Practice #21: Every career requires creativity, and creativity makes a rewarding life. Whether it’s everyday problem solving, developing a software solution, designing a marketing plan or writing a book, creativity is vital. The flow of energy that feeds creativity must be stimulated and cared for with purpose. Try these five ways to encourage your creative thoughts.
1. Look around
Everywhere you go, notice colors, people, sounds and smells. What is the person on the bus or train next to you wearing? Tap your awareness of how the air feels on your skin today. Make a game of writing down the most interesting or unusual thing you notice each day. Experience the world in full sensory mode.
2. Ask questions
Develop curiosity with intention. Ask why you and your team began doing things the way you do. On your commute, look at the surroundings and wonder about the history of a building or business or a park. How is a particular object made? What problem needs solving? What would make it better? Imagine how something will or could be different five or ten years from now.
3. Do things outside your comfort zone
Creativity thrives on new input. Doing the same activities and routines makes us stale. Take a workshop in something new. Do an activity that’s exhilarating and maybe a little scary. Go on a zip line for instance. (huge fun!)
4. Seek out other perspectives
Read material that’s outside of your career or normal interests. Make a friend with someone from another political party, then have coffee with them and ask them without judgement about their point of view. Go to a TEDx event with speakers on several topics or watch speeches online.
5. Give yourself creative time
Find an activity that lets ideas flow. I get my best ideas while walking. The fresh air and the physical freedom of being outside untethered to a desk makes my ideas flow. I often dictate ideas into my phone so I capture them in the moment. People in Portland who are out at the lunch hour may have observed me stopping on the sidewalk to dictate into my phone. There’s science behind the relationship between walking and creativity. A Stanford University study documented that walking, whether indoors or outdoors, instead of sitting stimulated more creative thought.
When the weather’s good, I sit on our deck with a notebook so I can capture ideas. For you, it might be listening to music, meditating or talking to a friend with whom you brainstorm ideas. Whatever activity you choose, always keep a physical notebook, your phone or other device with you to capture ideas. Play with whether you like to write ideas in a book, type or talk into you phone’s note section or make audio recordings of your thoughts.
Do you have an example of an activity that gets your creative juices going? Share it in the comment box below.
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