The Secret to Being and Thinking Creatively

by STEVE BLOOM
 

Whether we realize it or not, creativity has affected our lives in many ways. All the technological advancements around us were the result of someone thinking creatively. All the best works of art were too. The very word “creativity” means to bring thought into reality; something from nothing. It’s the source of all mankind’s greatest achievements.

Creativity is an important characteristic to have. It is important to many employers who see innovation as a way to grow their business. Not only that, but creativity can define how we see ourselves and our role in the world.

How to Think Creatively

Thinking creatively isn’t as hard as you might think. One of the best ways I think creatively is to ask questions. I am constantly asking questions about things going on in the world.

For example, when I was working at one company I asked a question to myself about the operations. I thought about how time consuming and inefficient things were. I came up with several ideas about how to speed up the process and implemented them. I ended up saving the company about 20 hours of labor a week.

Questioning things around you makes you use your creativity more often. When you ask questions, you have to come up with answers to them. This causes you to use that area of the brain more frequently which makes it stronger. It’s similar to a weight lifter who constantly trains their muscles; the more you use it, the better it becomes.

Expose Yourself to New Ideas

Another way to think creatively is to expose yourself to new ideas. It’s similar to the expression, “you are what you eat”. If you expose yourself to the same ideas from books, TV shows and movies, you are going to stunt your creative growth.

Expose yourself to new ideas everywhere. Go to a museum and see works of art or at least visit Mark Hardin’s Artchive, a great website showcasing many great works of art. Read magazines that you don’t regularly read or have an enlightening conversation. The more places you expose yourself to new ideas, the more likely it is that you’ll spark creative inspiration inside yourself.

Keep in mind creative inspiration can come from more places than works of art such as literature, paintings, music and film. Creative thought comes from new ideas that can come from anywhere. Some of the most creative ideas I’ve exposed myself to have come from such unlikely sources as economics and technology.

Ultimately, anything that opens your mind up to new ways of thinking can expand yourself into new worlds of creativity. The more ideas and ways of thinking you have the more associations you can make between two differing ideas. The science fiction writer Thomas Disch once said, “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” And that’s one key to creativity, combine two seemingly different things in a flash of brilliance and insight to create something completely new.

For example, imagine two of the most unlikely combinations of creativity – art and technology. What could they possibly have to do with each other? Well, an art movement around the turn of the 20th Century in Italy took love of technology, speed and machines and integrated those ideas into art.

The movement was called Futurism and the artists were inspired to do great paintings, sculptures, poetry, interior design, fashion, film and even gastronomy. That’s truly a large stirring of creative input and output.

Think Creative by Being Creative

The next great step in thinking and being creative is acting on your creative thoughts. After exposing yourself to many different things, you’ll want to use all those ideas and start creating. Now is the time to choose how you’ll express yourself.

There are many ways to act creatively. Creative hobbies like painting, writing, photography, bonsai trees, gardening, cooking, pottery or gardening can all be great ways to get the creative flow going.

Being creative is just as important as thinking creatively. They are two sides of the same coin. Asking questions and exposing yourself to new ideas is only the beginning of creativity. Expression is the other. The more you do both, the more creative you’ll become. The more creative the hobby lets you be, the better it will be for your creativity.

Understanding the Benefits of Creativity

Creativity is one key aspect of anyone who wants to live their life to the fullest. The ability to connect ideas and thoughts together and express them is important.

For example, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook while he was at Harvard. Harvard is a great place to expose yourself to new ideas. Fortunately for him, he took two different ideas: friends keeping in touch and the internet – and created an empire.

Do you think he would have come up with the idea for Facebook without exposing himself to all those ideas? Possibly, but unlikely. He also had the ability to express his idea and follow through on its implementation. Now, his creative ability links millions of people around the world.

That’s the power of creativity. It can change the world. From all the greatest works of art to every technological advancement, creativity has been the force behind them all.
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Comments

  1. I really like the mention of – exposing yourself to new ideas. I can tend to get so wrapped up in the every day that taking a step back to something new always has an unexpected and welcoming effect on my day to day life.

  2. It’s refreshing to read something like this. As Miranda said, we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts that we forget to be spontaneous and actually do something different. For some people it’s writing a little story, for others, it’s redecorating their living room – but really, creativity is for everyone and everyone should give it more space.

  3. @Eurotrip Tips

    I like what you said there, “give it more space”. That’s the way I think of creativity. You need to open up your thoughts and do something different. That makes more space for new creativity to come from.

  4. Steve,
    great post and reminder to look for alternatives in how we do things and solve problems. Strangely, I find my most creative ideas often when I’m doing something non-related to that issue. For example, I’ll be taking a walk and then out of nowhere a creative idea will pop in my mind. For that reason, I keep a little notebook with me at all times, because I never know when inspiration will strike.

  5. @Mary R

    I agree with you on what you said. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I wasn’t even thinking about them. It’s like an idea or thought just pops into my head out of nowhere. This is actually talked about in the book “Think and Grow Rich” which I recommend.

    I don’t carry a notebook around since I just make mental notes. It works pretty good, but every so often I’ll forget something. Maybe I should carry a notebook around too.

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