People are either creative or they’re not, right? Well, not exactly. Creativity is a skill that can be learned, and absolutely everyone has creativity locked within them.
Below you’ll find the top 8 ways to unlock your creativity.
Every child is creative. They paint, draw, sing, dance, make up games and play in imaginary worlds. For many, however, this creativity disappears during their school years.
The reason for this, according to experts, is comparison and judgement.
As little children, we are free to experiment, to question and come up with creative answers, to play, to draw and to express ourselves.
But once we are in a classroom the comparison begins, and ‘is this good?’ becomes a question.
Most children also experience creative criticism, where at some point, a teacher or a classmate judges their creative work as bad. Here they learn that they “aren’t good” at creative things and they give up.
So, the first step to unleashing your creativity is to stop judging it. Perfectionism and judgement will stop creativity dead in its tracks.
You may not be Picasso, but who cares what other people think. Don’t censor yourself. You should be creative because you enjoy it and because it’s an expression of who you are.
The space that we occupy can either enhance our creativity, or dampen it.
There is a reason companies like Google feature spaces which resemble adult playgrounds, complete with slides and basketball courts. These spaces boost creative juices, encourage playfulness and prod people to think differently and more innovatively.
Add some colour to your home, some puzzles to your desk, or even a Rubik Cube, or origami paper to your space.
Make the places that you occupy spaces that not only free you to be creative and think differently, but actively encourage it.
Never stop asking why
Creative people are always asking why. Why is the world the way it is? Armed with questions they use their minds to imagine possible answers, to explore and to experiment.
Creative genius Leonardo da Vinci is just one example of someone always asking why. His journals are riddled with thousands of questions, musings, experiments and imaginings.
As adults, if we want to unlock our creativity we have to allow our minds to be curious and explore. By continually asking questions, we stoke the fire of our imaginations and creativity.
A question a day
Get yourself a notebook or a journal and once a week spend a few minutes writing down five questions. Use the week to explore, imagine and experiment with the answers. These questions can be about anything, as long as they are interesting to you.
If you want to add some creativity to solving problems, one easy way to do this is to take a problem or a question you are thinking about and reverse it.
Henry Ford did this with car manufacturing. Once upon a time people surrounded a car to assemble it. This wasn’t the most productive way to do it. So when thinking about the problem of productivity, Ford turned the problem on its head. ‘What if the car moved to the workers?’ The solution he came up with was to have the car moving to people at assembly stations. And that was the birth of the assembly line.
Drawing and making up stories can fire up your creative brain and if done regularly, can have you thinking more creatively.
- When you’re watching TV, listening to music, or even in a meeting, get a pen and paper and doodle. There’s a lot of science which backs up the fact that doodling can enhance creativity and memory.
- Creativity researcher, Bob McKim, created a game designed to boost creativity, called the Circle Test. For this, draw 30 circles on a page, then give yourself one minute to make those circles into as many things as you can imagine. Faces, tables, pizzas, fishes, whatever you can imagine, draw. Don’t judge, just draw.
- Get out of your linear thinking by picking 10 objects at random and in five minutes make up a story about them.
Bad ideas are ways to get to good ideas
For every good idea out there, there are 1,000 bad ideas that came before it was found. Don’t be afraid of coming up with bad ideas, the important thing is just to keep going, eventually you will land on a great one.
Having bad ideas is part of the process of coming up with a great idea.
Sometimes a change in perspective is exactly what you need to boost your creativity. Sit on the floor and observe the world from the ground, go out into nature and look at a flower in all its fine detail, go for a walk on the beach, anything different from your usual groove.
Learn something new
Learning a new skill or language pushes us out of our comfort zones, challenges us creatively and causes our brains to form new connections.
Why not take up a class in drawing, dance, pottery, poetry, or drama? You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your creativity levels.
It doesn’t have to be a Picasso
We all seem to have this idea that creativity is big art, big ideas, big works, but in truth that is just one small part of creativity.
You can be creative in your cooking, in the way you question your surroundings, in your clothing, or in the way you decorate your desk. You could be creative in painting your drawers, in how you sing along to Frozen in the car, or the way that you make up bedtime stories for your kids when you tuck them in.
To be creative is to express yourself as a human being, and that is not limited to the Picassos, the Spielbergs and the Steve Jobs’ of the world, it’s open to us all.
You can be creative in little ways every single day, in the way that you express yourself and in the way that you enhance your life.
It’s time to stop judging yourself and start expressing who you are. Get started now.