While we live in an age of digitalization and globalization, innovation and technological breakthroughs are the new normal. There was never a time when creativity was more needed. Creativity is the one thing where humans are still better than machines and robots.
But what is creativity, and how to find your creativity? Get the ideas to unleash your full potential.
What is creativity?
Creativity isn´t about originality; it´s about adding value. When you look at the history of great innovations, you will find one thing that creators have in common, the ability to make surprising links between existing things and connect the dots in surprising ways. To do this, you need an open-minded approach that embraces randomness, chance, and lucky coincidence.
Knowledge doesn´t make you more creative
School is all about learning facts and knowing them by heart so you are prepared for life.
But now, the stored knowledge isn´t that valuable anymore because it is often just one click away.
Now what really sets us apart isn´t what we know but rather our ability to learn skills faster. There is a big difference between trying to teach a grandparent how to use a computer and how a small child instinctively knows how to use a smartphone.
Being a quick learner is necessary now more than ever in an age that is defined by technological breakthroughs. As everything is constantly changing and renewing, we need to keep up, and that gives young people an advantage.
What also helps is to listen carefully to the people around you and notice things that resonate with you and your creative instincts.
But remember, creativity isn´t about gaining more knowledge because a lot of information won´t make you more creative rather, you get even less creative.
Why? The more you know about something, the more you limit your thinking about it.
An example would be the taxi industry, where taxi companies have considered how they can renew the industry. But the most innovative new company was from the outside sector. It was Uber, a new business that opened up the taxi market to car owners and all types of people.
It is what made Uber's ideas partly fresh. The strategies weren´t limited to testing ideas on how to run a taxi business; rather, it frees up space to think creatively. The result? It is a brand-new service that benefits the common people.
Two are better than one
To get more creativity, you need to find someone to bounce your ideas off. Whatever you are planning, two will always have more ideas than one. But you also need to think carefully about whom you want to work with.
So if you need a video for your company, then you start a collaboration with a brilliant video artist. As you figure out who can help you archive success, you contact them and convince them to join you.
In most cases, you will be more creative when you work with others. It is called a sandbox model of creativity.
Think of children in a sandbox; their innovation can come fast. When one child starts digging into one side of the mount of sand, the other playmate is likely to start digging from the other side. What happens? Suddenly there is a tunnel.
It is a good example of how creativity works in a team.
Making space for more ideas
Most people treasure their favorite possessions because there are few things more precious than something you have created. This is a natural mindset, but it is often not helpful, as your best work is the result of letting go.
This is especially true for ideas because when you want to think creatively, it is all about finding new solutions. To get there, you need to throw out ideas that don´t work.
It is like a closet where if you have too many clothes, you need to free up space to buy new things, so you have to sort out old belongings.
If you want to get your creative juices flowing, it isn´t just about having courage. It is also about getting enough rest and relaxation.
Your brain doesn´t shut down when you sleep; rather, it remains quite active. When you sleep, your brain does the important work of organizing your memories and creating dreams. Those are the sources of inspiration you get.
However, because you do not continuously process these ideas, you can´t access them immediately. That´s why it is essential to take the time to relax and goof around. Those are often the moments when you get a flash of inspiration.
Lots of creatives get their best idea when they least expect it, like going for a walk or taking a relaxing bath.
The core values of creativity
Creativity is a lot of things, but it is not diplomatic and also not about money first.
To start being more creative, you need to say what you really think, so being really honest.
It is an essential skill in any creative process. Say you are in marketing, and you get contacted by a client that asks you to promote really bad products.
When you only look at the bottom line, you might well agree to the commission. After all, plenty of agencies, unhealthy, wasteful, and uninterested products, can be great moneymakers.
It is a huge waste of creative human resources.
You might not land the job if you are fully honest about the client's ideas, but you will save a lot of hassle in the long run. The good is you get time to work on something more meaningful.
Two other core values for creativity are love and respect.
