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11 Rules That Creative People Live By

11 Rules That Creative People Live By

Creativity sometimes gets a bad rap in school when teachers are trying to push students toward the STEM fields. Truth is, we need creativity too! It’s the driving force behind innovation, and it can add interest to drab and dry situations. Creative people are a key part of society, and they contribute much-needed perspective to our culture. It doesn’t always come easily, however. Even creative people aren’t constantly creating. Here are 11 rules they live by to keep the creativity coming, even through setbacks.

1. Things don’t always have to go your way

Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan—and that’s okay! Creative people know that the best ideas sometimes emerge when plans fall apart. Artists sometimes find that their best work is born from “mistakes,” and writers who let their characters lead the way often reach amazing breakthroughs. Take risks and fail sometimes, but find a way to create out of those failures.

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2. Listen constantly

How many people ride through life listening to nothing but the music in their headphones? Sure, music can be inspiring, but listening to the world around you is another way creative people fuel their ideas. That one person on the bus not on their phone? They’re probably observing the world around them: people-watching, listening, and gathering information for their next big project.

3. Is it aesthetically pleasing?

Style and power work best together, as Steve Jobs knew when building the Apple brand. The constant question was: is it aesthetically pleasing? This principle guided him through many innovations, resulting in one of the most popular brands in the world. Today, Apple products are praised for their combination of great hardware and attractive design. Beauty may be dismissed by “serious” thinkers, but it’s a key part of what makes us human, and creative people know that it’s important to our identity.

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4. Don’t forget the arts

The most successful people know the importance of the arts. Product design, understanding markets, and other aspects of business all rely heavily on the talent of creative people. Entrepreneurs know the importance of art in business, and the most successful are exposed to art at an early age. In fact, studies have shown that STEM graduates who file for patents or open their own businesses are 8 times more likely to be exposed to art as children than other graduates.

5. Daydream often

Considered a waste of time to many educators and parents, daydreaming is actually an essential creative process that many creative people use to their advantage. Inspiration strikes when you’re not expecting it, and daydreamers often get their best ideas when they let their minds wander and play without guidance.

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6. Carve out some alone time

Though not true of all creative minds, it is very common for creative people to be introverts, and to enjoy solitude. Carving out some alone time in their busy schedules helps creativity blossom, since it allows for time to think without distractions or interruptions.

7. Create time for experimentation and focus

Alone time is what allows most creative people to “recharge,” but it’s equally important for them to carve out time specifically for experimentation and focused work. Inspiration may strike at the most surprising times, but to build on those creative ideas takes time and hard work, which creative people prioritize by making time to experiment.

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8. Remember the importance of humor

Humor is how many creative people express themselves, and for good reason: it’s a way of looking at something from an unexpected perspective, something that creative people are very good at.

9. Say yes

Creativity does not come from doing the same thing over and over again every day. Creative people make it a point to say yes to new experiences and opportunities. Whether it’s a trip around the world, or a project in a new medium, creative people take chances and try new things in order to find inspiration and new information

10. Honor your own schedule

Very few people work best on the typical 9-5 schedule, and creative people know that it’s best not to try to force creativity. Instead, they honor their own internal tendencies, and work when they’re at their most productive and creative. For some, that’s the middle of the night. For others, it’s right after they’ve woken up and made a pot of tea.

11. It can be done

Above all, creative people believe in the impossible. They believe that anything can be done if they just come up with the right pieces. They’re curious, motivated, and persistent enough to solve complex problems and prove to the world that yes, it can be done, no matter what “it” may be.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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