How To Be More Creative
7 Techniques To Supercharge Your Creative Thinking
When it comes to creativity, whether we realize it or not our brain often takes the path of least resistance (just like many people do with their lives!).
Our brain attempts to slightly alter or reframe existing ideas of ours or things we've seen and claim them as unique and creative... this may be of use on occasion but how do they true innovators do it? How can we come up with a crystal clear, entirely new design, idea or thought?
Give the following 5 techniques a try to boost your creative thinking, whether it be for brainstorming new ideas for a college paper, design principles for your new website, a bleeding edge new product, the process of boosting your creativity remains the same.
The endorphins released from elevating your heart rate seem to have a profound effect on creative thinking.
Get running, rowing, cycling or whatever other form of cardio takes your fancy.
It's well known and documented that high intensity interval training is the most efficient, superior means of cardio for burning calories... however I find in order to get a boost in creative thinking I need to maintain a steady state of cardio.
A 5 mile steady state outdoor run, keeping my heart rate at a moderate pace and pumping nutrients around my body leads to a boost in creative thoughts and ideas for me time and time again.
Fiction, non-fiction... it doesn't matter.
Read a book, not online gossip or a magazine.
Reading new ideas, be they fact or fiction assists in generating new ideas and thoughts of your own.
When reading ensure you're relaxed and not caught up on a busy subway or attempting to shovel down a bulking meal while pressed for time.
Find a comfortable reading chair, sit down and read without any tight time limits and have a notepad and pen on standby (you should keep one of these with you at all times).
I recently documented my experience in a DreamPod, a sensory deprivation tank.
Floating is well known to increase creativity, making it a regular routine for writers, artists and entrepreneurs.
Floating in 300kg of epsom salt at body temperature in the dead silent dark produces a feeling like nothing I've ever experienced before.
As sight, hearing and touch are eliminated it's just you and your mind - allowing you to brainstorm, critique, assess and think without any external stimuli to distract you whatsoever.
You don't have to travel around the world to boost your creativity via sightseeing, just place yourself in a location you haven't seen or explored before.
A new part of your city, a different down, a hiking trail or view you've never experienced.
I live in a fairly isolated city, and within 30 minutes of driving there's always new sights and places to explore and take inspiration from.
Backtrack To Uncover Your 'Muse'
We all have a proverbial 'muse'.
This could be a place, a person, a particular item, memory or thought that helps us unlock our ultra producing, creative side.
Think back to times you've had grand ideas and thoughts in the past - where you in a particular location? With a particular person?
By backtracking on previous ideas we can potentially identify our muse (if you don't already know what it is). Once we've identified what our muse is it's time to replicate this environment, item, memory or person to unlock your creative side once again.
Work With A Clean Slate
Clutter creates stress, open loops and distraction - whether you realize it or not.
We're not just talking about physical objects here either....
Excessive possessions, thoughts or projects left half finished leave us feeling stressed and anxious - consciously or sub-consciously we're (or at least I) are not able to create and span new ideas when we're distracted by those outstanding possessions and thoughts.
Work with a clean slate, both physically and mentally.
Read GTD (Get Things Done) to learn all about closing and deciding upon open loops you've left in your mind, tidy your workspace and remove all unnecessary clutter, decide what you're going to do with those other projects of yours... it doesn't matter as to whether you're abandoning them or finishing them as long as you make a definitive decision as to what you're doing - instead of leaving these questions constantly ticking off in your mind.
Restriction (Deadline, Limits)
It may sound counter-intuitive to the creative artist, whether it be creative thought for a book, painting, essay or new product... restriction can actually make the creative process easier!
Limiting your time frame, colours or word count can increase your creative thought as we've got a set agenda to adhere to, as with unlimited choice and no restriction paralysis by analysis often sets in.
A great example of this is Dr. Seuss, setting himself the audacious goal of creating a best-selling children books with UNDER 50 words in total. Dr. Seuss came out with 'Green Eggs & Ham' which, decades later remains a children's classic and best-selling book.
This time it’s a wager. “I’ll bet you $50 that you can’t write a book using only 50 words,” said Cerf. He knew that Seuss had used a whopping 225 words in The Cat in the Hat, which had recently been published, and he knew how Seuss had struggled with that one, so the $50 seemed like easy money. Yeah... easy money for Seuss!
Restriction channels thought, no limits can leave us spreading ourselves too thin in terms of thought.