There are countless books and movies about individuals whose skills seemed to be naturally given. This has created a misconception that creativity is simply something you have, or do not have. A recent book Great Minds and How to Grow Them has shown that there is often no such thing as a born genius or born creative. In fact, much like a muscle, creativity and inventiveness can be developed. It can even be taught.
All it takes is practice, and exercising those creative muscles that have often been unused and underutilized. But first everyone needs to learn how to clear some mental space for your creativity and ideas.
Clearing Mental Space
Think with Your Brain, Not Memorize
From an early age we are subconsciously taught to memorize and repeat facts. The focus on memorization and the repeating of facts is very misguided, and is based on a real misunderstanding of how the brain works.
Memories aren’t perfect reproductions of events or things, find out why we should stop remembering stuff to free up space for thinking here: Human Brains Aren’t Designed to Remember Things
Instead it’s far easier to preserve past memories, emotions, and ideas by simply jotting them down.
Here’s How Jotting Down Ideas in 30 Seconds Boosts Creativity, and How to Start Marking down Your Mood for a better brain.
As you no longer have to worry about remembering this important information, you can safely focus on other things.
Once you no longer rely so much on memorization, your mind becomes much more freed up.
Ditch Mental Clutter
The human brain is incredibly powerful. Everything that has ever come from humanity stemmed from someone’s plan or idea. Despite its power, the brain is bad at multitasking. Perhaps you were reading once, but you kept stopping to check your Facebook, or perhaps your WhatsApp notification distracted you. As soon as your brain had to focus on multiple things at once, you ability to do any of the tasks severely decreased.
The same thing happens when we have a lot on our mind, we can’t focus, and as such, your mind and brain becomes less able to work dynamically and creativity.
We are often unaware just how cluttered our minds are by physical distractions and thoughts. What’s worse, is if we try to ignore all these distractions, our minds become even more full in the process.
If you have no idea how bad clutter has been draining our brains, this is essential for you: How Clutter Drains Your Brain (and What You Can Do About It)
The only way to clear up all this mental clutter is to be ruthless. It is a good idea to prioritize what is most important to you. This can be generally or smaller scale (such as the resolution of an important task). It may seem difficult to ditch stuff that doesn’t serve a purpose, I’ve got you this Declutter Formula to eliminate everything that isn’t necessary.
Keep Your Right Brain Sharp
Now that you have cleared some mental and physical space, it should be easier to focus on developing your brain’s creativity.
The two sides of the brain are focused on the development and control of different cognitive abilities. The left side of the brain processes things like language, and numbers, fixed concrete information. Whereas, the right side of the brain processes and controls creativity, critical thinking, and artistic ability.
By focusing on fact retention and memorization in school, most people have strengthened the left side of the brain, at the cost of the right brain. Discover the real reason why creativity has become more challenging than ever: Why It’s Difficult to Be Creative: An Underdeveloped Right Brain
To fix this imbalance and develop the creative muscles, try these:
- Do this 10-minute exercise every day to workout the brain: The Journey of a Man and a Dog. This simple exercise makes you think out of the box, and is an effective way to stretch the creative muscles.
- Take up a creative hobby. By involving yourself in a creative hobby such as painting and playing music, you keep your right brain active.
Look for a Problem
One of the most common excuses people give for not being creative is that they lack ideas. The inspiration isn’t coming. The ideas aren’t flowing.
Often times, people focus on something new and original. Doing this will always be fruitless as the mind needs stimulations in order to think. Luckily mental stimulations are everywhere. All you need is to observe for problems in your life. Check out how to look for a good problem for better creativity: How to Look For a Good Problem to Boost Your Creativity
Every problem we face is also a puzzle which needs a creative solution. When you are faced with a problem, you naturally try to think of solutions. By thinking of dynamic or creative solutions to problems, you are improving your ability to be creative.
It’s No Privilege to Be Creative
Once you develop your creative ability, you’ll discover the wonderful truth that everyone has the potential to be a powerful creative thinker. All that is needed is utilize your brain and a little bit of exercise.
Featured photo credit: IStock via istockphoto.com
|The Guardian: Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child