Some say creativity is a gift. Others may see it as a curse. I value creativity as a dreamscape and here are my notes to help you do you.
What is creativity to me? The ability to describe the invisible. To be able to recognize what is missing by seeing what isn’t there. We all are creative but sometimes we treat it as a disease. We tend to pity the dreamers who can’t capitalize on it. However, a rich imagination builds a wondrous world where anything is possible.
Here are 7 practical tips to nurture your inception:
1. Listen to new music: I take a different run route every week. Try to mix & match outfits as often as possible and gamble on diets.
Why: Our brain is like any other muscle in our body, it only grows by resistance. Therefore you have to actively feed it new pathways and discoveries. Be wary of routines, they are the sedative to serendipity. Only use them to be more efficient in boring stuff like brushing your teeth. Or try brushing with your left :).
2. Talk to people. I listen, really listen carefully and transport myself into their universe.
Why: Introverts are seen as naturally creative creatures and their secret is listening. Have a genuine interest and empathy for others. It will enable you to have new experiences which will seed your inventions.
3. Avoid safe: When faced with 2 choices: known and unknown. Depending on the context, I always force myself to go for the unknown.
Why: It’s the only option that will provide you an opportunity to learn. It’s the main reason why established companies only manage one disruption in their lifetime. That is usually when they startup.
4. Be open: I summon my inner child and suppress my life experiences for as long as I can before I pass judgment. I like being wide-eyed wowed all the time and I don’t much care if others perceive me to be naive.
Why: You should actually always reinvent the wheel but questioned it each time. It is only a total waste if you did not learn that you don’t need a wheel. Celebrate and savor your many trials and errors because innovation is often the byproduct.
5. Force pause: Avoid pressure and take breaks. I wrote here about kicking my smoking habit. I did not mention it most beautiful side-effect: a 5 minute -albeit drug induced- charge of inspiration.
Why: Although constraints can be a source of creativity, time pressures mostly speed up the idiocy of finding the safest solution (3). I can’t remember ever having a flash of brilliance when forced to have one.
6. Let it Flow: I shower (7) with my splash-proof iPhone so when I get hits, I immediately jot them down and shelve them.
Why: Don’t delay or get distracted in capturing your lightning. Don’t worry about getting the entire concept or finishing your idea on the spot, just trust your instincts. You eventually be inspired again and be able to piece it back together.
7. Find your dawn: Early in the morning, late at night or after each nap I get bursts of brain waves. In the shower or the bathroom..well, you catch my drift.
Why: Finally, perhaps the single most effective tip I can provide is my discovery of not why I’m creative but when. As said: we are all creative but we, unfortunately, suppress our creativity by seemingly more important thoughts. I just love to surrender my mind to fancy so please indulge your fantasies.
Remember, your ingenuity is an irrational thunderstorm of thoughts, while computers are the opposite: logically calculated algorithms.
So our creativity just may be one of our best ways to outsmart robots.