Do you struggle knowing how to be creative or do you wish you were more imaginative? Great news, anyone can be more innovative. Creativity is all about how you see things.
Some people go through life looking at things upset or even complaining about how bad they are. The most creative people look at these things as opportunities to make things better. Instead of complaining and feeling sorry for themselves that things aren’t perfect, they look for ways to make them better.
Increasing your creative thinking abilities has many benefits. Creativity leads to better problem-solving skills, less stress, and the potential for more income just to name a few.
You may be thinking “This sounds great but I’m just not a creative person.” Well, you may not be now but you can be. Follow the tips below to become a significantly more creative person and start enjoying the benefits.
Tips on How to Be Creative and Innovative
- List Variations of a Problem or Question
Try to list out your problem in 10 different questions. Ask the who, what, where, when, why, and how. These questions can lead to additional ideas or at least provide you some clarity on the problem.
Let’s say you want to potty train your child. Some example questions can be:
- How do I make my child want to use the bathroom?
- Who has successfully potty trained their child?
- How did they potty train their child?
- Why won’t my child go on the potty?
- When is the best time to potty train my kid?
- What will make my kid more likely to go on the potty?
- What methods of potty training have I not tried?
- What do I need to say to my child to go on the potty?
- What can I give my child to make them want to use the potty?
- What do I do when my kid successfully goes on the potty?
- Be Open-Minded
In order to think outside the box, you have to have an open mind. Don’t restrict yourself to ways things have been done in the past. Allow your mind to get into uncharted territory. Be curious about all possibilities. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.
Being open-minded will lead to an increase in insight, personal growth, and the opportunity to learn new things. You just have to let your ego, biases, and past experiences get out of your way.
Being open-minded is harder for some of us than others but we are all capable of it. You just have to allow an open-minded way of thinking. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s something that can be worked on and built.
- Allow Your Mind to Wander
One lesson I learned from golf is that sometimes you have to quit trying to control the club to gain control of the club. This same concept applies to when you want to be creative. If you sit there constantly thinking about a problem or trying to think of a new idea, your mind will kind of shut down. Once you allow your mind the freedom to wander a little bit, you open it up to more creative thinking.
I’m not saying you should completely forget about your problem but allow your mind to drift off the problem momentarily. Don’t worry your subconscious mind is still working on a solution or ideas. There are many times where I’ve dwelled on a problem all day long without a solution. Only to go get ready for bed when a solution pops into my head. Sometimes you just have to quit trying to force it.
- Have an Idea Session
Set aside a block of time like 30 minutes to sit down and do nothing but brainstorm. Eliminate all distractions like your cellphone, television, or anything else you can get away with not having for 30 minutes.
Spend this time writing down as many ideas as you can think of. Don’t worry if you think they are bad ideas or good ideas. The point of this session is to come up with as many ideas as possible. This is one time where you are looking for quantity over quality.
- Talk About it With Others
This is not necessarily about someone else solving your problem or coming up with an idea for you. Have you ever talked to a person about a problem you have, only to come up with your own solution in the middle of a conversation? Just speaking it out loud can go far in coming up with new solutions and enhanced creativity.
- Improve on Other Ideas
Being innovative or creative doesn’t necessarily mean being original. Sometimes the best idea is to take someone else’s idea and improving on it. Elon Musk and Tesla didn’t invent the electric car, he improved on ideas that were already out there.
Oftentimes someone else’s bad idea can be your good idea with a little tweak or adjustment. Believe it or not, forum and question and answer sites like Reddit and Quora are full of ideas. You can look up things on these sites for inspiration.
- Take a Step Back
If you find yourself stuck or figuratively spinning your wheels, take a step back. Try to look at your situation from another’s perspective. Think about how other people would handle the situation or problem you are having. This is a great way to foster ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise.
- Embrace Uncomfortable Situations
No one truly likes feeling uncomfortable but to reach your full potential you need to learn to be a little more comfortable at being uncomfortable. Routine tasks may feel comforting to us but they do little or nothing to advance your personal growth. Getting outside your comfort zone opens up numerous opportunities and broadens your horizons and outlooks on other things. For more information on this topic, check out my previous article on getting out of your comfort zone.
- Always Be Ready for an Idea
Have you ever been doing something totally unrelated to a problem you are facing, only to have the solution to the problem pop into your head? I have. Ideas can come at any time. You have to always be ready. Especially because as quickly as they come, sometimes they can go just as quickly. As soon as an idea pops into your head either write it down or make a note on your phone. Don’t give yourself time to forget about your idea especially when you are in a creative state. You can’t always control when you will be in your most creative state so you have to build it when it comes.
- Change Scenery
A change of scenery can be a great way to open up your mind. Get up and take a walk. Go to the beach. Go to the park. Anything that will get your mind off your issue will help get the creative juices flowing.
If you can’t get away it doesn’t mean you can’t have a change of scenery. If you are at work you can always clean up your desk or do a little remodeling. If your work area is dirty or cluttered, it can really hinder your creativity.
- Read More
Reading stimulates the right side of the brain, which is the side that our imagination and creativity uses. Reading is a great way to build on your creativity. There are many things to read from blogs to news articles to old-fashioned books. Things like blogs and articles are great sources of short bursts of knowledge but sitting down reading a book exercises the brain more effectively. Although I prefer non-fiction books, fiction books are also great for stimulating your brain.
Some great books I recommend are:
- Don’t Immediately Disregard a Bad Idea
Sometimes good ideas start out as bad ideas. A bad idea may just need a few tweaks before becoming a brilliant idea. Take the time to follow a bad idea throughout completion. Ask yourself why it’s a bad idea and if there’s anything you can do to make it a good idea.
If this idea is someone else’s idea you want to make sure you are completely understanding what the other person is proposing. Take the time to listen to the whole idea. Too often we stop listening to what other people are saying and get into our own thoughts thinking about something else or what we are going to say next. This is one of the biggest flaws in communication. To find out more about how to become an awesome communicator, click the link.
Meditating is a great way to clear your mind. A clear mind is a more focused and creative mind. Not only does meditating allow improved focus and creativity but there are many benefits like relaxation and reduced stress. It is also something that can be done with a small investment of time. Ten to fifteen minutes of closing your eyes and clearing your mind can make a huge difference in your life. Check out this link to learn how to meditate effectively.
- Write More
Writing is much like reading in how it works out your brain. Writing anything will help strengthen your brain but writing fiction does a really good job of forcing you to use your imagination.
A great exercise for getting your creative juices flowing is to think about a movie you enjoyed recently. Now pick a character that isn’t the main character and write a story from his or her perspective. You can tell this person’s story from before the movie or continue after the movie. This is an easy way to get creativity flowing.
- Unlock the Power of Doodling
Doodling is another great way to unlock your creative side. You don’t even have to doodle something specific. Even just creating a design will be enough to work out your brain.
Doodling is also known to be relaxing and relieve stress. You can doodle while at work, watching television. Doodling can be done anyplace or pretty much anytime.
Wrapping It Up
You may be the type of person that doesn’t feel very creative but I’m here to tell you that you can be just creative as anybody else. Creativity is something that can be worked on just like any other skill. Just because you’re not a very creative person today, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a creative person tomorrow.
Follow the tips in this article to learn how to be creative and innovative to start seeing changes. After making an effort to be more creative, you may only notice small changes at first but the change in mindset will build upon itself. If you keep putting in the effort your ideas will get bigger and better.
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