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7 Fresh Ways to Spark Creativity That You Haven’t Tried

7 Fresh Ways to Spark Creativity That You Haven’t Tried

Being creative can be tough sometimes. Every day you show up ready to pluck a new idea from the depths of your imagination and sometimes they just aren’t there. No matter how hard you try, the creativity just doesn’t seem to flow some days. Of course it doesn’t mean being creative is completely out of reach at those times, rather it might just mean you need to try something new.

Next time you’re in a creative slump take note because today I’m going to share with you some fresh ways to spark creativity that you might not have tried before.

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1. Use Old and Unique Objects as Inspiration

There is a world of untapped inspiration in the thousands of old and unique objects that surround you. Every object has a unique story to tell of where and how it was made, what it has been used for, who has owned it, where it has lived throughout its life and how it has aged. Take a look through a family member’s attic, your local opportunity shop or a specialist antique store to find some objects to spark creativity.

2. Play With Color

Color is something that can really bring out your creativity, so do some experimentation and just play. Get out your paints, colored pencils, magazines, and paper to set yourself free with a color explosion. Don’t worry about creating a masterpiece—or even anything at all. Just doodle, cut, paste, paint and express yourself freely with color to see the creative inspiration start flowing.

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3. Talk It Out

Sometimes the best way to spark your creativity is to talk it out with a friend. Whatever is keeping you stuck is likely so because it is trapped within your own head. By getting your thoughts out there you make space for all your amazing creativity lurking in the dark recesses of your mind.

4. Experiment With Technology

Technology is such an amazing resource, literally at our fingertips, but how often do we truly tap into its power? Harness the power of technology to find some creative inspiration online within seconds: get digital with your visuals using image editing software, or play around with some digital beats. The sky is the limit once you introduce technology, and you never know how it might spark creativity.

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5. Play Like a Child

As children we’re taught to act more like adults, and as a consequence as we grow up we often lose that childlike wonder we had as kids. That childlike wonder is something special though, and it can be very useful for your creativity. To tap into your childhood creativity, let loose and play like a child! Indulge in make-believe, draw a picture just because, and fully commit yourself to exploring for the day. These activities have the potential to spark your creativity because they are all about doing new and different things without a set agenda or goal.

6. Take a Walk Somewhere New

It’s amazing the impact experiencing a new place can have. While you might not be able to travel to your dream exotic location today, you can take a walk somewhere new and bask in the experience of everything a new place has to offer. The sights, sounds, smells, buildings, plants, animals and people of a new place all have the ability to shape our ideas in entirely new ways and can be a great way to spark creativity.

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7. Do Nothing

It sounds a little counterintuitive but sometimes what you really need to do is nothing at all! By doing nothing you give your mind the opportunity to wander and that is when some of the most amazing creative connections are made. If you’re struggling to spark creativity, sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing at all—so sit back and relax!

Featured photo credit: Shall We Play? by PermaCultured via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

Standing at the front of the room, your heart is pounding as people stroll in, and you’ve been up since 5 am rehearsing. You’ve spent weeks preparing for this moment. Your slides are perfect, and you’ve memorized your talk.

As the clock shows 9:30, you begin with a customary “good morning” and then zilch. Nothing. Your mind goes blank. Suddenly, time seems to stop. Everything goes into slow motion, and you can feel your face begin to burn.

For anyone who has done presentations in front of a live audience, freezing at the wrong time is a nightmare waiting to happen, and when it does, if feels like time has frozen. The feeling of helplessness drags on, and you just wish the clock would fast forward so you can escape from the nightmare.

Of course, the reality is that time does not speed up or slow down. Time is constant; only our perception of passing time changes[1]. This is a good thing, too. What is happening is that your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you have become hyper-aware of your situation. Your brain is recognizing you are in danger and responding in the best way it knows how.

This perceived slowing down of time is an illusion[2]. It is your brain creating and processing more memories of your current environment and searching out the threat it has detected. It’s searching for the predator that has decided you look like an exquisite meal, and it is doing this incredibly fast — much faster than it typically would. It is how we protect ourselves, and, in most cases, it is a beneficial response.

