It’s pretty common to wish for more creative ideas. It may seem like some people are just gifted with creativity and others are not. Although some people are born with a higher degree of creativity, everyone possesses the gift of creativity. It’s just a matter of how to harness it. This is where some people struggle. It’s not necessarily because they are not having creative ideas, rather it’s because they are not giving their minds the right environment and fuel to be creative. Unknowingly, those people aren’t giving their brains a chance to be creative.
Creativity is a skill like everything else. Like a muscle, you can build up creativity over time with persistent practice. However on the flip side, if you don’t use this muscle it will atrophy. For many of those who struggle with creativity, it’s not that they aren’t creative. Rather it’s the creativity muscle has atrophied so much that they fail to recognize that it’s there. Let’s talk about how to put your mind in the ideal environment to come up with more creative thoughts and ideas. Then, we’ll talk about how to practice this skill over and over until this muscle is big and strong.
Perhaps it’s more important to first discuss what not to do if you want to be more creative. For starters, get off any screens. This may sound harsh but it’s a crucial first step. You see, having a constant stream of stimulation from screens, whether it’s the TV or phone, will only numb your mind. Since you have plenty of stimulation from the screens, your brain shuts off. With the TV’s and phones glaring in your face, there is no need for your brain to create its own stimulation. Your idea muscle is being rested. And too much rest will cause that muscle to disappear. So, first things first. Shut off the screens.
The next step is to be alone. Yes, some people will argue a brainstorming session with a group of people sparks creativity, right? Yes and no. A brainstorming session is great for sharing ideas, but the ideas come before the session even starts, or when the participants are alone. The brainstorming session is just the sharing part. The creative part has already happened at that point. With that being said, sharing ideas in a brainstorming session is good for building on other people’s ideas. In other words, building on someone else’s idea with your own ideas, hopefully making the idea more valuable. But, the real creative work is actually done before the brainstorming session while you’re alone with your thoughts. This quiet time alone creates a stillness in your mind that facilitates the perfect environment for coming up with creative thoughts. A quiet mind is a creative mind. Being truly alone in quite with just your thoughts will eliminate any outside pressures to think a certain way, giving you the optimal mental state to think for yourself.
Two other techniques that have proven to be beneficial is to go out in nature or to get some exercise. Both of these methods work in similar ways. They both require time away from any screens and they both are activities that produce dopamine in your brain and reduce stress. In other words, being in nature or exercising is a great formula to put your mind in a good place for new ideas. There’s no mystery why many ideas come from nature. Ideas like planes or camera gimbals or Velcro. In nature, your mind is at ease without any distractions.
I encourage everyone to find some time alone for themselves just to stop and think. Put the screens away for now and take a nature walk or post up on a hammock under the clouds. Whatever you decide on, be sure that it’s just you and your thoughts. It may seem weird at first and that’s OK. If it’s weird, then it means that it’s new to you and maybe you should do more of it. Quite your mind. This has a tremendous effect on creativity as well as overall wellbeing. Stressed out at work? Take an hour to yourself to just sit outside and think quietly. This time alone is so important. I have benefited greatly from this principle of stillness in the mind and you will too. Good luck.