Updated: Nov 19
To boost your creativity, only two things are needed. First, it’s important to understand how creativity happens. And second, once you appreciate what causes creativity, do those things frequently.
Most people out in the world assume that creativity is something that you’re either born with or aren’t. In reality, creativity is a learnable skill like any other.
Creativity happens through the same learning and association process as everything else that we do. So if you’ve been feeling stuck or you’re unsure of how to tap into your creativity, you can follow the tips in this article to get unstuck.
In this article, I’ll give you some tips on simple things you can do to effortlessly boost your creativity.
And if you need extra help, I’ll tell you about how you can get that help.
The nature of creativity
Creativity happens when we combine two or more different things in new and unique ways.
There’s a problem though. Raw creativity by itself is often not helpful. What’s needed is targeted creativity that in some way expands the human experience.
In order to have useful creativity in a specific area, it’s important that we first become an expert in that field. If we don’t take this step, we have no way of knowing whether what we’re doing is genuinely valuable or is just nonsense.
Fortunately, most of us are already experts in the field in which we’d like to be creative.
Being an expert brings its own challenges. Every field of human endeavor has set ways of doing things. As we become more expert, we tend to become more set in those ways.
In order to be creative, we have to find ways to break free.
So with that in mind, here’s the underlying pattern to increase your creativity:
Become an expert.
Go out and find something new.
Apply that something new to the field in which you’re an expert.
I appreciate that this probably sounds simplistic, and that’s because it is.
The secret lies in appreciating that something new can be anything at all. It could be that we simply look at a different color and notice all the shades. Or maybe we go for a hike up a mountain and notice the patterns in the leaves and the path of a stream. We might even meditate and explore something intangible.
When we come back to our field of expertise, we hold that experience in our thoughts for a few moments. This causes associations to happen inside our brains. And that leads to creativity.
Most of the skill is becoming more creative lies in building habits around exploring new things and then automatically applying those new things to your field of expertise.
All you really have to do is not stand in the way.
And because of how creativity works, if you can learn new things, you can become effortlessly creative.
As you’re reading through these tips, think about how you could implement them into your own life. You can even apply the creative process to come up with new ways to enhance your creativity.
Modify your environment
One of the easiest ways to enhance your creativity is to change your environment.
Switch up your work environment with plants
Studies have shown that when we’re surrounded by plants, it can have a significant positive effect on our mood and overall well-being.
The presence of plants can also enhance our creativity. For most of us, they are quite different from our everyday work environment of desks, buildings, and technology, and that difference leads to an automatic boost in our creativity. Plants are extremely complex, and the almost infinite variety leads to a steady stream of new associations for our brains to latch onto.
If you don’t already have plants, get some, and then spend a little time decorating your workspace with them.
Get out of the office
When we’re feeling stuck, sometimes the quickest way to get ourselves unstuck is to have a simple change of scenery.
Even large cities typically have many parks and reserves within them, so nature is never very far away.
Boost your creativity by going for a walk through nature.
If you’re pressed for time, even driving to somewhere new and spending a few moments sitting in your car looking out at the trees, a river or the ocean can help.
Challenge yourself to do new things
As a rule, the more variety we have in our lives, the more creative we can be. This means that when we challenge ourselves to do new things, we can automatically become more creative.
If there’s a hobby you’ve always been interested in but never quite got around to, find out what’s required to get started. And then do that thing.
Similarly, if there’s a new skill you’ve been meaning to learn, go out and learn it.
Every new thing you add to your life will bring more opportunities for creativity. They don’t have to be big things. Even learning to cook a new meal that you’ve never tried before can teach your brain new tricks.
Pay attention to the details
Many of us rush through life without really noticing all those things going on around us.
Develop the habit of taking a few moments to really notice everything around you.
What’s the texture like on the charging cable for your phone?
How does water move in a glass when you fill it from a tap? And how is that different from when you fill it from a water cooler?
How many different colors can you see in the bark of a single tree?
When we pay attention to the details, we open up a world of new information that we were previously ignoring.
And new information combined with old is what leads to creativity.
Regularly pay attention to the details around you, and watch your creativity soar.
Look for the cracks at the edges
Every field of human knowledge has its boundaries. We don’t have total knowledge about the universe, which means that there are limits.
And here’s the interesting thing: Usually it’s at the boundaries that we can most easily make creative leaps.
Let me give you an example.
We learn in high school about how speed is distance divided by time. That’s why we measure speed in miles per hour.
It might seem like a universal truth, but it turns out that when something is moving extremely fast, the rules are slightly different. At everyday human speeds, these differences are smaller than the uncertainty in our measurements, so we don’t notice them as we go about our day-to-day lives.
Over a century ago, that was one of the boundaries of physics. It wasn’t until Einstein came along and thought about what it might be like to ride on a beam of light that the truth was uncovered.
The same is true in every field of human knowledge.
There are boundaries, and when we apply our creativity to explore those boundaries, we can often uncover new truths.
Spend some time thinking about your own field of expertise. Where are the boundaries? What kinds of assumptions are made? How many different ways can you find to challenge those assumptions?
After thinking about that for a while, go out and do something completely different.
Then come back, hold those thoughts about whatever you’ve been doing for a few moments, and see those assumptions in a new light.
Push through the trash
Whenever we want to create something new, there’s an inevitable problem: Most of what we come up with is going to seem like garbage.
It’s critical to appreciate that this is a normal part of the creative process. And also that sometimes that garbage will actually turn out to be a total undiscovered gem.
If you’d like to see this in action, track down any improvisational theatre show and watch the process that the participants go through.
The key to success is to not care about the garbage, and keep on going to get to the good stuff.
If you want to try this for yourself, it’s not necessary to stand up on stage in front of an audience. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen, and start writing. Don’t worry about what. Allow the words to flow.
What usually happens is that the first few sentences will make no sense at all. And then something miraculous happens. A pattern lights up inside your mind and pure creativity emerges.
Set an alarm for 15 minutes and write down whatever occurs to you for at least that long.
How to get unstuck and discover your passion
In this article, I’ve outlined some simple ideas anyone can use to become more creative.
Whenever we’re faced with something new and unfamiliar, it can seem overwhelming.
Especially when we don’t know exactly where to start.
And it’s even worse than that. When we’re stuck and don’t know how to get unstuck, it can seem impossible to make progress.
Sometimes all that’s needed is having someone there to guide you along the way.
So I’d like to invite you to book a free call with me in which we’ll go through your creative process. I’ll give you some more tips on how to become more creative, and show you how to work them into your life.
Together we’ll explore what kinds of things you love doing so that you can discover your passion and figure out what you want to do with your life.
If that sounds like something you’d like to have happened, click the magic button and fill out the details to book your call right now.