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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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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

“Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

“The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

“The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

    Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

    1. Build a Memory Palace

      What is it?

      The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

      How to use it?

      Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

      “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

      Example

      An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

      • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
      • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
      • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
      • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
      • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

      You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Mnemonic

        What is it?

        A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

        How to use it?

        Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

        Example

        I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

        I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

        Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

        Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

        Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

        Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

        C

        J

        H

        D

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        P

        Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

        Cubs

        Just

        Hate

        Doing

        Push-ups

        Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

        3. Mnemonic Peg System

          What is it?

          According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

          How to use it?

          The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

          Example

          Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

          0 = hero

          1 = gun

          2 = shoe

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          3 = tree

          4 = door

          5 = hive

          6 = sticks

          7 = heaven

          8 = gate

          9 = line

          Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

          4. Chunking

            What is it?

            Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

            How to use it?

            In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

            Example

            Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

            Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

            081127882

            Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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            081 – 127 – 882

            Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

            “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

            5. Transfer of Learning

              What is it?

              Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

              “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

              How to use it?

              There are two specific ways to use it:

              1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
              2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

              Example

              I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

              Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

              The Bottom Line

              The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

              We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

              Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

              “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

              More About Enhancing Memories

              Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
              [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
              [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
              [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
              [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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