Creativity is often quite mysterious and unpredictable. Ideas will come and suddenly disappear when you need them most. We all know that feeling, sitting in front of a blank page and just…yeah… sitting there waiting for the brilliant idea. Since I have this problem myself, I thought why shouldn’t I gather some intelligence and share it with you guys. So, here is my guide to boost your creativity!
1. Be a daydreamer
Creative people know that daydreaming is more than wasting your time, even if we were always taught differently. ‘Wandering’ through your mind, while you daydream, helps to connect the different thoughts and be innovative. You’ll see a connection between different ideas and tasks.
A study made in 2010, published in Psychological Science by researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute, showed that daydreaming requires more cognitive “power” than normal creative tasks. Daydreaming will also help you to get a better working memory.
Daydreamers mostly have the ability to concentrate on more than one task. This ability makes it possible to connect other, seemingly irrelevant ideas, to your current task and create something new. So, the next time you have some time, let your mind wander around and see what you’ll find.
2. Watch your surroundings
See the worlds as a playground. Everything should be interesting and you can use your surroundings as a source of creativity. I found, that it’s really hard to achieve a state where you can get “food” for your brain just by watching your surroundings. So, I made a little list to help you out. Things you should try
Be a human camera! What would be the best photo you could take right now? Ask yourself this question, while you go on with your regular day. Maybe just take a real picture?
Take notes, everywhere, anytime! You see something interesting? Write your thoughts down.
Find the details. What makes it “look good”? Understand the connection between the small objects and don’t overlook them.
“Details create the big picture”, Sanford I. Weill
At first, I felt like an idiot doing these tasks outside, where everybody can watch me. But trust me, if you are a creative you will find something amazing and beautiful everywhere. Some of the greatest ideas mankind had (exp. Velcro fasteners) are the products of a sharp eye.
3. Find your perfect work hours
Many big authors said, that they can work the best in the early morning hours. Research into the human body showed, that the best time is indeed early in the morning.
The reason is simple: we have a limited reserve of willpower, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Starting early with the most important task of the day will help you to maintain willpower. Try to Being creative after work or school is often difficult and most of us are “not in the mood” to do something creative.
Schedule your day starting with the cognitively demanding tasks (writing, being creative, etc.) and end it with more easy ones (sports, watching a movie, meetings).
Since creativity peaks in the morning a daily routine is highly recommended. This could also explain why we get the best ideas while showering. Eating breakfast before 8:00 a.m. and starting your creative work between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.. This works for me, but you should always find your own way.
4. Seek for something new
Doing the same stuff, going to the same places – this will lead to little or no room to move. Humans love to stick with things they know, and even if it’s important to have a daily routine, breaking out and doing something refreshing will boost your creativity. We often call this being “open minded”. Personally, I don’t like this term since it comes with a spiritual connotation.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”, George Bernard Shaw.
But being “open minded” doesn’t necessarily means traveling to India and taking LSD like Steve Jobs, “finding yourself”. It can be anything. Painting your room, changing the curtains maybe? Taking a hike, meeting new people, eating exotic foods or just listening to new music.
Self-reflect and see what you desire. No matter how you decide, always try to leave prejudices behind. I found, that just talking with complete strangers about my ideas inspires me. They got a new and detached view.
5. Be willing to fail
“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often”, this is a quote by Steven Kotler.
Taking failure more seriously than success is just anchored in our DNA. After we f*cked something really up, we assume the worst. The end of a career, relationship or anything we care about. But let us see: what was the last time you felt broken? And how did you overcome that feeling? In retrospect, it wasn’t so bad and we recovered. We always recover, and at best we even learn something while failing.
Stop comparing yourself with others and accept that failing is part of life. You’ll always find somebody, who is bigger, better or faster than you. Sometimes we lose track of all the small successes, because we are still seeking for the big catch. “Comparison is the death of joy.”, Mark Twain
Be grateful about every small step you take and suddenly the stars are not so far away as you initially thought. Success is measured on your scale. Don’t compare yourself with others, but instead concentrate on your own journey, on your own creativity.
Some final thoughts: forget the “How?” concentrate on the “What?”
It all starts with a tiny, mostly stupid idea, then one thing leads to another and suddenly, you created something amazing. Don’t think about how you will achieve something, while your mind is racing. Always assume that you have all the resources you need, and never hold an idea back. “What” is always more important than “How”. Maybe this example will help to make my point clear.
Asking for permission is harder than apologizing afterwards. Don’t ask life for permission, just do it. If it goes wrong, we are back at point 5, making mistakes.
After all, I wish you all the best with your creativity! Let me know what helps you in the comments below! Keep it up!