No matter what you are producing, be it a product, building a brand, or making art or a movie, nothing will help more to reach and move your audience like love and respect.
Most Humans will appreciate these values as the survival of our species depends on them. Now and then, we are good at spotting these values when they emerge.
If you, as an example, only make movies purely for the cash, chances are high, it is pretty generic. But when you put some love and respect into your work, it is much more likely that you will produce something others will like and appreciate more.
So whatever you make, these core values should be at the heart of your work.
Relaxing is better than working
There are many different examples of getting inspiration when people stop thinking about a nagging problem. For instance, Paul McCartney has the melody for his song "Yesterday from a dream.
To be truly creative, you sometimes need to stop trying to create. Creativity is an area of your life where the Pareto principle applies; 20 percent of your work will end up producing 80 percent of the results. Resting will take up most of your time, but you won't have anything to show your efforts.
Creativity isn´t really a form of work. Rather you are more creative when you switch off your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for logical tasks like accounting and administration in your brain.
The reason is that part of your brain isn´t well suited for creative work. It constantly filters information out that seems irrelevant. However, this is the kind of information where creativity thrives.
There's nothing quite like letting thoughts mix with irrelevant information to spark the creative thought process. It makes doing nothing so important.
Whether it is simply relaxing in a hammock or sitting on your couch, anything, where you can switch off your prefrontal cortex, will be the first step to being more creative.
While a business account needs to be well-ordered and organized, creativity loves mess. That's why you need randomness in your life to awaken your creative side.
Sparking your creativity with boredom and making a mess
Accessing your creativity isn´t simple, as it often can feel like a locked system you have to hack into. But there are some try-and-test techniques you can start using
To unlock your creative potential, you should start by getting bored. It is a great way to stimulate your creative instincts. When your brain is feeling understimulated, there is nothing better than a good distraction.
An example to prove these theories would be the group of researchers from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. They gave two groups a couple of cups with the task of finding creative ways to use them.
While the first group was told to focus on the task simply, the second group was told to think about the challenge while copying numbers on paper from an endless list.
The result was the second group found much more creative ways of using the cups. Why? Copying down those numbers was so boring that their brains were desperate to do something else.
Another great way to stimulate your creativity is to have some kind of mess in your workspace.
No, it doesn´t mean emptying your trash over your desk. It is enough to place visually interesting objects in the room you work in. You need things that make you think when you look at them, like posters, magazines, artwork, and so on. It is often an unconscious process that triggers new ideas that you may even aren´t aware of.
Many people make more creative drawings when they work in a messy room instead of having everything in order. Good examples would be Google Steves Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg's desks.
How to find your creativity?
When you are feeling stuck and doubtful, you should simply switch off your computer and go for a walk. The streets and forests have long been an excellent source of inspiration.
Take philosophers like Rousseau, who argued that thinking only works well when your legs are moving. Or Nietzsche, who developed most of his ideas while walking.
You don´t have to work on a great theory of knowledge, but a philosophical mindset will help get you the most from your walks.
To get in the right state of mind, you need to notice what is going on around you. This means not rushing through the streets while listening to your headphones and thinking about your worries but rather start really looking at the world around you.
It is a long-time tradition of creativity to wander streets at random and look for inspiration from the sights and sounds they encounter.
When you head out, start by focusing on your senses. What can you see, smell, and hear? Once your focus is on what is going on around you, you can move on to the next stage.
There you will be wandering to try to find the answer to a question that is bothering you. Say you need a new idea for art design. When you stroll around and rely on your senses to guide you, you may get amazed at how many things can spark your imagination along the way.
Finally, you need to share your insights with someone. Tell the person about your experiences, what you smelled, the sights, the conversation, and the sounds you encountered. Remember, even small details can lead you to answer what you are searching for.
Creativity isn´t about Originality
Many people are obsessed with creative originality in a world where everything is supposed to be innovative and unique.
