This feature was written by Freelance Journalist Georgina Lawton…
We’ve all seen films that glorify the wildly eccentric genius, the maverick. This character either manages to save the day with their quick-thinking flair and creativity (like in The Imitation Game), or almost completely destroys him/herself/everyone’s lives by being too damn smart (The Social Network, Limitless). Either way, in popular culture, there are plenty of examples which suggest that being a bit of a maverick is the key to a more successful, more exciting life.
But of course, not everyone knows how to unlock their creative potential – some of you reading this might think yourselves as totally uncreative in all areas of your life. But don’t panic, ‘cos I’ve got good news for you; creativity is definitely something that can be taught – whatever your background. Whether you’re a maths-buff who wants to play an instrument or an artist struggling to defeat their writer’s block, you can get inspired by teaching yourself to be more creative in our handy guide below.
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Redefine Your Idea Of Creative
Feeling unmotivated affects just about everyone. No matter your age or career, feeling a bit stuck in relationships, in an office, or during school or university projects is completely normal. However, unlocking your imagination, doesn’t necessarily mean writing a poem or drawing a pretty picture, it can extend to whatever area you feel lacking in. Try to think of creativity as a skill that you can develop instead of an intrinsic way of being, and try not to restrict your definition of creativity to what you may have seen on TV or in others – it really is totally different for each person!
Creative people are said to be more open to new ideas and experiences, so by making more of an effort to embrace challenging concepts (or things you don’t agree with), you’re actually forcing yourself to behave more like a creative person. Easy, huh?
Get Some Routine
Although workers have long bickered about whether routine is an imagination enabler or killer, some of the most creative minds in the world famously incorporated an element of routine to help them get the wheels turning – so why not try the same? Beethoven famously counted out exactly 60 coffee beans each morning before belting out a symphony, Benjamin Franklin was supposed to rise religiously at 5am each day, and apparently, Mark Zuckerberg wears the same t-shirt each day to avoid wasting time picking outfits!
The BBC reports that a study from Cornell University found that people who had been encouraged to stand out from their peers as kids performed far better in creativity-assessing tests than those who are used to blending in. What does this mean? Well, it looks like daring to be different could pay off…
Buy Some Kids Toys
According to an article on Inc, many ad and design companies provide Lego, dolls, Playdoh, and other kids toys at work to help employees get in touch with their inner child and produce super original products. Stocking up on a few of these, or a sketch pad or doodle pad, could help get your creative juices flowing.
Creativity peaks in the morning for most people; studies show that performing typically creative tasks first thing often works best. This is because the prefrontal cortex part of the brain (which is involved in planning, personality and performing tasks) is most active then, with the morning typically showing more brain activity in this area according to one study.
Choose Your Inspiration
How each person finds inspiration is completely individual to them, but here are some ideas that may work for anyone; start the morning with a TEDx talk, listen to a cool podcast, surround yourself with motivational quotes, play uplifting music. Creating a space where you feel constantly inspired is the key to working more creatively.
Yep, boring as it sounds, exercise really is the go-to cure for all of life’s problems. As Psychology Today notes: “Studies have shown that exercise stimulates the brain by creating new neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain. Physical activity helps us get out of our heads and stimulate new thought patterns.” So whether it’s going for a run, stretching it out, or prancing around in your PJs to some sick beats, periods of activity are proven to help get your brain get jiggy with it too.
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