Being creative isn’t just about painting a picture or writing a story. It has to do with how we solve problems, interact with others, and even how we nourish our own spirits. Whether you want to increase your current level of creativity or just to find more direction and focus for it, using this plan can help you tap into your creative mind to do new things and make discoveries on a daily basis.
Each day, find a few minutes to simply be still. We have so many thoughts racing through our minds that they often compete with one another for our attention. Giving yourself permission to simply be still allows for those thoughts to quiet long enough to regain some mental energy. How many times have you been looking for a solution to a problem, only to have it pop into your head when you were doing something entirely different? Being still allows your subconscious to work through thoughts and ideas without the stress of actively trying to come up with an idea. Try meditation or simply reading a book for a few minutes a day in order to relax.
Look for Alternatives
There are many ways to perform a task. Even if you know the “right” way to do something, challenge yourself and cultivate your creativity by looking for alternatives. Just because you always drive a certain way to work or school doesn’t mean it’s the only path that will get you there, for example. Try asking yourself, “If I couldn’t do this the way I usually do, what other methods might work?” This doesn’t mean you have to try something different, just that you are exercising your mind in order to stretch your creative muscles. This is a fun exercise because you don’t really have to take time out of your day, rather you can just let your imagination wander while you’re engaged in other activities.
Use Brainstorming Techniques
Whether you’re interested in trying something new for dinner or you need a fantastic out-of-the-box marketing campaign for a product at work, brainstorming is a powerful tool. The simplest idea is probably to make a list of possible solutions, although using stream-of-consciousness writing, mind mapping, or doodling on paper are all fun ways to explore new ideas. The key to brainstorming is that you don’t censor your ideas. If you think of it, add it to your list, mind map, picture, etc. You can go back later with a more critical eye. By not editing your thought process, you can come up with ideas you never would have considered, many of which can prove incredibly creative and workable.
Let Yourself Be Inspired
Surround yourself with things that make you feel inspired. Quotes, photographs, and even toys can be great for jumpstarting your thought process and cultivating creativity. As you look through inspiring images or read words that encourage you, your mind will be making leaps that allow you to integrate the things you love into your life. Inspiring people are helpful, too. Try putting yourself into someone else’s shoes and imagine how they would approach a specific problem or situation, and you will likely come up with new ideas of your own.
Children are arguably the most creative people around, and it’s no mystery as to why. They don’t have the same limiting thoughts we have. They believe in magic, use their imaginations all day long, and have a great time pretending. Allow yourself some time to play every day. From dress up to toys to having an imaginary tea party, pulling yourself out of your daily routine in order to do something FUN can be just the ticket you need to cultivate the creativity you’re seeking.
These five exercises are all simple, and most of them can be easily incorporated into a normal day. Each of them challenges your mind to think in different directions and to remove the limits we often place on our own thinking. After all, cultivating creativity is all about thinking in new directions.