Most people want to increase their creativity. Creativity, just like writing, public speaking, or goat herding, is a skill that can be developed and improved with effort over time.
Besides being a skill anyone can learn and improve, creativity is also variable and fluid; depending on our mental energy, motivation, and circumstances, it can come and go like the ocean tide. However, by taking a few simple steps, you can develop a little more control over those tides.
Here are some techniques that can help you increase creativity.
1. Change Your Perspective. Imagine you were somebody else. How would they approach your task? Would a person of a different social background, gender, race, or nationality approach what you’re doing in the same manner? When you change your perspective and question your assumptions about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do a thing, you’ll begin to see multiple solutions to the same problems.
2. Free associate. On unlined copy paper, write down everything that comes into your head. If possible, fill an entire sheet with ideas. Don’t edit yourself or censor what you think are bad ideas. You will only have good ideas after you have a lot of bad ideas. If you like, you can use mind maps.
3. Keep an Idea File. You can’t always create on demand. Sitting down and staring at a blank screen is hard, but when you have a pile of undeveloped ideas, you always have something to draw from. Keep blank paper and pens handy, and carry a notebook with you wherever you go.
4. Keep Your Life Rich. Whenever you can, attend concerts, go to art galleries and museums, meet friends, and read great books. Alter your routines and the routes you take. Try new foods. Give yourself a little unstructured free time.
5. Imagine Your Outcome. When you start thinking about the final destination, you’ll begin to see the different paths you can take to get there. What do you want as the final result of your project? Personal satisfaction? A marketable product? A world-changing work of art?
6. Put In the Hours. The more often you do something, the more likely you’ll find inspiration on a regular basis. The more time you spend actively seeking and developing new ideas, the more new ideas you’ll have. Look at the most creative people in any field, and you’ll see they have put in thousands of hours.
7. Listen to Classical Music. Studies have shown that listening to some types of classical music gave temporary increases in problem-solving abilities and cognitive functions to college students. Putting on Mozart, Bach, or Vivaldi on the stereo is like an on-demand creativity boost.
About the Author
Seth M. Baker is a freelance writer, musician, and teacher. After spending a year in Seoul, Korea, he returned to Appalachia to focus on writing and entrepreneurial projects. To learn more ways to increase creativity, visit his site Happenchance, a resource for creative people.