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20 ways to be more creative

“I am not a creative person” is a common answer when you ask people to rate their creativity. Many think that creativity is no longer needed as you grow up and not working in the creative industry.

Did you know that science has found the link between creativity and happiness? When you are happy, you are more creative in solving problems, coming up with original ideas. And, finding time each day for creative activities creates an “upward spiral” of positive emotions. It nourishes your soul, and make you happier. In this article, we will discuss 20 ways to be more creative.

Disclaimer: this is not a step-by-step article on creativity. We will take look at creativity from a macro mindset perspective.

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1.Change the lens you look at yourself

Do not underestimate yourself by continuously doubting your creative abilities. An article by Robson (2021) claims that being self-critical can backfire on your life-quality and even success. To convert that negativity into positive thoughts and boost up your confidence. Remember when George McFly said, If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

2. Aim at making mistakes

Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t born with that perfect creativity, which created Mona Lisa it took him years to perfect his masterpiece. Thus realizing that mistakes and redoing are all part of the creative journey, will not only boost your confidence but also enhance your creative thinking.

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3.Block time out each day

Fix some part of your day for creative activities. Thirty minutes. A few hours. And stick to it. Doing so will not only keep your mind in touch with creativity daily but will also make creative thoughts come easier to you when you need them.

4.Keep two eyes open for fresh ideas

Whether it be following different creative websites or just admiring the aesthetics of the town coffee shop décor, try and jot down these creative ideas wherever you notice them.

5.Joseph Beuys’ Personal Creativity

One of the many ways to be more creative, according to the German artist Joseph Beuys, to generate creative ideas you need to consciously enter the active stage of thinking. And by this, I mean, get inspiration, follow your instincts and start imagining or daydreaming about your ideas (Reckhenrich et al. 2009).

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6.Broaden your attention: acknowledge there are many ways to be more creative

By allowing yourself to observe and attend to various ideas at once, you will be better able to focus on creative ideas and evaluate them more efficiently. The study by Wronska et al. (2018) supports this claim by suggesting that better creative ideas are generated as a result of broad attention. Note that broad/narrow attention is different than short/long attention. 

7.Ask a lot of questions

Asking questions is one of the most old-school but effective ways to be more creative. Why is this project How does it workWhat if I look at this problem from the lends of a kid?” and the like, will help kick start your creative brain.

8.Use your hands to draw/write

Remember when from the math teacher to the English teacher, everyone used mind maps to teach. Maybe they were not so wrong after all! As proved via a study by Malycha, & Maier (2017), that creating mind maps enables the brain to deal with complex creativity problems.

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9. Seek for quantity over quality

In terms of creativity, the number of ideas you have in the beginning has preference over the quality of those ideas.

  • Look at the project from various angles
  • Think from the perspective of different people

To say, get out that pen and paper and start writing down every thought that crosses your mind, no matter how useless it may seem. Because the more material you will have in the beginning, the easier creativity will slide into your brain

10.Track down creative accounts on Instagram

Take the example of the Boomerang Agency (agencyboomerang) on Instagram. The account is filled with creative ideas that inspire their employee’s creativity. They are based on the idea that borrowing creative ideas from various Instagram accounts will lend your creativity that boosts it had been lacking.

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11.Dance in the dark

Sometimes the known gets boring and uninspiring. So to light that spark of creativity again, explore the darker side of your imagination. To say, get creative with your imagination to such an extent that you start thinking entirely out of the ordinary. Consider the unusual things that you never thought would cross your mind. This curious exploration will in turn get your creative juices flowing.

12.Step back and reflect

As quoted by Steve Jobs Creativity is just connecting things. So, try and connect unrelated ideas, in order to make something completely different from your first perspective.

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13.Build a creativity-inspiring ambiance

Surround yourself with creative pieces of art, wall framed quotes of famous artists and preferably bright, imagination inspiring colors like Blue. A study by Xia et al. (2016), has suggested that colors like blue and red make people feel safe, encouraging creative thinking.

14.Lower your fence

Join online creative groups or get together with creative people coming from different backgrounds. Why do you ask? Because diverse people will bring diverse ideas, and these colorful ideas will help with your creativity in times of need.

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15.Listen to thought-provoking music

Thought-provoking but enjoyable music will relax your mind and help you get creative. For instance, a study by Rauscher et al (1993) suggested that listening to Mozart briefly increases your brain’s visualizing abilities.

16.Boost creativity using reward

As suggested by B. F. Skinner, rewards strengthen human behavior. So reward yourself, like watching your favorite show or eating your favorite meal, every time you do something creative. This way your brain will associate that reward with its creative abilities and will get inspired to be more creative.

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17.Stand on your feet

Instead of sitting down to work, stand on your feet to give your creativity that much-needed knock and for this purpose, you can use a standing desk. According to Fitnest EU (standing desk europe), using a standing desk to work, increases your brainpower, leading to a better mood and more energy.

18.Exercise your brain muscles

Not just physical, but mental exercise also boosts up your creativity. Read a book, do a puzzle, or maybe complete that crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

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19.Sleep it off

If nothing is working, just put away the project for some time and distract your mind from it. This will help your brain to refresh and might unconsciously pop up creative ideas, while you are doing something unrelated.

20.Be brutally honest about what makes you happy

Every human being has their ways, which only they know the best. So just relax, and do what makes you happy. That positive mood and energy will then in turn give a boost to your creative thoughts.

 

To summarize, there are many ways to be more creative. Relax your mind, calm yourself down, and get help from your surroundings. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to you and your capabilities. So just set your mind to it and start working!

 

References

Boomerang Agency. https://www.instagram.com/agencyboomerang/

Fitnest (2020). What are the benefits of a standing desk in 2020?. Fitnest Europe. Retrieved from https://www.fitnest.eu/what-are-the-benefits-of-a-standing-desk-in-2020/

Jörg Reckhenrich, Martin Kupp, Jamie Anderson (2009). Understanding creativity: The manager as artist. London Business School Review, 20(2), 68-73. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8616.2009.00602.x

Malycha, C. P., & Maier, G. W. (2017). Enhancing creativity on different complexity levels by eliciting mental models. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11(2), 187–201. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-15220-001

Rauscher, Frances H. Shaw Gordon L., Ky, Catherine N. (1993) Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship. Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (102nd, Los Angeles, CS, August 12-16, 1994). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED390733.pdf

Robson, D. (2021). Why self-compassion – not self-esteem – leads to success. BBC Worklife. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210111-why-self-compassion-not-self-esteem-leads-to-success

Wronska Marta K., Kolańczyk Alina, Nijstad Bernard A (2018). Engaging in Creativity Broadens Attentional Scope. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1772. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01772/full

Xia Tiansheng, Song Lu, Wang Ting T., Tan Ling, Mo Lei (2016). Exploring the Effect of Red and Blue on Cognitive Task Performances. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 784. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00784/full

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