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Revealed: 8 Secret Ways to Unleash Your Creative Genius

Revealed: 8 Secret Ways to Unleash Your Creative Genius

You may be one of those people who is naturally creative and can come up with creative ideas with ease. Some people are just a bit more predisposed to creative thinking than others, and that’s okay. It’s certainly something that can be exercised and improved upon.

We can get stuck sometimes when trying to be more creative and come up with better ideas. Here are eight useful you can train yourself to do every day to boost your creative thinking.

You’re more creative when you’re tired

You’re probably reading this thinking that I’m crazy, but it’s true. Most of us claim to be either night owls or morning larks, and think that we work best and most creative during those times. However, the opposite is true. You’re actually more creative during non-optimal times.

For example, if you’re more of a night owl, your brain is more likely to come up with creative ideas in the morning when you’re tired.

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Pick places with ambient noises and dim lighting

When I sat down to do work I always thought that being in silence would help to get me in my most creative state, but the opposite is true. I’m not saying listening to your music on max volume is the greatest. Think about the type of music you’d be hearing in a coffee shop. Creative thinking needs the type of sounds you would hear there to spark new ideas and “out of the box” thinking.

Some people work best in a room with natural lighting while others prefer to be in a darker area. I work best in a darker setting at my desk with candles lit. I am very relaxed and feel that is when I am the most focused.

Through research[1] I found that working in dim lighting can actually improve creativity. This particular study discovered that when around dim lighting, the participants were more creative.

Put two ideas together and make them one

When you compromise a few ideas you’ll usually end up disappointed with the result. It’s typically something no one likes or recognize. You have to approach it differently. It wont’ work 100% of the time, but try to to take multiple ideas, dissect them and pull out the key elements of each one, then merge them into one idea. Combining ideas is a wonderful skill to have.

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Put more constraints on time or materials when generating ideas

I had also thought that we tend to be most creative when we’re feeling free. Once again, I was proven wrong. By putting constraints on yourself, you can actually increase your creative thinking. When you have too many options or choices, it can be overwhelming. By the process of elimination, you’ll be able to focus and swim in creativity.

So go ahead and give yourself a deadline or limit the materials you can use for your project. Your creativity will thank you.

Don’t settle for the first idea you come up with

If you’re going to stick to the first idea that pops into your head, you’re selling yourself short. You’re not giving yourself the opportunity to argue against yourself. You want to ensure that you’re putting forth your best mental effort.

In other words, play devil’s advocate with yourself. Take the time to have a fully-engaged, well-structured look at your ideas before jumping into execution mode.

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“An ounce of preventative action now is worth a pound of corrective action later.” Todd Henry

Don’t get used to certain habits

You’ll limit your creative flow this way. Maybe you’re always going to the same coffee shop to get your work done. Or maybe you take the same route home every day. You’re a product of your experience.

The limitations you have are self-imposed, but they are false. When you force yourself to look past all which you know and feel comfortable with, you’ll start coming up with those breakthrough ideas you’ve been hoping for. Step outside your comfort zone.

See yourself as a creative person

Believe it or not, everyone is creative. It’s not abnormal to think that you aren’t, but by believing you aren’t a creative person, you really limit your creative thinking. It stops the flow of ideas and the ones you do have, you don’t believe are good ideas when they come to the surface. Even if the ideas are exactly what you’re looking for.

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Do yourself a favor, allow yourself to be the creative person that you are. Think back to the times when you came up with that great idea that blew your boss out of the water. Let it be a positive reminder that you are truly a creative person. Don’t wallow in the memories of times when you were struggling.

Keep an idea book

Have you ever had an idea while lying in bed, taking a shower, or driving? Great ideas can come at any time, so it’s important to write them down, so you don’t forget them.

An idea book allows you to document the ideas immediately. You can write down inspiring words, things you observe and bits of wisdom. Use it as a brainstorming tool. Carry it with you everywhere so you’re able to capture that inspiring idea when it comes.

At some point we all fall into a rut and become frustrated by not being able to come up with fresh ideas. The good news is that your creative thinking meter won’t be on E forever. When you’re feeling like you can’t pull yourself out, try incorporating some of these things into your daily routine to get yourself back on top. And most importantly, remind yourself that you are creative.

Reference

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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