Being creative is not about art or design.
It’s the ability to to expand beyond your personal perceptions of the world, to gain inspiration and knowledge from everything around you.
As Masaru Ibuka famously noted, “creativity comes from looking for the unexpected and stepping outside your own experience.”
The notion of “creativity” have been studied world-wide, and scientists have seen that those that are creative are happier, and more enriched.
So with all things supporting being creative to be a skill to have, we’re about to thrown down some tips on how you can uplevel your creativity.
All backed by psychological research, here’s how:
Look at the Problem from Different Angles
Our brains are wired for linear thinking – the fastest, easiest way to get from A to B – to preserve our energy and prepare us for the next problem.
However, what if the fastest way doesn’t work this time?
What if there’s an obstacle (whether that be cash flow for a new project, or the literal couch that was on the highway this morning blocking morning traffic) blocking that path?
Instead of viewing an obstacle with blinders on, re-conceptualise it. This is how creativity is born, finding new ways to tackle new or existing problems. And research shows that those who define themselves as creative are actually much better at doing just that.
More than their non-creative counterparts, they’re able to take their time to assess a situation and examine the problem from multiple angles before undertaking any action. This includes analysis from different perspectives, from people with different personalities, different backgrounds, and different viewpoints. Think about how they would respond.
By maintaining open-mindedness to any and all solutions, you’re allowing yourself to move beyond the typical cut and dry approaches in order to come up with the best resolution.
Move, Move, Move
So. It turns out that getting your steps in isn’t just good for your waistline.
In addition to the great benefits of weight loss and stress reduction, being active could play a role in people not only thinking outside the box, but removing the box entirely.
Ever had a great idea while doing the most mundane activities?
Something as simple as walking your dog or doing household chores (or taking a stroll to a nearby happy hour – just an example!) gives your brain a chance to rest and more opportunity to expand beyond traditional linear thinking.
By including movement into your day to day, you’ll set yourself up better for overall mindfulness and a reduced response to anxiety, thereby allowing for greater mental clarity.
And…. enter creativity.
Rising Above Adversity
At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all faced difficult situations. However, it is the truly great who get knocked down seven times and stand up eight, those who turn that suffering into fuel for success.
In fact, scientists have studied the phenomenon: post-traumatic growth. When a particularly difficult situation arises, studies show that the body’s reaction to cope with stress may be through increased creative engagement.
And we’ve all been there. You’ve been assigned to complete a proposal that has a 3-hour turn-around, or your computer crashes right before a deadline, or you lose one of your biggest clients.
As Woody Hayes once said: “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.”
Instead of sulking, take a deep breath and look at the resources at your disposal and turn the obstacle into a soul-cleansing positive. And you’ll be in good company. Like Walt and Oprah and Jordan, be the person who stares down their obstacles and thrives.
Challenges are difficult. But by looking at a problem from a different perspective, taking a walk around the block, and continuing to persevere (and not necessarily in that order), you’ll be able to expand beyond your own experience and use the world as your creative oyster.