Everybody in the world has the potential to harness their creative ability - for some it’s just easier than for others. If you’re hoping to live a more creative life, know that there are things you can do to spark inspiration and entice more ideas into your mind. You might be considering shifting into a different career path involving more creative work. Maybe you want to get the creative juices flowing to help with a personal project you’re working on. Or perhaps you just want to embrace your creative nature to add a bit more fun into your daily life. Whatever the reason, by the end of this blog, you'll know how to unlock your mind's creative potential on a daily basis - in any situation you might find yourself in, on any given day. Let's dive in!
Go for A Walk
Let's start with the most basic activity you can do to clear some space in your mind. It might sound simple, but that's because it is. But don't let its simplicity fool you. Many people dread the idea of going for a walk when they are stuck on their latest creative project. But have you ever heard the term thinking on your feet? Going for a walk is the best way to do this.
When I say go for a walk, I'm not talking about walking over to your treadmill and doing a few steps indoors. I'm talking about leaving your home and stepping into the great outdoors (ideally while leaving your phone behind so you can really relax). Breathe in the fresh air and step out into the world. There's something about fresh oxygen in the brain while moving that just seems to calm the mind and help tap into creativity. You'll be surprised at the ideas you'll come up with. Get inspired by your surroundings and give yourself time to think. In this way, walking is like meditation! It helps to clear your mind - which means there’s tons of space for creative ideas to spark.
Adopt a growth mindset
One of the best ways to bring more creativity into your life is to change your mindset. Stanford professor Carol Dweck developed what we know today as the Fixed vs. Growth Mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe they cannot change their traits, learn new skills, and improve their circumstances. Those with a growth mindset believe the exact opposite. They have more of a belief in self-determination and tend to be more willing to try new things and make mistakes to achieve what they want to. A growth mindset can really help you improve your creativity. But we're not talking about trying new things in this section. We're talking about being willing to try, being willing to make mistakes, and being willing to be a beginner at something.
The only way to adopt this mindset is to take on a more positive view of the world and then put that into action. How? By trying to turn something you've been putting off doing into an opportunity to grow. Why not dive into something you've been thinking about doing for ages? If dive is too strong a word and you feel you need to take smaller steps, then that's ok too. To get a "can do" attitude, you'll need to practice it every opportunity you get. Keep at it, and before you know it, you'll have a more adventurous, opportunistic, and growth-focused mindset that will help pull more creativity into your daily life.
Diversify your interests
One of the ways we summarize creativity is by describing it as "interested in ideas". In that way, it’s a lot about curiosity. Creatives love thinking and coming up with new ideas and fresh takes. But new ideas aren't born in a vacuum, so you'll need something to start you off, something to connect to. That thing is knowledge. Creativity requires a foundation to work from, and knowledge is the perfect foundation for building creative ideas. One of the problems people who are less creative bump into when they try to become more creative is a lack of interest. We can't help what we're interested in, but we can find new interests we didn't know we had. Let's take a look at a few ways you can diversify your interests.
Firstly you could try watching something on a topic you've never looked into before. Try something that you're curious about before you jump into something you have no interest or curiosity in whatsoever. This way, you might be able to avoid tripping up at the first hurdle. Another way is to talk to people in your life that you see fairly regularly and also people that you don't know so well too. It's surprisingly easy to forget that other people live and have lived complex and interesting lives. People have a wealth of interesting knowledge to share, and many have quirky and fascinating hobbies. Conversations with people like this might just be the spark you need to find a few new interests to gain a larger wealth of knowledge to fan the flames of your creativity.
Shake up your routine
We can all pretty much be defined by what we do on a daily basis. This is because what we do daily is programmed into our brains. As the mantra goes, you become what you practice. Disrupting the programming can be anxiety-inducing as you invite the unknown into your life. But by doing this, you open up a whole new world of possibilities. The unknown is simply everything you don't know about.
Our advice is always: do what you can manage. If after you feel like you can do more, then give it a shot. Perhaps start by disrupting your daily routine by waking up a bit earlier and starting your day with a walk or a workout. It might not sound like much of a disruption, but you will feel it if you're used to waking up just before you start work. Maybe try having lunch somewhere else during your workday. Small practices like this are great for having new experiences. Admittedly they might not be what you would call life-changing, but they're a great start to get you in the right direction.
After a few minor disruptions, you'll feel brave enough to tackle something more significant. If you're a music fan, go to a gig by yourself during the week. Try a few other evening outings, go to the theater or cinema, or join a book club, or a drama group. Anything that comes to mind when you think of inspiring creativity!
Creativity is a strange thing. It’s very hard to practice and quite unpredictable. For example, creative ideas tend to pop into our minds at random moments throughout the day. You’ve probably heard that the best ideas come to us in the shower, right? They wait in our subconscious, and jump into our minds offering bursts of insight or inspiration. It’s pretty cool when you think about it - but not always ideal. Ideally, you want your most creative ideas to come to you when you’re in the middle of doing something creative… writing a song, painting, or coming up with a new product line, for example. So how can you access this part of your mind at the most convenient time? The answer is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a state of mind where you focus on and are aware of only the present moment. Calling your creative subconscious with a noisy mind in a distracting environment is difficult. With mindfulness, you can turn down the volume of the noise in your head, and tidy up the clutter in your mind. You can dig deeper into your brain to pinpoint those creative ideas. And there are a few ways you can practice mindfulness on a daily basis. One is to try out a few breathing exercises when you have some time alone. You can also listen to calming music or a guided meditation - or, as we discussed earlier, take a walk in nature. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things! Test and try things out to see what works for you.
Creativity is the product of divergent thinking. Thinking outside the box and coming up with wacky ideas to solve problems in new and innovative ways. In order to get the most out of a creative mind, you'll also need to keep an open mind. Many creative ideas are often decried as stupid or quickly dismissed as something too far out there to even be considered. But just because the ideas aren't fully understood in the here and now doesn't mean they're bad ideas.
Keeping your ears open and listening is a great way to keep your mind open. This way, you can really consider the ideas of others and your own ideas too. Ideas you create yourself can also be easily dismissed by you. Remember, unusual ideas can be the solution to problems in your life that you haven't been able to solve using more conventional ideas. So the next time something interesting pops into your head as a potential solution to a problem. Give it some thought, give it some time, and consider it an option, as daily problems in your life often require a creative solution.
By putting these tips into practice on a daily basis, you'll be able to increase the amount of creativity you have in your life. This could go a long way in helping you feel more confident when it comes to solving problems and engaging in creative pursuits on your own or with friends and colleagues. Knowing you can hold your own in creative endeavors with others will spur you on to continue to be creative in many different ways and change your life for the better.