Most people would describe creativity something to do with creating art when the real definition of creativity is using the imagination or developing original ideas.
Everyone can be creative as long as they give themselves time to think freely and let their imagination take center stage. This is often easier said than done, in a society that promotes the “sameness” in people.
“The true sign of intelligences is not knowledge, but imagination.” ~Albert Einstein
Here are ten ways you can unlock your creativity and break free from the mold.
1 – Think Visually
Nothing speaks to creativity more than visual images. The more color, detail, and movement in our thoughts, the more creative our thoughts become.
Recognize that you think in images and develop those images in your mind. Let’s use a rose as an example. When some say rose, you probably see a rose, right? You don’t see the word, you see the real thing.
Start creating more imagery around it. What color is it? Is it open or a bud? Does it have ridges along the ends of the petals? When you begin to create more details in the images, you think about, your creative mind will grow.
2 – Question Everything
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire
Be curious and seek the whys behind the whats. When you are curious, you stop assuming and start engaging. It is through this kind of engagement that your mind begins to wander, and your creative mind grows.
An experiment at an Amsterdam museum asked patrons to submit questions about the art.
Then they took the most popular questions, answered them, and posted them next to the artwork.
The time people spent looking at the art increased from eight seconds to 30 minutes. They would read a question and the answer, then examine the painting, and they would continue that pattern until they read all the questions.
The questions stimulated curiosity and helped to create a personal relationship with the artwork.
Be curious, ask questions. A lot of questions.
3 – Get Lost
When we stay on our chosen path, we are missing all the experiences that are happening around us. Allow yourself to get lost during your day. Drive a different way home, turn left instead of right on your walk or do something different for lunch.
When you go about the routines of your day, your habitual actions are getting you through the day, not your thoughts or your mind. Getting out of the routine and doing new things, will foster your creative mind and bring you back into the present.
4 – Do More of What Makes You Feel Good
It is probably no surprise that doing things that make you feel good can foster a creative mindset. When you are doing things you don’t like or don’t want to do, it is hard to live up to your full potential because you are so busy doing damage control.
Change the things you can and accept the things you can’t. This approach will give your mind the freedom to think beyond your circumstances.
5 – Simplify Your Life
We are exposed to more information than ever before, and it can be overwhelming. Too much information influences our thoughts and prevents us from thinking creatively. It is hard to find an original idea in the midst of everyone else’s ideas.
Shut down the information train by stepping away and quieting the chaos around you. Find some quiet and let your mind generate ideas naturally.
6 – Take Chances
Humans have the innate ability to take risks. However, societal pressures to conform has made us more riskaverse lately. Michael Ungar, Ph.D., a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia talks about the importance of taking risks and says, “To grow, we need to experience challenges whether we’re 4, 14, or 40.”
When something is difficult or is out of your comfort zone, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?” This question will help you put the real fear into perspective and determine whether the risk is worth the reward.
7 – Slow Down
We live in a fast paced world and society the requires instant gratification. When your day is overscheduled, and your needs are instantly met instantly, you thwart your mind’s creative process. You don’t allow yourself the time just to think.
Schedule downtime and take things more slowly. It is during the downtime that your best ideas will surface. Just think about your time in the shower. Sure you might use it to wake up but once you do, what happens? You just think.
8 – Look Up
If you stand on a corner watching pedestrians as they walk from point A to point B, you will probably notice the majority of them keeping their heads down. You have no idea how much inspiration passes you by because you aren’t looking up.
Creative thinking comes from engagement, interaction, and observation. None of those things happen on their own. Try looking up as you go about your day. Smile at strangers, feel the breeze and notice your surroundings. Look up and watch your creative mind develop through your experiences.
9 – Write the Ending First
If starting is hard, then fast forward to the ending. What solution needs a process and what answers need a question?
It can be hard to perform with a lot of pressure. Being creative on the spur of the moment is never ideal. When you are in the hot seat, and your normal thought processes aren’t working, trying turning the tables at looking at it from the other side.
10 – Move It
Thoughts flow through your mind just like the breath in your body. We sit a lot. We are on our computers, bingewatching on Netflix or texting our friends.
Stop sitting and start doing. Get your body moving because it will increase your energy and your creativity.
No matter what actions you begin to do to unlock your creative mind, the goal is to start trying new things and see how they make you feel. Because the best way to unlock your creativity is to feel good about who you are and where you are going.