When we are engaged in the act of being creative, we feel we are performing at the peak of our abilities. Creative works give us insight and enrich our lives. (Davis G.A & Scott J.A1971).
Few years back , my idea of creativity was restricted to the artisans and painters.
Over the years as I grew, I realized that this unique talent is required in almost every field of life if you wish to stand out from the crowd.
Be it the school project, a high school presentation, a sales pitch, figuring out a puzzle, or preparing your favorite dish, it is creativity that adds the sparkle to your otherwise mundane jobs and makes people look up and notice . No wonder jobs that do not involve creativity are increasingly getting automated and moving to lower wage countries.
The creative job industry represented over 11% of U.S G.D.P (Gantchev, 2007) Creativity is not only restricted to classroom learning but also to critical informal learning like learning a language, how to behave at dinner table, how to make friends and engage in group play (Sawyer, 1997b). Over the years I devised a little program for myself to recover from burn outs and unleash my creative side.
1.Accept your creative instincts:
This is the first and most important step in the creative process to fuel your creative spirit. It is important to accept that creativity is not a copyright of a select few but a habit and a practise that can be developed and nurtured with practise by anyone including yourself. Once you are convinced you are the next Mozart and Picasso in the making, you are on the roll.
2. De stress, day dream and wander:
Once you accept that half the work is done because your mental blocks against your own uplifting have been removed. The next important step in this journey is to de-stress and free your mind to make room for incubation of new ideas.
The perfect creativity inducing breaks are the ones that engage you without mentally exhausting you from the activity. Sit back, Relax, go for a long walk, meditate, enjoy a catnap, take a hot shower, exercise just let your mind wander. Research suggests that happy and positive mindset spurs creativity.
These positive peak experiences also known as ‘flow’ contribute to a happy, fulfilling life ( Csikszentmihalyi, 1990b). The trick is to make the right setting for yourself that boosts your mood and lets your creative juices flowing.
3. Bring in change:
Be it your morning routine, your office work or your evening workout, incorporate a fresh perspective of doing things, devise your own new ways of executing your daily routine.It is also a great way for not getting stuck in old habits and learning more effective ways of doing things.
4. Cut out the distractions and abandon the clutter clouding your mind:
Have you ever wondered why we close our eyes when in deep thoughts or trying to figure out a problem. Its because we tend to turn inwardly to find a solution or an answer in the form of an insight. But the pre-requisite to have an original insight and experience the eureka moment, is to practise our thoughts in an distraction free environment.
5. Know that you don’t know:
A lot of creative urges are suppressed by the intelligent mind that labels your own ideas and thoughts stupid even before you could reflect on them. It is therefore important to get into an “unlearning mode” where for sometime you pretend to yourself that you don’t know and every activity and every task you take up now is a fresh start and your first attempt much like a toddler exploring things with a fresh view.
Imagine yourself to be a toddler running around, picking up new things and wondering what to do with them. If you are to come up with something unique or different, it is important to leave behind your preconceive notions that block your creative paths.
6. If you don’t ask the answer is always NO:
When you stop thinking what others will think and just focus on your thoughts , you will come up with a lot of questions , don’t be afraid to ask them. Question how things are done, why they are done that way and are there any better ways of doing them?
So go ahead….ask as many questions you can think of, stop fearing it will make you look silly, and even if you feel awkward enjoy being curious!
7.Think Multi-directional :
It is important to give up on your linear line of thoughts and start thinking in every direction or horizon possible. This can help you come up with a lot of new, original and innovative alternative methods to same problems.
8. Fill your box of Feelings :
Focus on how it makes you feel. Go through your life a little more aware and open to your surroundings, the events that happen , the objects you encounter, the people you meet and try to remember how they make you feel. Fill your box of feelings with as many emotions, likes , dislikes, and experiences you can.
This experience is what will bring out your creative best because the broader your spectrum of experience the better its projection. The way we think is influenced by a lot of external factors without us even knowing about it, but if we are unaware of our surroundings we miss these factors and along with them the opportunities that lay in front of us waiting to be discovered.
9. Set the stage to put on the creative cap:
Even the most ‘Eureka Moments’ come from extensive planning.
Otto Loewi came to be known as the “Father of Neuroscience” after he discovered that nerve impulses were transmitted chemically, not electronically… all thanks to a dream.
But the fact is,he had been working on this problem every waking hour for the last 15 years.
So while a number of creative discoveries were made by great scientists and innovators during a walk, a drive or a nap, they had been putting in committed efforts on those problems for years before.
Like any other habit, the practise of being creative involves preparation, planning and execution.
10. Creativity is not about creation:
One of the greatest myths about creativity is that it is about creating, discovering or inventing something new and unique but in reality that’s just one aspect of it. For a lot of people, creativity means improvement on something existing. Its about creating new, better and efficient ways of doing the same things that have been done earlier. Its about creating a better system to run your life, an organization , a country or the world.
11. In the end, don’t look for an end:
The essence of Creativity lies in the creative process and is not dependent on delivering a final product (its not a manufacturing line)…..so don’t go around looking for one! The greatest achievements of experiencing a creative surge is the joy of doing things in a better way and improving your life through your own efforts.