Everyone is creative. People who are highly creative see themselves as creative, and make time for their creativity. They work at it, and they don’t care about making mistakes—they expect them. As Thomas Edison said:
None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Edison also said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
If you want to be highly creative, these strategies will help.
1. Create Anyway: Out of Quantity Comes Quality.
You want to create something—a piece of writing, or art, or a product or method—which is amazing. Create junk. Lots of junk. The more junk you create, the more you’ll stimulate your mind to produce something new and exciting. If you wait for the perfect idea, you’ll wait forever.
2. Schedule Time for Creativity.
Everyone’s busy. Highly creative people schedule time to work on their creative projects. There’s no other way. Don’t wait until you have “more time.” If you only have five minutes a day, that’s fine.
3. Become Playful: Collect Tools and Toys for Creativity.
Kids love toys, and creative adults love playing too. Working with your hands is a form of meditation. If you want to build a deck for your house, or a model airplane, or cook a five course meal or knit a jumper, go ahead. You’ll be more creative.
To become more playful, watch this TED talk by Tim Brown: Tales of Creativity and Play.
4. Ask Questions. Question Everything.
Become creative by asking questions, primarily of yourself, but also of others:
The Five Ws, Five Ws and one H, or the Six Ws are questions whose answers are considered basic in information-gathering.
You may have heard of the concept of “beginner’s mind”; it’s the foundation of creativity.
5. Trust Your Intuition. Yes, You’re Intuitive.
Your creativity depends on your intuition. We’re all intuitive. Our stone age ancestors wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes if they hadn’t paid attention to their subconscious impulses, both to hunt, and to avoid becoming prey.
Albert Einstein said: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Make space in your life for intuition, and your creativity will flourish.
6. Set Limits, and Create Within Those Limits.
To become more creative, set some constraints. The simplest constraint to set is to give yourself a non-negotiable deadline for a piece of creative work. Once you’ve set your deadline, get it done.
Here’s the key: get your creative work done even if you think you have no time, and no budget. Ask yourself to creatively come up with solutions to these constraints.
7. Go Where You’re Most Creative: In a Coffee Shop? In the Shower?
Think about the last time you got a great idea. Chances are, you weren’t sitting in your office. Perhaps you were at the gym, or driving to work, or sitting in a coffee shop. Creative inspirations bubble up from your subconscious when your conscious mind is occupied with a task you can do without thinking about it.
8. Drink Up. A Glass of Beer or Wine May Make You More Creative.
You can’t be creative if you’re drunk, but a glass of wine may loosen your inhibitions sufficiently for you to be creative. Try it.
9. Doodle, Then Write About Your Doodles.
When you draw, you’re using the right side of your brain, the creative, intuitive side. You don’t need to be artistic, just doodle on a piece of paper for a couple of minutes. Then ask yourself what the doodle has to tell you, and write it down. Or, you can ask yourself a question, doodle, and then write down the solution.
10. Get a Pen. Handwriting May Make You More Creative.
Neuroscientists’ studies seem to suggest that writing by hand can make you more creative, and it also improves your memory. Try it yourself. Write some notes and ideas. Writing by hand may give you fresh insights.
11. Work Hard. Struggle. Then Let The Project Go.
Creative breakthroughs arrive after you’ve worked hard at something. The intense struggle seems to be necessary. If you’re stuck on a project, keep going. Work hard. Then let the project go. Your breakthrough will come as a sudden inspiration when you’re doing something else.
12. Map Your Mind. Make Connections With a Mind Map.
Mind maps are a useful tool to help you to think and develop creative insights. British author Tony Buzan made the term “mind map” popular.
To create a mind map, draw a circle in the center of a sheet of paper, and write your topic in the circle. Draw lines as branches radiating out from the circle, and add a word to each branch.
Try a few of these 12 ways to be highly creative. You’ll be amazed at the results.
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