Do you put yourself in the ‘not creative’ pigeon hole?
Thank you, David. Because as it happens, we’ve got a couple of things to say about that, too.
Firstly, pigeon holes are for…pigeons. Not humans. So stay away from those. Secondly, don’t fall into the trap of confusing creativity with artistic ability. You can still be creative when your best drawings are stick figures.
In fact, every job needs a liberal sprinkling of creativity. Some more than others, of course, but effective problem solving, innovation and fresh ideas don’t happen without it.
The good news is we can all cotton on to our creativity. It just takes some practice to warm up, strengthen and maintain those magical mind muscles.
4 sure-fire ways to crank up your creativity
Whether your creativity is sitting just below the surface or buried deep inside, it’s in there (really). And these 4 habits can do wonders for digging it out.
1. Be ok with unplugging (or just doing nothing)
Sitting at your laptop, shoulders up to your ear lobes and jaw clenched probably won’t produce your most creative ideas.
Though it seems counterintuitive, taking time out can actually unlock a growth mindset. In fact, letting your brain relax and wander is often what sparks creativity in the first place.
Leave the phone at home, get outside and change up the scenery. Rake up the leaves you’ve been meaning to do. Or simply do something that doesn’t require conscious thinking (dirty dishes: we’re looking at you).
Whatever you do, it’s time to make time: for working hard AND taking it easy.
2. Let’s get physical
Aside from the obvious body benefits of physical activity, your mind needs it, too. Getting the blood pumping energises every muscle (brain included), puts you in a better mood and gets your creative juices flowing.
Are you a ‘you never regret a swim’ kind of person? Get your togs on. Prefer staying on land? Go for a walk or run. Or dance, get your yin on at yoga or try your hand at fencing. It really doesn’t matter.
Just keep your body healthy and your mind will love you for it (and probably come up with a bevy of breathtaking ideas, too).
☕️ A note for all the coffee lovers out there: The caffeine hit is real – we wouldn’t dare suggest otherwise. But don’t replace active pursuits with a cup of the black stuff, under the illusion that it’s the same thing. It’s not.
3. Steal like an artist
To be clear: we’re not proposing you do the old copy cat trick and blatantly thieve ideas from your competitors.
But the truth is, nothing comes from nowhere. You’re a product of your experiences and what you absorb around you. So use it!
Reflect on the places, people and things that inspire you – and make them part of your everyday life. Learn from them all and see what happens when you layer a bunch of their ideas together.
Take photos, save screenshots and file away relevant articles, podcasts or TED Talks. Keep it all in one easy-to-access spot, so you can pull out what you need, when you need it.
4. Sharing is caring
Teamwork presents its own unique set of challenges (criticism, conflict and communication issues, anyone?). But you know why we all persist with it? Because collaboration gets results.
If you’re feeling unsure about an idea, bounce it around with someone. Get their feedback and refine along the way. And be available to offer the same generosity to others.
Humans aren’t meant to be siloed; we’re made to come together, learn from each other and build connections.
There’s nothing wrong with showing vulnerability. In fact, it’s key to developing trusting, empathetic, strong relationships.
So put your ideas on the table and see what happens!
Even stick figure artists are creative
Creativity isn’t just for advertising agencies and architects. It’s for all of us, no matter our roles, industries or experience (yes, even if we can’t draw to save ourselves). And when you make a habit of practising those creative muscles, you’ll start seeing real results!
Still not convinced of your creativity? Check out these creative crankers:
📚 Read: Creativity, Inc by Pixar founder, Ed Catmull
💻 Watch: Kickstart your creativity playlist
🎧 Listen: Creativity is a team sport podcast with Greg Hoffman, former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike
🧠 Remember: ‘Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.’ Albert Einstein