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Spark Your Creativity With These 5 Scientifically Proven Methods

Spark Your Creativity With These 5 Scientifically Proven Methods

We all have a creative force looming somewhere inside us, but sometimes bringing it out can be difficult. Certainly, when you’re stuck in a creative rut it can be tough to know where to turn. Not to fear, I’m here today with some stellar methods for sparking creativity backed by science. The next time you find yourself creatively stuck, take heart in these five scientifically proven methods to spark your creativity. They might sound simple, but they are powerful and when used can have big impacts on your ability to think creatively.

1. Run Free Like a Child

Children are incredibly creative thinkers. Full of imagination and without the self imposed limitations we place on ourselves as adults, kids are innately creative. They are free to play, dream, imagine and create without restriction. The next time you’re feeling like you need a burst of creativity try playing like a child. Backed by science, a recent study found that when participants were asked to imagine themselves as seven year olds they performed significantly better on divergent thinking tests. Let your imagination free and play like a child to spark your creativity.

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2. Don’t Box Yourself In

As adults we often box ourselves in simply by the language we use to describe the problems we are trying to solve. It might sound simple but an incredibly effective way to increase your problem solving ability is to simply change the verbs you use to describe the problem. Change it from a specific verb, e.g. ‘driving’, to a more generic verb, e.g. ‘moving’, to open your mind to the possibilities and see a dramatic increase in the number of problems you’re able to solve.

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3. Pay Attention to Colour

Colour can have a huge impact on your mood and your ability to be creative. Studies have consistently shown colour to influence mood and behaviour with a 2009 study showing that subjects solved twice as many insight puzzles when in the presence of the colour blue. Blue is known to lead to more relaxed and associative thinking, giving rise to creativity. Next time you’re looking for a quick burst of creativity embrace the power of blue. Whether it means creating in a blue room or simply walking outside and staring up at the sky with a notebook in hand, this quick change to your environment can make a big difference.

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4. Explore the World Around You

The world around you is full of creative potential. In fact, a recent study lead by researcher Adam Galinsky showed that students who had lived overseas were significantly more likely to solve a classic insight puzzle. Their experience of living within a completely different culture to their native one awarded them with prized open-mindedness. The same effect has also been noted with professionals. Fashion-house directors who have lived in a variety of different countries produce clothing that is consistently rated as more creative by industry peers. Get outside your own backyard to explore the world around you and you’ll see your creativity soar.

5. Make Time to Daydream

In our busy lives making the time to daydream can feel like a bit of a luxury, but research has shown it is absolutely essential to sparking creativity. A recent research study led by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara USA, found that people who daydream more often are more creative thinkers. Participants within the study who reported higher levels of daydreaming consistently scored higher on a variety of scientific tests of creativity. Make time in your busy life to let your mind free to daydream and spark your creativity today.

Featured photo credit: Paul Inkles via Flickr CC via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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