But if you try too hard to be original, it can be a trap. It is a big obstacle when you think everything has to be 100 percent original. Originality is basically a myth because many creative people are often prophets with obscure and novel ideas no one has ever heard before.
However, humans aren´t gods that are able to create something out of nothing; rather, creativity is a social and cultural process. Whenever someone creates, the inspiration and reference come from the world where they live in.
In other words, creativity means adding your own twist to existing things. All it takes is to combine two things in slightly different ways.
You find a lot of creative breakthroughs that result from the exact approach.
Gutenberg used two different ideas to invent the printing press. He used the flexibility of a coin punch and combined it with the power of a wine press.
So the good news is creativity isn't about thinking the problem through but more about trusting your instincts and creating a situation where inspiration can strike.
Pay attention to the moments when you get inspired.
While everybody works differently, you need to find a situation when your creativity is unleashed the most. When you experience these moments, make a note of what you were doing and when it happened. It may be the case; it happens when you are walking or dreaming, whichever it is. If you identify it, you can create a shortcut to access your creativity.
So make a little mess in your workspace or go for a walk and soak up the atmosphere around you. You will get surprised by how many ideas you get when you least expect them.
Q: What is creativity?
A: Creativity is the ability to generate new and original ideas or to make connections between existing ideas in a way that is new and innovative. It involves using your imagination to come up with new ways of seeing problems and finding solutions in creative and unique ways.
Q: How do I find my creativity?
A: There are many ways to find your creativity. Some surefire ways to increase your creativity include exploring new experiences and environments, taking time to daydream, giving yourself permission to create, and doing physical exercises to get your mind and body into a more creative state.
Q: What can I do to develop my creative skills?
A: Some of the best ways to develop your creative skills include engaging in creative writing, starting creative projects, and working to find your own unique way of seeing and approaching the world. Additionally, brainstorming and doodling can help to get your creative juices flowing and give you new ideas to work with.
Q: How can I tap into my creative genius?
A: There are many ways to tap into your creative genius, but perhaps one of the most important is to find your inner creative side and give yourself permission to create. Additionally, finding creative inspiration and exploring new ways of thinking can help you to open up your mind and tap into your full creative potential.
Q: What are some common ways that people find inspiration?
A: People find inspiration in many different ways. Some common sources of inspiration include nature, art, music, books, and other people. Additionally, trying new things and exploring new experiences can help to give you new ideas and inspiration for your creative endeavors.
Q: How can I get into a creative flow state?
A: Getting into a creative flow state can help to find your personal way of seeing the world and to engage in activities that you find motivational and enjoyable. Additionally, giving yourself permission to create and work on tasks that challenge you can help to get your creative juices flowing and bring you into a state of flow.
Q: What can I do to overcome a creative block?
A: Creative blocks can be frustrating, but there are many ways to overcome them. Some strategies include taking a break from your creative work to do something unrelated, brainstorming new ideas, and trying an entirely new approach to your work. Additionally, seeking out feedback from others or working with a creative partner can sometimes be helpful.
Q: How can creativity become a part of my daily life?
A: Creativity can become a regular part of your daily life by integrating creative activities into your routine. Whether it's writing in a journal, taking photographs, or engaging in creative thinking exercises, find something that works for you and commit to doing it regularly. Additionally, seeking out opportunities to engage with other creative individuals can help to keep you inspired and motivated.
Q: Is there a single "kind" of creativity?
A: No, there is no single "kind" of creativity. Creativity can manifest in many different ways and can be applied to various fields and industries. Some people are creative in the arts, while others are creative in the sciences or in problem-solving and innovation. Find your strengths and interests and explore how you can apply your creative ability in new and exciting ways.
Q: Are there any physical exercises that can help to increase my creativity?
A: Yes, there are many physical exercises that can help to increase your creativity. Some strategies include walking in nature, engaging in yoga or other relaxation techniques, and doing activities that require full-body engagement, such as dancing or playing sports. These exercises can help to clear your mind, increase your energy, and boost your creativity.