What makes some people more creative and successful than others? Is creativity something genetic and does that mean those who aren’t blessed with this gene are doomed to never be creative or successful?
Well, the simple answer is that creativity is something which we are ALL born with but some people lose it more than others as they grow older. If you observe young children playing you’ll know what I mean when I say we all start with a propensity for some kind of creativity which is usually fueled by curiosity.
Many people lack a creative spark because they stopped doing the simple things which lead to creative ideas in the first place.
Most people, as they grow older start to develop bad habits or a limited mindset maybe because they are in a job they don’t like or a difficult financial situation. As time goes by, the curiosity they had when they were children diminishes and with that so does creativity.
Instead of using their curiosity and creativity to investigate ways to improve their lives these people give up trying but they also wish things could be different.
A lot of people also believe that to achieve true financial or other success you need to invest a lot of money in the first place or have to go to a top university so that you get the right job in the right company.
The reality is, that at this point in time in the evolutionary scale of technology, everything you need to make you successful is readily available at your fingertips from the Internet in the comfort of your own home. We can even go so far as to say that the Internet is the new “University of Success”.
A little over a decade ago you could be excused for believing that you needed to attend some sort of college or university to learn the necessary skills to help you succeed, but now that’s not true anymore.
For a fraction of the cost of a regular university or college course, now you can teach yourself a new skill or get full guidance and coaching online without having to leave your home.
All that is needed on your part initially is some curiosity and action to get you started.
The list of 10 important tips pointers below which I’ve compiled from various successful people will help boost your creativity and re-charge your motivation:
1. Restrict yourself
Most people naturally take the path of “least resistance” and build off of older or existing concepts when brainstorming, which can lead to less creative ideas.
In order to put the brain into overdrive, you can mimic Dr. Seuss and place restrictions on yourself while creating, which will prevent you from falling back on past successes. If you usually write 1000-word short stories, try to create a story in under 500 words. Only use a small handful of chords in your song or colors in your design. The limiting nature of the task can bring out your most creative side.
2. Re-conceptualize the problem
Researchers have noted that creative people tend to re-conceptualize problems more often before starting a creative task. As Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Instead of looking at the end goal of a creative project (i.e. “I need to create a memorable painting”), it’s better to re-visualize the problem from other, more meaningful, angels before starting (“What sort of painting would evoke the feeling of loneliness that we all feel after a break-up?”).
Oftentimes, the best approach is to picture the intended audience of your next creative project. What inspires them? What are they sick of hearing about? What are the problems they face but are rarely able to talk about?
3. Separate work from consumption
It has been shown that we are particularly terrible at creating when we try to combine the gathering of information and actual creation. Researchers recommend only consuming information in an “absorb state” where you are not attempting to multitask.
In essence, the absorb state is a form of “batching” that emphasizes forced consumption over output. No interrupting yourself to start working on segments of your project while you are consuming information, instead use tools such as Evernote or Pocket to remember key ideas, insights, and articles that you will apply later when creating.
4. Stay positive
Although negative moods can sometimes spur creativity, researchers have found that it is during strong positive moods that our best creative work is done. In fact, the feeling of love or even thinking about love was shown to best encourage creative thinking.
Getting yourself to a “positive place” is not as trite as it may sound—any number of mood boosters (quick exercise, envisioning the future, recalling good memories) will do the trick to influence your mood, and your creative efforts will be at their best when your attitude is positive.
5. Use counterfactual thinking
Counterfactual thinking, also known as asking, “What might have been?” has been shown to increase creativity for short periods of time. To experiment with this technique, take events that have already happened and re-imagine different outcomes, alternating between the subtractive mindset (taking elements out of the event) and the additive mindset (adding elements into the event).
A silly example of counterfactual thinking in action can be seen on The Big Bang Theory, when one of the main characters makes a game of the phenomenon, asking his roommate: “In the world where Rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the Second World War?” You, however, can apply it to more realistic scenarios, such as mapping out outcomes whenever you are doing creative problem solving, subtracting or adding “what if” elements that would have affected the outcome.
6. Daydream… after getting started
Research has shown that daydreaming can help with creativity, it is important to note that studies have revealed that daydreaming only works when you’ve already committed effort towards a project. The reason? Daydreaming can be beneficial because it allows for the incubation of ideas. But incubation is only effective when we already have information to chew on. So be sure to get started on your project before drifting off.
7. Think about others
Research has shown that this “psychological distance” is an important part of being creative. For instance, one study found that people who thought their work would be used by someone else came up with more novel ideas. Conversely, those who were told that they would be using their own creation later came up with less novel ideas.
One such test in the studies above included telling participants that their drawings would later be used by other subjects to create a story. Those who had been told this came up with much more “creative” drawings (as evaluated by a selected board). When creating, even for personal projects, think about how someone else will enjoy, use, and incorporate your creation into their lives.
8.Try something new for 30 days
This is a great suggestion which I recently heard a presentation from Matt Cutts who is a search optimization engineer at google. Trying something new for a month is a fantastic way to re-build your creativity and whet your curiosity. This can also help you discover the thing that you love doing in case you weren’t sure what it was to begin with.
In terms of the Internet, there are countless of free and premium courses and products available in which you can learn or discover a new skill which you can use to enhance your creativity.
9.Do what you love
People who make a living from doing what they love instantly have a head-start on those who hate or are indifferent to their jobs. Apart from the fact that you feel good doing what you love, you also have no negative baggage which comes from the stress and resentment of doing something you don’t like.
If you don’t know what you love doing, then maybe applying point 1 above might help you.
10.Keep your goals to yourself – at least in the beginning
Sometimes when you decide to muster up the courage to try something new it’s a good idea to keep your goals a secret initially. This may sound counter-intuitive because most people think that by making their intentions known they can increase their visibility and hence their chances of success because somebody out there might offer some help. Well, that’s true to an extent but in a lot of cases the people you might be sharing your goals with might not have the same enthusiasm and mindset as you, and quite often they will try to talk you out of your “crazy ideas” and tell you that it’s just too hard.
Therefore, unless you’re certain that you are talking to people with a similar attitude as yours, hold on to your goals and plans until you’ve put them into practice.
Bonus 3 tips on Creativity
When you start digging deeper into something out of curiosity, you usually find that not only do you enhance your knowledge about that thing but sometimes you might come up with creative ideas which you would never have thought of if you hadn’t indulged your curiosity.
So next time you are reading or watching a tutorial about how to do something for your blog, why not delve deeper and experiment with what you’ve learned and see what happens.
Improving yourself both in terms of knowledge and, in general, can only serve to benefit you and those around you. Most of us are increasingly becoming aware of the huge economic changes sweeping the world’s societies in terms of employment and what it means to be financially secure. Having a regular job for 20, 30 or 50 years until you retire is a thing of the past. The new reality is that people who can re-skill quickly and who regularly add to their existing skills will be better off in today’s economic climate.
The ability to focus determines the outcome of the task you are trying to accomplish. Therefore, whenever you set yourself a task, see it through to completion by doing regular highly focused little chunks at a time. Doing small manageable chunks can make the highest mountain seems like a molehill.
How about you?
What do you do to put yourself in the best mindset to generate new ideas? feel free to comment and contact us.