If we look at the history of the world, we tend to admire people who have been innovators and creators. Whether it is Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers from the past, or the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in recent times, there is something about these creative people that make them so admirable.
The truth is we are all very creative. We’ve all been gifted with a mental faculty called our imagination. Just like building a physical muscle, our creativity is a skill that is developed through the deliberate practice of using our imagination.
A big reason why we want to develop our creativity is because our ability to achieve higher levels of success is directly attributed to our creativity skills. The more creative we are, the better the solutions we can produce, which means we can add more value in the world and be compensated accordingly.
There are a number of obstacles we face when we attempt to develop our creativity muscles. These can include:
- Our beliefs and paradigms – the way we habitually think, feel and behave, and also what we believe to be true or untrue about the world.
- Having low self-esteem – how we think of ourselves in relation to coping with the challenges of life.
- Not being able to find the relationship or connection between things.
Just like any other obstacle, the above obstacles can be overcome if we are committed and want to improve our creativity. Here are five easy and practical ways to start developing your creativity so that you can develop better solutions, overcome challenges much quicker, and become more effective in how you work.
- Start doing creative writing. It has been said that our imagination is the bridge to our intuition. In creative writing, you want to start visualising, which is a process of generating images, a particular outcome you want. When receive an image or a scene, write down what it means to you.
This is where you just “make it up” and be as outrageous and bold as you can be. As you continue writing, you will receive more and more insight, which can be the idea or inspiration you require to move closer toward the outcome you want. The key is not to stop and “censor” what you are receiving because it doesn’t make sense to you or feels stupid or wrong.
- Look for similarities and differences between things. As an example, if you look around you, you will be able to easily identify two things. Firstly, notice what is similar about those two things. Come up with at least 10 things that are similar. Next, notice what is different about the two things. Again, come up with at least 10 things that are different.
This is part of the process of developing your creativity muscle, which can only be strengthened through exercise. The more you do this exercise, the more confidence you will develop in your ability to come up with creative solutions.
- Play imagination games. This can be played bewteen two or more people. One way is to start telling a story and end with “and then,” at which the next person continues the story and ends with “and then” to pass onto the next person. Keep going until every person has had a turn to participate in the story.
To take it to the next level, have each person speak for at least 30 seconds when telling their story. This is a great ice-breaker or energiser for team meetings or workshops.
- Do the “30 Circles” Test. On a piece of paper draw 30 circles going six across and five rows down. Once you have your 30 circles, adapt as many of those circles into objects of some form. For example, you can turn one into a basketball, one into a sun, one into an orange.
The objective is to get as many as you can in one minute. Quantity is more important than quality here. This is about testing your ability to get creative in a short period of time.
- Do a brainstorming exercise. Voltaire once said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” In this exercise, which can be done with three to five people, identify a challenge you’d like to overcome and come up with any many ways to overcome that challenge. One thing to note is no idea should be judged or critised. Let the ideas flow.
At the end of the exercise, you may have many ideas that aren’t useful, however you’ll also have a few ideas that could be really helpful. All it takes is one good idea to overcome your problem. The more you do this exercise, the better your creatvity and problem-solving skills will be.
Our ability to innovate, solve problems, make a bigger difference and earn more money, is directly proportional to our ability to be more creative. Creativity is developed through practice and the above ideas will certainly help increase your creativity if you consistently apply them.
Question: What is another technique or exercise that can help us be more creative?
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