Today we are talking about strategies to boost creativity, because this is not just a skill needed by artists and musicians and such. Creativity is not just about paint on a canvas or movement to music, it’s about looking at things from a different perspective and finding innovative solutions to problems.
Ten Strategies to Help You Boost Creativity
Creativity is kind of like a muscle, in the sense that the more you use it, the fitter it gets. When you don’t use it, it tends to get flabby. So if you’ve been struggling with a creative slump lately, I have ten strategies to help you start working those mind-muscles and get your creative mojo flowing again.
1. Get out of your comfort zone
The thing about creative skills is that they need to be used, and they need to be stretched. And that means you need to be willing to take risks and move out of your comfort zone once in a while in order to grow those skills and boost your talents.
2. Embrace failure
The fear of failing in your efforts or making some sort of mistake can be really scary for some people. Oftentimes, that overwhelming fear will actually keep us frozen in place and prevent us from doing anything at all. But when you start worrying about making mistakes, remind yourself that failure is part of the process, and that every master was once a beginner. It is only through the experience of actually doing that you will increase your creative skills.
3. Be prepared when inspiration strikes
Always carry a notebook and a pencil around with you – that way, when you get a creative idea while away from your desk, you can jot it down so it won’t be lost. Don’t worry if you come back to it later and think it’s ridiculous… a lot of your random ideas will be, but the brilliant ones you do come up with and record this way will be worth it.
4. Map it out
If you’ve never used a mind map before, today’s a good day to try it out. Mind maps are a kind of brainstorming technique, but they give you a very visual way of understanding how your ideas connect and where they can lead to. Start by writing a topic idea down in the middle of a sheet of paper. Next, write related words or ideas around that central topic and link them together. You can keep branching your ideas out as far your creative little mind will take you.
5. Stay positive
Although society seems to have some romanticized notion of the brilliant but melancholy artist, the reality is that positive moods do more to increase your ability to think creatively than negative moods do. Apparently, even just thinking about love, for instance has a significant effect on people’s ability to come up with innovate solutions to problems.
6. Restrict your options
You’d think that having no restrictions and endless possibilities open to you would be the holy grail of creativity, but studies have shown us that, in fact, the opposite is true: limits tend to spark the creative fire in people. So if you really want to boost creativity, restrict your options. Instead of thinking outside the box, do the opposite and make that box as small and confining as possible. Challenge yourself by limiting the number of colours you can use in a design, or the number of words you can use in an article, or the number of components you can use in a design, and then see what you come up with.
7. Seek inspiration
Creativity often needs a spark to set it off. Look for new sources of inspiration to help you come up with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. Visit the library and check out a few books about the subject area you’re interested. Or visit a museum or art gallery. Or attend a lecture or debate. Find ways to expose yourself to novel situations
8. Get outside
Nature has a wonderful way of inspiring creativity in even the most creatively exhausted individuals. Get outside and just go for a walk. Let the fresh air blow the cobwebs out of your mind – it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re having trouble thinking. Not only will the change of scenery shake up your creativity, but the exercise will help get your blood flowing and bring more oxygen to your brain (which will also help you think)!
9. Try a new perspective
If you’ve got a problem to solve, try looking at it from a different perspective. Put on different hats and think about how other people would approach the problem For example, how would a kindergarten teacher approach this problem? What would a doctor think about it? What would a construction worker do about it? Imagining yourself in another role can often shake things up a bit and allow you to think in new ways about the problem at hand.
10. Think about others
One of the best ways of boosting creativity is to think about who will be using your product or creation. When we think about our problem from the perspective of the people for whom we’re creating solutions, we often come up with more novel and interesting ideas. So, even if you’re creating something that will only ever be used by you, try to think about how someone else would use or enjoy your creation; it will help you come up unique ideas to try out.
So there you have it: ten tips to boost creativity. Next time you find yourself feeling low on innovative energy, give these strategies a try and unleash your inner creative genius!