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6 Ways To Be Creative Absolutely All The Time

6 Ways To Be Creative Absolutely All The Time

According to Wikipedia, creativity is the “phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created.” It therefore stands to reason that you should want to be creative all of the time. Whilst some might find it easy just “to be creative,” for others a few strategies might be needed. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote about “connecting the unconnected” to get creative inspiration in his notes, and we are going to take a leaf out of his book. For you to start becoming more creative, like Da Vinci you need to start looking at the world with fresh eyes and try some of the techniques described below to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Contemplate the mess

Da Vinci was known to throw paint filled sponges onto the wall and contemplate what he sees. Years before Jackson Pollock, Da Vinci was looking at how the paint was opening his eyes to something new. It might be these very splats that inspired early bicycles and helicopters. And whilst they weren’t practical to make at the time, they were possible to imagine.

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Fortunately we do not all need to splat paint on the walls to be creative. Instead we can make ink splats. To do this take some cartridge paper, blob some ink or paint onto one half of the page, and then fold in two. Unfold and examine. What do you see?

2. Take a shower

Whilst having a shower you are likely to have some of your best ideas. Here’s why: to be creative you need a mix of dopamine and distraction. Having a warm shower helps with the production of dopamine in the brain and whilst you are washing, you are distracted by activity. By putting your brain into neutral and doing something mundane whilst your brain is producing dopamine provides the best conditions for being creative. Take advantage of this by keeping a pad and pencil in the bathroom (or just outside). If you are interested in the science, then have a look at this blog post on the subject.

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3. Do something normal in a different way

By taking a normal activity and then doing it differently, you encourage your brain to make connections and to be creative. These neural pathways are then open to be used when you need to do some lateral thinking. So, for instance, if you are making a cheese and ham sandwich, butter the cheese and ham — not the bread. Pull the components of the sandwich together and you will still have something enjoyable to eat — AND you will have started to encourage your brain to not solely rely on one way to get things done.

This is backed up by scientific research being carried out by Psychologist Dr Simone Ritter from Radboud University Nijmegen. She told the BBC, “People should seek out unexpected experiences if they wish to think differently and so approach problems with a fresh perspective.”

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4. Get unstuck by taking a walk

If you have a particular problem to solve, the more you look at it, the stronger the obvious patterns become. This means that you are less likely to be creative stuck at your desk. Instead of getting stuck in a rut, take a break. Have a walk and take your mind off the issue. In a similar way to taking a shower, the distraction and activity will combine with your subconscious ability to solve things in a novel way.

5. Improvise

When we improvise we let our brain do the work. We don’t think too hard about things and just do it. This can be both good and bad. Things can go wrong. However, things can go right and open up a new level of creativity that you hadn’t thought possible. It’s best not to improvise too much in high stakes situations (such as job interviews). But otherwise it can be cool to riff to see what happens.

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6. Take notes

Da Vinci filled notebook after notebook with ideas, inventions, sketches, and more. Observe, doodle, contemplate — whatever you do make sure that you are taking notes. This is because the note taking process helps us to formalize ethereal thoughts. By doing this, things become a little more tangible, are more likely to be creative, and are able to reason a connection between the unconnected.

drawing

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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