However, in many cases, it can be torturous to be in this situation, feeling helpless and frozen and being hyper-aware of our unfortunate situation. So what can you do to speed up the perception of time?

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1. Have a Backup Plan

If you cast your mind back to the situation at the start of this article, your brain has frozen and your carefully crafted words are lost somewhere inside your head: What do you do? Most people panic, and, despite their careful preparation and rehearsal, one part they did not rehearse is when or if something goes wrong.

Freezing on stage can happen to even the most seasoned presenter, and having a script or a set of queue cards on hand can quickly refresh/reboot your brain to get you back on track and avoid the torturous feeling of being in a slow-motion crash.

Steve Jobs was a very experienced presenter. One of the best. Yet even though his preparation was meticulous — often taking as much as six months to put together a keynote presentation — things still went wrong. In this famous clip of a keynote Steve Jobs gave back in 2010, the WIFI network was very slow. When you watch the clip, it feels like it goes on forever, yet it only lasts around two and a half minutes. For a presentation that lasted about two hours, two and a half minutes is around two per cent. Not at all long, yet for Steve Jobs and the audience, the whole incident felt a lot longer.

Fortunately, as a seasoned presenter, Steve Jobs broke the tension and the feeling that time was slowing down by using humor and eventually moving on to the next part of the keynote. He had a backup, and his backup was to quickly, and without fuss, move on to the next segment.

Always have a backup plan and an exit strategy. Be prepared for the worst and be ready to switch to your backup plan if things do go wrong.

2. Focus on What You Have Control Over

You have control over three things: your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. Nothing else. You cannot control events, how other people judge you, or whether another person will get upset by what you say or do.

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Most bad days are a result of the way we react to something we have no control over. A client takes their business to your rival. You had no control over that. That was a decision your client made based on a set of circumstances and the way they felt about those circumstances. The only control you have in this situation is how you feel about losing a client. You could be angry; you might look around for someone to blame or for an excuse. But in the end, none of that will change the fact you no longer serve that client.

In these situations, always begin by reminding yourself about what you have control over. Are there any positive action steps you can take that will solve the problem? Are you allowing your emotions to influence your mood? Are you thinking negatively or positively about this situation?

In all these scenarios, you can instantly decide to change your thoughts, your feelings, and the action you take. You have to make that decision.

If you do lose an important client, and there is no solution, you can use the experience to learn. Use it as an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and implement changes to the way you do things that minimize the chances of a similar situation happening with your other clients in the future.

Dwelling on the loss will prolong your suffering, slowing down perceived time and making you feel dreadful. Using the situation to learn from your mistakes will help you to get back on track and keep time moving forward at a pace you are satisfied with.

3. Take Full Responsibility for the Situation

Accepting full responsibility for your life allows you to overcome adversity and difficulties. While a massive viral pandemic may not be your fault, what you do in the circumstances is your responsibility.

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Being in lockdown, where you must remain in your home, is something beyond your control (see number 2), but what you do with your time, how you manage your work, and how you maintain your health is your responsibility.

Governments may order you to stay at home, but what you do with your time while you are at home is something you are responsible for.

In these situations, you have a choice. Use the extra time you have positively, or pass responsibility for your life to the daily negative news cycles.

When you take responsibility for your life, you take back control[3].

Complaining about the situation only ensures you stay stuck in the same miserable place. Accepting responsibility for your life gives you so many more options.

You could take that online course you have been thinking about doing, or paint that picture you have wanted to do for years. You could clean out your old clothes, do the spring cleaning, or clear out your garage. There are hundreds of things you could do that, before this global pandemic, you always complained you had no time for. Now you do have time.

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Busying yourself with these tasks turns any bad situation into an opportunity, and time will no longer seem such a drudge; instead, it will feel like a godsend.

Key Takeaways

There are many inevitabilities in life. One of those inevitabilities is that you will have bad times. Dwelling on your lousy situation, complaining, and reliving the experience over and over will only cause time to slow down perceptually.

Accepting the inevitable, approaching it with a “cest la vie” mindset. and looking for the positives will soon pull you away from the difficult times and back to more fertile areas where you can thrive and grow, and time will begin to feel much faster.

More to Make Hard Times Go By Easier

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

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