Three Ways to Supercharge your Creativity

As children, we were creative. We made things. Invented new games. Drew wild pictures. Imagined ourselves as different people having wonderful adventures. Our imaginations ran riot.

And then we grew up. We soon had to conform to the daily grind of the 9 to 5, earn a living to pay bills and plan our long-term career development for a comfortable retirement. We forgot how to be creative.

Many businessmen and women would say that they aren’t creative. They think it’s the exclusive preserve of creative people – the wacky photographers, designers, copywriters and web geeks with the sticking-up hair, trendy T-shirts and jeans at half-mast.

Get your mind ready
Like any skill, creativity can be encouraged, practiced and developed. It’s just a case of getting in the habit. To be creative in your business life, you need to be creative in your daily life, so that your mind is ready to spring into action when opportunities come up.

Creative ideas often come from unusual links, juxtapositions and combinations. A radically new idea, product or service isn’t going to be one that everyone thinks of. It’s going to be something completely different – a striking combination of ideas that might seem to have connection. But this is the very essence of creative thinking.

To boost your creativity, you need to increase your chances of stumbling on one of these unexpected links. Here are three things you can do every day to train your mind to be more creative:

1. Change your routine
To expand your creativity, look at a broad range of viewpoints and experiences from a wide range of people. Be more varied in what you eat, the books you read, the TV programmes and films you watch, the places you travel to, the exhibitions you go to, even the friendships you have.

This helps stimulate your brain and opens you up to all kinds of new possibilities. In short, you have more options at your fingertips to look at things from a different angle.

2. Throw out the rule book
As philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” And he’s dead right. So here’s how to train your mind to be more open. Simply think of impossible, crazy things for half an hour every day. Come up with as many ideas as you can, however ridiculous they may seem. Be silly and funny – humour helps loosen up your brain too. You might think of 99 daft ideas, but you might come up with one really good one. And the more you do this, the better you’ll get at thinking laterally.

3. Keep your eyes open
We all do it. Rush around totally focused on work, relationships, money, what we’re going to have for tea. The problem is, when you’re wrapped up in the day-to-day details of your life, the whole wide world outside passes you by.

So make an effort to look around you. Keep a notebook or a computer folder full of interesting ideas, thought-provoking articles, random images, memories – whatever appeals to you. They will probably pop back into your consciousness when you least expect it. The most creative people are always on the lookout for interesting things, even if they seem to have no connection to what they do or what they’re working on.