’ll never experience your natural creativity, but if you’d like your creativity to seep through there are some simple things you could do.  One physiologist suggested that placing your tongue behind your top row of teeth (a bit like dental acupuncture) stimulates the brain.  Equally, there are stimulation points in the palms of your hands and so fiddling with something makes ideas more forthcoming.  A major self-imposed barrier to successful creativity is the pursuit of perfection.  Creatively speaking, there is no such thing as perfection, and if creativity was based on it not much would ever be thought up.  Even some masters of creativity (Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, Hitchcock, Lennon & McCartney and so on) will all have started with something well short of brilliance and it was more about their flow of creative ideas that ultimately elevated their achievements to superstar status.

A fun idea to be more creative is to think like an adult while behaving like a kid!  Children like to ask lots of questions and some of these questions can be quite silly or ridiculous, yet hiding in these non-traditional thinking places can be exactly what you’re seeking to discover.  Children also like to have fun, and having fun is always likely to bring creative thoughts as opposed to being too serious.  You may also, rather like a child, want to ‘break the rules’ in terms of what is ‘logical’ thinking versus thinking totally illogically.  After all, the first inventor who suggested that boats could be made of iron must have got laughed right out to sea.

1 - Use Mind maps

Invented by Tony Buzan in the 1970s, mind maps are a way of expressing ideas on paper creatively.  It starts with a central idea in the middle of the page from which ‘branches’ and ‘twigs’ are connected by associated ideas.   The easiest way to understand how they can be drawn and used is to ‘google’ mind maps and then select ‘images’.  If you use colour, drawings and key words rather than lots of writing, mind maps will often spark inspiration.

2 - Think in Diagrams rather than in Words

This is a variation on mind maps and is for people who can’t seem to get their head around using one.  The difference is that it’s less about art and colour and more about boxes and lines. You simply draw out your thinking with squares and connected lines with a graphite pencil and a large sheet of paper.  The similarity with a mind map is that the fewer the words you write the better the mental stimulation.  If you’re familiar with the artist Heath Robinson, his approach to drawing could illustrate a way to let your mind flow creatively.  Also, deciding to draw the most ridiculous thoughts on paper can suddenly produce brilliant ideas in a completely unexpected way.

3 - Keep a Notebook to hand

When you least expect it your creative thinking can easily come alive, yet if you fail to nail the idea on paper you could just as quickly forget the gem you once had in your grasp. Having a book near your bedside for example, in case you wake up with a Eureka moment, or carrying something to write on in your pocket.  These are both recommended when you’re on the scent of wanting to come up with a new idea.  Of course, you may also wish to use your smart device for making digital notes or recording the spoken word.

4 - Change your Location

Creative types report greater success when they’re in an unusual or new location.  This is why many people say they get great ideas on holiday.  There is also something about being more relaxed which taps into the mental juices.  One inspiring style of location could be an art gallery that’s quiet, yet different enough as a location to stimulate brand new thinking.  Probably, the method never to employ is to place the mind under any form of pressure, as this simply paralyses creative thinking.  You could also consider the act of standing up and leaving your office or home, then going for a walk.  This leads into the next suggestion nicely.

5 - A Short Burst of Exercise

Going to the gym will inevitably send chemical messages to the brain during the burst of activity which will stimulate the grey matter.  Joggers often report getting great ideas in the middle of their routine, particularly when jogging in the early part of the day.  If this doesn’t produce a result, try idea number 7.

6 - Offer Yourself a Carrot

Creativity is more likely to come from the subconscious rather than the conscious mind. Some of the most extraordinary ideas ever dreamed up have ‘come from nowhere’ rather than created by a step by step process.  So, what about promising your subconscious a reward in return for a stunning thought?  Decide what the reward will be and when you’ve delivered a flash of inspiration that bowls you over, then you’re allowed to take the agreed reward.  An important point here is that if you fail to take the reward, for whatever reason, it will be unlikely that this method would ever work for you again.  Your subconscious is likely to be thinking, “I was looking forward to the reward that you are now denying me.  I won’t be doing that again!”

7 - Meditation and Quiet Time

If you know how to meditate, then quietening the mind through this mentally enriching system is something else to consider.  There’s also that well known adage: ‘Sleep on it’ when the mind stops buzzing (opposite to exercise).  This will work for some people who are mentally stimulated by calm.  If you do want to focus your thinking in a quiet space, then hold on to one single thought for a sustained period, (say 20 minutes), then allow your mind to wander for an equal amount of time in contrast. You will soon discover which approach works for you.

Finally, why bother being creative in the first place?  Isn’t it easier to leave it to someone else?  Personal creativity unleashed can offer you new ideas to attract business and brainwaves to keep your clients happier, who in turn will tell their friends about you because you’re so different to other professionals.  It will also produce the kind of brain stimulation that allows you to dream up amazing personal breakthroughs.  Once you make creativity a habit it will lead you to an exciting, richer, satisfying and much more productive life.

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