7 Keys To Open The Doors Of Creativity
Most people think that creativity is something exclusive to artsy people and bohemians who show a creative flair in their art. They consider it kind of a nice thing to have if you were born with it. It’s either a have or have not thing. What is commonly misunderstood is that the notion of creativity is far wider than expressive art and that it is available to each and every one of us.
Creativity is the connection between the universal and the personal. It is getting in touch with your real assets and your source of power and intuition.
It is opening your heart and creating more space to fill in with things that bring you joy and happiness and are aligned to your life purpose.
It is reconnecting to the authentic self, uncorrupted by cultural beliefs and untainted by false beliefs, fears and ideologies.
Creativity is something you can tap into anytime to enrich your life, refresh your perspective and create more meaning in whatever you do. Here are a few ideas you can use to hack into your creativity.
1. Get out of the routine
We all know that too many routines dull the mind. They make us go on autopilot and this in turn stifles our mental pliability to see things from a fresh new perspective. Creativity is kick started by openness and playfulness. It comes from embracing and being open to change and novelty.
When we are stuck in a routine it narrows down possibilities because we expect and accommodate only a certain outcome every time. Getting out of routines is a pretty effective way of allowing the more creative side of us to take part.
For example, you might be used to follow a certain route on your way to work and do things in a certain order within a certain time. Now I’m not saying this is bad. We do need structure and routine in order to keep things coordinated. However we still have some degree of freedom to tinker with routines and tweak them in a way to break free from the rigidity they impose on our mind. Some people call it de-patterning.
For instance, you might change your route to work, or perhaps your walking or your jogging route and experience new sights and landscapes. You can also change some of your bed-time routines, lunch breaks or whatever you have been doing in a fixed manner for a long time.
These are little tweaks in themselves but will allow you to give fresh new inputs to your mind and break free from expectations and habitual patterns of response. The more you do this, the more the mind gets open to change, hence creativity. It is like putting it in fresh running water rather than in the same stagnant pool.
2. Maintain clarity
Keeping with the analogy of running waters, we need to constantly be on the move and avoid stagnation in order to tap into our source of creativity. Sometimes we feel stuck and that we are not moving anywhere in life. In order to move forward from where you are now to where you want to be in life you need to have a clear vision of the destination. You need to maintain clarity as opposed to confusion.
Clarity allows you to decide, express and direct your energy in the right direction. Clarity happens when your purpose and dreams are clearly in sight. More importantly, clarity brings with it waves of creativity and insight that help you to propel yourself forward and creatively solve problems or obstacles along the way.
So my advice to you is to keep your dreams and goals clear in mind.
Avoid being confused and derailed along the way. Reinforcing where you want to be in your mind everyday will direct your creative energies in that direction. It is like setting a locomotive in motion.
3. Keep the Enthusiasm High
As Tim Ferriss quite rightly puts it - it’s not about money and the bottom line is that it’s not even about happiness. It’s about excitement and enthusiasm! (Tweet this)
Do more things that excite you no matter what and keep your enthusiasm high. I mentioned how routine dulls the mind; well, lack of enthusiasm is even a bigger enemy of creativity. Keeping your enthusiasm high means supporting yourself with the right kind of emotional and psychological energy. It makes you stronger, determined and more openly aware to see sign posts and find ways to achieve your goals.
In short, it makes you more open to creativity. Successful people are highly skilled in keeping their enthusiasm high despite all of types of adversities. This is key to success because it keeps you focused on your goals, your emotions positively charged and makes you supple enough to find creative solutions to any problem instead of being shattered because of being too mentally and emotionally rigid.
4. Risk more
You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. ~Paulo Coelho (Tweet this)
Decisions in life sometimes resemble the stock market. You can take a high-risk but high-reward option or oppositely a low-risk but low-reward option at the other end of the spectrum. Of course there are many other variables in between. Most people will tend to go for the low-risk but low-reward option by default. It makes them feel safe and prone to lose much less.
This is OK if it is a conscious and calculated decision but more often than not we tend to do it unconsciously out of fear or inertia. People who have made it to where they want to be in life will tell you that they have definitely risked some things in life and they could not have made it without those risks.
This does not make them reckless but rather it shows that they had the courage to put their head out of the trenches and see for themselves what their real options were instead of hiding safely in their comfort zone but not knowing where and how to jump on the next wagon.
Risking more sometimes is a question of listening more to your heart and ignoring the analytical and conservative part of your mind which is always trying to assess a situation from the low-risk, low-reward point of view. This means inviting your creativity to flow in. You are opening the door for it because you are aligned to heart and not to the over-cautious bureaucrat in your head.
Risking more also means pushing yourself forward to a place where the outcome is not clearly known but you know that the direction is the right one. That gap is the playground of creativity!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover ~ Mark Twain (Tweet this)
5. Discover the right questions
It has been said many times and in many ways, that wisdom is mostly about formulating the right questions. Well, same thing can be said of creativity. Yes, creativity is a raw and archetypal force but this doesn’t mean that it cannot be channeled and directed. In practical life, such as for instance finding a creative solution to a business or relationship problem, it is quite necessary to not just tap into our creative resources but to direct that creativity to its right purpose and use. It needs application.
One thing I have observed over time is that very often we do not look at things from the right perspective. Put crudely this is the difference between a hit and a miss.
Discovering the right questions can put our creativity to work in the right direction because asking the right questions can make us change our perspective on a given problem. It comes to no surprise then that idea incubation and brainstorming sessions are build upon the openness and playfulness of tinkering with questions no matter how absurd they sound.
This cultivates the ideal atmosphere for the right questions to pop up hence inviting creative thinking to flow in more freely.
6. Focus on the unlimited
This is parallel to the point about keeping the enthusiasm high. It is a primer to creative power. Through social habituation we are led to always see and watch out for the limits.
We live in a society where resources are scarce and limited, or at least we made them to be so. This has ingrained in us the idea that we must always snatch the opportunity when it comes because everything is limited and we might not get a second chance or a second helping.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it creates a mindset of scarcity instead of abundance. Creativity doesn’t thrive very well in this mindset. It needs space, open windows, fresh air, wide horizons and freedom from limiting thoughts and beliefs. So focusing on the unlimited rather than the limited nourishes your creative powers.
This is why so many creative people get inspiration from being out in the open or staring at the great vastness of the night sky.
It inspires the mind to dwell in the idea of the unlimited, the infinite and the abundant. Try to do more of this. Conceive of unlimited and endless possibilities, opportunities and the infinite ways you can create new things and ideas. This will resonate on a deeper level and creates the right environment for creativity to work.
7. Surround yourself with the right media
We are constantly distracted by noise and pollution of the senses. Bombardment of information, data, pending tasks, calls, messages, people, chatter, wants and a million other points of distraction. We clog the pathways of creativity by letting ourselves immerse in the wrong media. With heads stuck to our screens and devices we totally ignore our more natural surroundings and the subtler messages from our inner selves. We are becoming more and more detached from our inner voice and our inner source of power and creativity.
Creativity is all about connection. Yet we are unplugging from all of that and plugging in to the wrong media.
The antidote to that is not to cast away technology or digital media from our lives. They can also be part of it while maintaining creative balance in our life. However we need to do this more consciously and more out of purpose rather than unconscious apathy. You need to surround yourself with more consciously selected media; you need to filter the information wisely.
For example instead of just passively watching junk TV shows and celebrity gossip sites or mind-numbing videos, you can watch, listen or follow more uplifting and inspiring stories, articles, videos, podcasts or whatever media puts you in a more inspired and motivated mood that makes you more receptive to your creativity.