So you want to be more creative? It may not be as hard as it sounds. Like so many other things in life, there are steps you take to train your creative muscle.
- Want it. Do you even want to be creative? If so prove it to yourself by living a life that embraces for creativity. If you're all about following procedures and/or cleaving to bureaucratic processes, then that will have to change. Instead, adopt an attitude of flexibility. Welcome spontaneity. Have somewhat of a rebellious spirit against conventional norms. In short, teach yourself to be original, rather than continuing in any kind of “same old” routine.
- Motivate yourself. If you want to be successful in general, then you probably already know about this step. You probably won't become successful by accident, and you certainly won't become creative by accident. Take another look at the suggestions in Step #1, and follow those suggestions consistently and with some degree of self-discipline.
- Stimulate your brain. There are several ways to make this happen. One way is to learn something new. You can do that by attending a conference or taking a class on the subject. You can also stimulate your brain by reading about other creative people and industries. In my case, I clip (print out) images that I find creative and post them around my desk as daily stimulation.
- Rub shoulders with people who are creative. It never hurts to engage with role-models and people who have the creativity that you currently are striving for. You might learn some things about them that you can use yourself to become more creative.
- Be part of a team. You'll get perspectives, feedback, and ideas you would never have conjured up on your own if you become part of a team. All of that brainstorming can stimulate your own creativity, providing you with original solutions to problems, and also creating seed thoughts which can be used in your own creative ventures. Your team can be your traditional work team or it could be friends, family or an online group of strangers.
- Have some self-confidence. Remember, “can't” is a four-letter word. If you don't believe in yourself, then it's likely that you won't ever be creative or successful.
- Be happy. Research shows that positive emotion enhances creativity. This point might be difficult to follow if you are under a lot of pressure or emotional stress. If that's the case, then it's important to focus on the positive things in life. Strive to ensure that happy thoughts are predominant in your mind, rather than worrisome or sorrowful thoughts.
- Downtime. There's been a lot covered here about diligence, perseverance, and commitment. But it's also important to remember to take some downtime. Sometimes, the brain just needs to step away from the problem before the light bulb goes off.
These steps are by no means exhaustive, but they're a great start. If you have other ways to be more creative, please share them.