Catalyzing Creativity

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Creativity is an elusive and confounding idea for many people; even people traditionally deemed as “creative” will struggle, often painfully, in pursuit of this alluring idea.  I think in most people’s minds the first thing they tend to think of when they think of creativity is some form of art, whether it be painting, composing, dancing, writing, etc.  I think we all understand creativity as the ability or skill to rise above or go beyond ideas, patterns or relationships that have already been developed or conceived and create something new, unique and refreshing.  When I say that we can all benefit from thinking creatively in our jobs and our lives, even if we are not artists, it is obvious.  But, I don’t think most of us factor in creativity to our daily lives or even think that we are creative people just because we aren’t performing artistic feats normally associated with such a noun.  But, the truth is, every idea to do something different, or approach a problem uniquely is fostered through creativity, even if the idea or approach is just a rehash of an existing idea.  Rehashing is the very definition of creativity and is where many great items and ideas we use today come from.  For example, the microwave oven we use today was accidentally discovered when microwave radar transmitters were used to communicate during World War II.  But, through creative thinking an alternate use of the transmitter was conceived and now I can heat and eat my Easy Mac in mere seconds 😉

So, what can you do to be more creative in your life?  Well, I found this article helpful:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3001707/7-ways-stimulate-your-capacity-creativity?partner=weekly_10

The article has a lot of good suggestions for “improving your personal capacity for creativity and innovation,” but here are a few that I would add:

  • Change your routine – The article mentions moving or finding a new job, but I don’t think it has to be that extreme, just going to a different cafe or performing your morning routine in a different order can be refreshing.
  • Try something new – Maybe you’ve never tried dragon fruit because you’re pretty sure you won’t like it or you’ve never done indoor skydiving because you have no interest in it, but the more experiences you have to draw on the easier it will be for you to be creative.  If you only do things that you think will apply to your career or your life specifically, you may never know what sort of catalyst for creativity you may be missing out on.
  • Do the same thing, but differently – Find an activity or task that you do on a regular basis and perform it in a different way than you usually do.  Even if it is just mowing your lawn in a different pattern you may awaken your brain during a time that it’s usually on autopilot.

When all else fails, have a good cup of coffee, turn on some good music and find things that inspire you.  You can always get a creative jolt from the creative work of others.

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