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5 Techniques to Improve Your Creativity
However creative you may be, there will be times when you feel a dearth of creativity. Perhaps you need to motivate yourself, or you’ve been working too hard, and feel “tapped out.” It would be a good idea to take a break before attempting work again, but the following techniques may also help give you that added boost of creative power.
1. Daydream: Think in the abstract.
Amuse yourself by daydreaming. Look around you, focus on an object or person and create a story behind that “character.” Do this via free association or by practicing abstract or divergent thinking. A black cat in the literal sense can merely be a pretty pet, but it can symbolically mean good luck (based on Japanese culture) or bad luck (based on Western culture). Go wild: the cat is a fairy or a witch or a witch’s familiar; perhaps a person cursed to take on an animal form, or a shapeshifter; maybe a beast that steals the souls of unwitting humans, or turning the latter on its head, a guardian that defends a gifted boy against creatures of the night. Let your imagination loose as an exercise in creativity and do not be afraid of being silly when you brainstorm.
2. Collaborate: Bounce your ideas off someone.
It’s true, “two heads are better than one.” Find yourself a devil’s advocate if you need to. Knowledge sharing and instant feedback enhance innovation. Moreover, there’s a healthy dose of competition too when working with a partner. You could generate creativity simply by making a contest of it. Try to outdo each other. You may agree to work on a winning idea, or have a go at separate projects.
3. Emulate: Find inspiration from “the Greats.”
Face it, there are many creative people out there, and countless more who have already secured a place in history. Learn from them. This doesn’t mean you ape their eccentricities (e.g. carrying a pair of doll’s undies in your pocket like the novelist and poet James Joyce reputedly did) but take inspiration from their creative journey, their struggles and triumphs. Cull interviews for tips. And if you come across something that may sound worth trying, if only because it promotes health and clear thinking – like Paul McCartney kicking the cannabis habit in February for his daughter, or similarly, Anthony Bourdain quitting smoking for his own daughter – then why not?
4. Meditate: Discipline your mind.
Meditation enhances cognitive ability, and this includes creativity. But while talent may be inherent, discipline has to be developed and reinforced. Meditation keeps the mind focused, perception sharp, and memory keen. Meditation also increases emotional tenacity, thus managing excitability, restless anxiety and depression. Substance abuse due to pressures from work becomes less compelling to practitioners. Also, creative minds that meditate tend not to lose the novelty factor in what they do: somehow, they always find ways for appreciation and wonderment, rather than tuning out because of the assumption of having experienced it before.
5. Experiment: Be creative in other ways.
Don’t limit yourself. Fatigue is one barrier to creativity that you can avoid simply by taking breaks, or focusing on something else for short periods of time. You can be creative in other ways; you can use your creativity to pursue other interests. The best thing about expanding your creative bubble is that you have an opportunity to practice your creativity in novel ways, even within the same sphere. For example, if you play the piano, why not attempt the guitar, or sing? If you’re a writer, why not attempt photography, which may eventually be an asset to your writing? If you’re a numbers cruncher, why not attempt cooking – where measurements and calculations are also vital, and a highly organized mind is an asset? You are not creative simply because of what you do, but how you do it. Problem-solving is also creative, and you may have a knack for making mobile applications or software that will help in specific tasks – care to try it? Anything’s possible.