“Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” -Robert Kennedy
Being creative is about being innovative in a way that is original and effective for generating the result you desire. Most people think of creativity in terms of the arts. But, you can be creative in every part of your life. Being Creative requires that you work toward uniquely solving problems.
The current situation with the coronavirus, and the civil unrest due to the murder of a man by a police officer, has put the spotlight on the need for leadership to solve problems uniquely.
Yet, most leaders look to the past to solve current problems. This cognitive trap is called the Einstellung effect.
Dr. Abraham Luchins in 1942 conducted a classic experiment that illustrates the Einstellung effect. He gave people 3 water jars and asked them to solve a problem. To solve the problem, they had to use 4 steps.
The same people were given another set of jars and asked to solve another problem. This problem could have been solved in 2 steps, but the vast majority of people used 4 steps based on the original problem.
What about you? Are you looking to the past to solve current problems?
Here are a few tips to unleash your creativity:
Set Up Your Environment for Creativity – You need to know how you work best but also inform yourself about the science of creativity. Most people can be more creative if they are in a comfortable, safe environment that is void of distractions. Try what works for most people before you try something different.
Also, you can make a shift in your current environment. I rearranged my desk in my home office this past weekend. I noticed that I was more creative in the newly created environment.
Get Out into Nature and Unplug – If you’re having trouble focusing, take 15 or 20 minutes away from technology and get out into nature. You can walk, or just sit in the park, or gaze at the sky. It’s up to you, but studies prove that humans need more nature in their lives to boost creativity.
Get Moving to Create Energy – If your energy levels are down, go for a fast walk or a jog. If you don’t like doing that type of exercise, find something that you do like. Do something that requires movement so you can boost your energy and think better.
Schedule Being Creative to Develop a Habit of Creativity – You can schedule creativity. Many famous designers, writers, and artists set certain hours to work on the creative part of their job. They set the hours and then work creatively during the set time. They’ve become creative on demand because they have created the habit of creativity.
Challenge Yourself – Sometimes, if you get stuck in a rut and cannot find a way to be more creative, it helps to challenge yourself. You can do this by taking a course, joining a contest, or even by joining a mastermind or hiring a coach with accountability. You can also challenge yourself by trying to create the opposite view of what you would argue. Using this technique could release the creative juices.
Collaborate with Others – If you’ve been doing things alone, sometimes bringing in someone to work with you can energize your mind. Just getting another perspective on things can assist in seeing things in new ways.
Asking other people for feedback can also help you notice things that you didn’t realize before.
Be More Curious – Keep learning, keep exploring, and continue being curious about the world. Explore the things that are important to you. Whatever brings you joy is something you could be curious enough about to keep learning more.
Don’t wait for creativity to manifest on its own. It’s not magic. Everyone has creativity inside them. Training yourself to be more creative in every part of your life is entirely possible.
Given enough time, you can be amazingly creative in both conforming and nonconforming ways.