One thing that happens to many people in life is they become so used to doing things a particular way, that they never really stop and think there may be an easier, better or more efficient way of doing the same things. Do you sometimes find yourself thinking if only I did this task ‘this way’, instead of the way I’ve always done it, maybe it would actually work better?
Creative people tend to ask questions that seek to challenge the idea that things can only be done one way. By forcing yourself to look at fairly common, everyday things from new perspectives, you can train yourself to believe that anything can be changed; can be improved. This is the essence of what it takes to become more creative.
Let loose; let your ideas flow freely. Spend a bit of time each day writing down any kind of creative ideas you find popping into your mind. Every time you think of a different way to do something you are already doing, even if you don’t try to do it differently at that precise moment, write it down. Practice doing this every day and start trying out some of your ideas to see how they work out. You never know what you’ll come up with.
Try this: Close your eyes; take a long, slow, deep breath in, hold it for a few moments then exhale slowly. Let your mind wander to a far-off place up above the clouds and imagine yourself floating from cloud to cloud. Say to yourself ‘relax, relax, relax’. Breathe in and out gently and imagine your body floating weightlessly in that magical place.
While you’re floating through the clouds start looking at them and try to see pictures in the clouds. Do you see a bird flying past, a car driving by or perhaps a blue dog? Each time you take a deep breath try to imagine silly pictures in the clouds. Try to see them as vividly in your mind as you can. Each time you breathe out, feel your body releasing stress and tension.
Trying to imagine things differently to how they appear in your reality is a good way of exercising your creativity muscles. You could try imagining that a dog that starts to moo; envision a purple cat with pink polka dots barking at you; imagine the people in the TV walking out into the room with you and sitting down to chat.
Sit back, relax and let your imagination run riot. Spend a bit of time just letting silly ideas flow freely through your mind. No matter how crazy you think this idea is, or seems to be, realise that you are only dreaming and you have complete control of how anything can work, change or become. As you do this, you will begin to realise just how much control you have over your own imagination – and hence, your ability to create.
Try to spend ten minutes every day for one whole week just doing this exercise. Once you start doing this you will be amazed at how quickly you will come up with solutions for many things you’ve been trying to figure out.
In addition, each day (for one whole week) try something completely new to you – even if it is something fairly ordinary. Perhaps, take a different route to work or take the kids to school a different way and see a part of the neighbourhood you’ve never seen before. Go to an art gallery or museum, take a walk in the park, smile and say ‘hi’ to everyone on the street – just try doing something different to what you normally would do. Yes, some people will think you’re nuts, but some of the best ideas come to you when you are playing.
Again, for one whole week, try looking at simple things around the house and think about how they were made and what they do. Then, try to think of different things you could do with the same objects, whether they were meant for that purpose or not. Think about how adding something to an object that’s already in your house would allow you to do something different with it. Give it a try, take at least one object in your house today and try to come up with something different it can do by just adding one little thing to it.
To become more creative, you need to be challenging your own assumptions and your perceptions about everything. In doing these little exercises, you will be training yourself to become more creative. So when you look afresh at those problems you have been struggling with, you are more able to see fresh perspectives, access new thinking and generate fresh ideas. Your mind is the greatest gift you have and your ability to think creatively is a key to you finding the route forward to your most important goals.