Advertising
Advertising

10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a great idea, you’re not alone. Coming up with great ideas regularly is absolutely essential as a creative person, though as we all know, it can be tough. Some of the greatest creative people of all time struggled with the need to come up with great ideas, but they did have a few tricks that helped. Today I’d like to share with you 10 tricks really creative people use to come up with great ideas.

1. Record your ideas & refer to them when stuck.

Recording your ideas is absolutely essential to the creative process. What starts as a simple thought now can blossom into something amazing later down the track. Record your thoughts, words, drawings and found objects in a journal or sketchbook and refer to it whenever you’re looking for a great idea. You’ll be joining the ranks of famous creative people as diverse as Tim Burton, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol, who all kept a steady stream of sketchbooks throughout their lives and referred to them regularly.

2. Take in diverse opinions.

Your creative ideas are limited by the thoughts in your own head, which have been developed uniquely through a lifetime of your own experiences. Take on the opinion and imagination of others to let in a whole new world of ideas and inspiration. Listen to what those around you have to say and take advantage of their unique perspective of the world.

Advertising

3. Make time for the big ideas.

Sometimes you can get so caught up in the day to day that in the midst of rushing from appointment to appointment, you don’t allow the big ideas to surface. Make some time to sit down, play with your materials, trawl through your sketchbooks and let the magic happen.

4. Keep abreast of news & culture.

What’s happening in the world around you can be an amazing source of inspiration. Keep abreast of the news and what is happening culturally in both your local area and the world. You never know what might spark your next big idea.

5. Work toward your big vision.

Some of the most prolific creative people of all time came up with their most amazing ideas because they were working toward a big vision that guided them every step of the way. Consider Apple, which took the world by storm with their revolutionary iPod, iMac and iPhone—all guided by the unique Apple design principles and their big vision for what technology products could mean in people’s lives

Advertising

6. Shift your attention regularly.

It’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut when you’re so intensely focused on trying to come up with your one big creative idea. Ease the pressure and shift your attention regularly to something else. Doing so will give your mind a chance to refresh, ready for your big idea to surface when you return to the task at hand.

7. Brainstorm.

Sometimes, a big brainstorming session is exactly what you need. It can be done alone or with others; simply start with your topic and write it in the middle of a big piece of paper. Around this central word write every single thing that comes to mind associated with the topic at hand. The connections you create can spark some amazing big ideas.

8. Do nothing.

It might sound counter intuitive but sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need to do. Sit quietly and stare out the window. Go on a walk around the block. Lie on the grass and stare up at the clouds. Allowing your brain to do nothing at all leaves it free to imagine and come up with some pretty amazing ideas. Why not try it out?

Advertising

9. Channel a new voice.

You’ve been thinking in your own voice your entire life, so what if you role played to be someone else creatively for the day? Take on the imagination of Walt Disney or the genius of Albert Einstein. Apply their unique ways of thinking to what sits in front of you and see what comes out. It can be as simple as saying to yourself “What would Walt Disney do in this situation? What ideas might he have?”

10. Stick to a routine.

Having a regular routine can be the perfect way to spark some big creative ideas. Many famous creative people, including writer Stephen King, had a very set and specific daily routine which allowed his best ideas to flow. Consider developing your own daily routine to encourage the flow of great ideas.

You might also like: How to Consistently Come Up With Great Ideas

Advertising

Photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi

Featured photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi via flic.kr

More by this author

What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today Pursuing dreams 5 Points of Resistance in Pursuing Your Dreams 10 Brilliant Business Books You Can Read To Find Your Shortcut To Success Habits of creative people 12 Things Incredibly Creative Minds Do Differently 15 Easy Ways To Stay Productive Used By 15 Designers

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next