Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Boost Creative Thinking

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
Steve Jobs
by Marquita A Herald

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. 

You can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use ~ Steve Jobs.

Have you bought into that age old fallacy that the ability to be creative is reserved for the select few?

If so, then prepare for a shift in mindset, because the truth is you were born with the potential for limitless creative thinking.

Take a moment to consider what creativity really means ... to produce something that is both original and worthwhile.

By definition, this can mean anything from a work of art; to an innovative idea for a product or new business; to new ways of solving problems ... in other words creative thinking opens our minds to all the possibilities of life and is a skill worth mastering.

Creativity can be cultivated and strengthened over time, but keep in mind creativity is dynamic. Think of it as a muscle that needs to be used regularly to keep it flexible and strong.

If somewhere along the line you've convinced yourself that you are not creative, then to some extent that has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and to reverse that you'll need to become intentional about strengthening your creative thinking muscles.

Consider the Benefits of Creative Thinking

Creative thinkers:

  • Achieve more goals, faster
  • Are confident decision-makers
  • Are optimistic and open to challenges
  • Are focused, less likely to experience stress
  • Are open to new experiences
  • Look at obstacles as opportunities

If you're ready to boost your creative thinking skills, the following strategies will help to get you started. But please remember, mastering any new skill begins with your mindset.

You must accept that you are by nature a creative being and that what you are setting out to do is stretch and strengthen your existing creative thinking muscles ... one day, one action at a time.

Strategies to Boost Creative Thinking

Ask More Questions

Creative thinkers pay attention to what's going on around them and ask "Why?" or "Why not?" questions. Begin by challenging assumptions, because it's so easy to fall into the habit of doing things the way they've always been done.

The next time you find yourself in that situation, take a couple of minutes to consider if there isn't a better way.

Or, if there's something you've always wanted to do but put it off because you could see no clear way to make it happen, spend some time thinking about "How could it be done?" and practice opening your mind to all the possibilities.

There is no "one" right answer, no idea is too crazy! Creative thinking is about looking for the opportunities in every situation, and prevents you from living life in default mode.

Be Willing to Take Risks

Remember cultivating creativity is all about strengthening those muscles, and that means you're going to have to get uncomfortable from time to time.

In other words, you're going to have to get outside that zone of comfort you've built up over the years and take a few risks by trying new things.

Of course not every effort will lead to success, but it will lead to personal growth, and what you learn with each new experience will help to build your confidence, knowledge and creative thinking skills for the future.

Tame Your Ego

For some people, being right is more important than finding the best solution, and that means their ego has taken control. Effective creative thinking is about being focused more on what is right, than who is right.

Finish What You Start

This isn't just about cultivating discipline and determination - it's also about opening your mind to exploring different paths and results. Sometimes detours can lead to far more exciting and fulfilling outcomes than the original goal!

Learn Something New

Building your creative muscles requires that you expose your mind to new ideas and possibilities.

Read books in different genres, explore different types of music or take an art class; build connections with colleagues and friends from diverse backgrounds and who work in different fields.

Bounce ideas off them and challenge yourself to be open to other perspectives.

Make Time for Creativity

Becoming more creative doesn't just happen. Schedule some time each day to concentrate on some type of creative thinking or project. Give mind mapping a try, or simply allow yourself some quality solitude to daydream.

Do you consider your self to be creative? Have you intentionally cultivated creative thinking, and if so what are some of the strategies you've used?

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