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The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day

The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day

We all start our lives as creative individuals, but somewhere along the way we start to lose our ability to see things in a new light. In other words, our creativity withers and dies. If you’ve ever wished you were better at coming up with ideas, you might have wondered how this happens. Believe it or not, our school system plays a huge role in squashing creativity. It gives us a good grounding in facts and theories, but it doesn’t encourage divergent or lateral thinking skills. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us are too quick to say, “Oh, I’m not a creative person!” Don’t worry, though, because you can get your creativity back. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll soon find your idea engine starting to rev.

What is creativity?

Most of us share the same basic idea about creativity. We tend to think of it as coming up with new concepts, or finding new angles in any given situation. However, it can be helpful to think of creativity as connecting various experiences together, and simply making links between them. The broader and richer your life experiences, the more dots you can join, and the more ideas you can generate. For example, a visual artist might come up with an idea for a painting based on their experience with depression (one “dot”) and their exposure to abstract painting (another “dot). The result? A highly emotive, effective piece of art.

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Signs you’re a creative person

You are probably more creative than you realize. Did you know that there are subtle and not-so-subtle signs that suggest you might be an especially creative person? For example, if you like to wear outlandish socks, you are in good company. Research shows that those favoring this kind of footwear are more brilliant, creative and successful than those who stick with regulation black and navy. Your moods and mental health are also clues. Depression may be a terrible, crippling experience, but scientists have found a link between depression and creativity. Specifically, creative people tend to see the world in way that differs from the norm, and can see a myriad of possibilities and shades of gray. This can trigger a sense of being overwhelmed by the outside world. Finally, those who stay up and get up late are more likely than early risers to be more creative. If you tend to hit the snooze button repeatedly, it may just be because you are more creative than average!

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Can we train ourselves to be more creative?

In short, yes! If you don’t understand that creativity is the ability to join up two or more experiences, and that this is a skill that can be learned, you may conclude that some people are simply born more creative than others. Worse, this belief can even become an excuse for not trying. After all, if you are either born creative or you aren’t, there’s no point in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The truth is simple – when you commit to becoming a better problem-solver and force yourself to look at the world in a new light, you will inevitably become more creative as long as you are willing to make the effort.

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How to largely boost your creativity

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know quite how to begin restoring your creativity, try a simple two-word exercise that will remind you how brilliant you are at making new links and associations between two concepts! Another way to ease yourself back into a creative mindset is to appreciate the work of others. Read a short story, listen to an inspiring piece of music, or look at some mind-bending paintings. There are literally dozens of ways to fuel your creativity. If the first few techniques you try don’t work for you, experiment with something else. You might need to do some inner work first, because fear can be a big barrier to trying new things. A fear of failure is common, because we have been raised in such an achievement-oriented society. If this sounds familiar, why not write down what you fear will happen, and how you would deal with it? For example, if you are afraid of other people labeling you “silly” or “foolish” for trying to be creative, remind yourself that you can always choose to hang out with more positive people instead!

Travel as much as possible. Remember, the more life experience you accumulate, the more creative you will become. Travel truly is an investment in yourself. Even if you can’t afford the time or money needed for a long vacation, why not take a day trip to a local attraction? Switch things up at home too. Take a new route to work, try a new sandwich for lunch, and take up a new hobby in the evenings instead of watching TV. Go outside and immerse yourself in the real world!

Finally, you can even use your negative life experiences as a basis for creative expression. You don’t have to be angst-ridden to be creative, but some of the most compelling artwork has emerged from great suffering. Identify your negative emotions,and divert them away from yourself. Solving a creative problem enables you to get into a state of “flow,” which is where the real magic happens. Lose yourself in writing, dance, painting, or any other creative pursuit that feels right to you. Remember that there are no perfect people, and that judging yourself harshly won’t help. Work on becoming a more creative person, and your overall quality of life is bound to improve. You will feel more interested in the world around you, and more accepting of your true, creative self.

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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