First, I’ll state the obvious. Everyone is creative. There is no person on this Earth that is incapable of coming up with a new idea. However, our entire educational system and most of our culture is set up to squash creativity out of you. Don’t try to learn how to be creative, just remember how to be creative.
When we were kids, we were able to make connections and come up with ideas that are inaccessible to adults. How do we unlearn the bad habits that cut off that part of our brain? Here are 6 simple tips that will push you toward becoming the passionate, creative person you were born to be.
1. Lower your anxiety level. Fear, insecurity and stress are all creativity killers. Do you have some issue or worry in your life that you could easily solve? It doesn’t have to be a big issue, take care of little things. Make sure your car never gets below a quarter tank of gas so the empty light never comes on. Avoid caffeine or other stimulants. Breathe deeply. Meditate. Take care of little problems before they become big problems. The less anxiety you have, the more you’ll be able to focus on being creative.
2. Ask more and better questions. Asking questions is the keystone of creative thought. The only way to get something new is to question the old. Every time you ask a question you force yourself to consider other perspectives and question your own preconceptions. Don’t rely on other people’s answers, figure it out for yourself. Here are some questions to get you started: How can I make this better? Why do we do it this way? Why am I the greatest human being ever to exist?
3. Try new things. Do something that you have never done before. This can be as extreme as finding a new job or as simple as trying Indonesian food. Read a book on a topic you know nothing about. Strike up a conversation with a stranger and ask him/her about his/her past. Trying new things will expand your references and perspective. Finding new ways of looking at the world increases the value of what you already know by letting you find new uses for it.
4. Figure out what you love doing and what makes you happy. This should be an easy task, but some people can’t list more than two or three things. Shouldn’t you be able to fill up a full sheet of paper, both sides, with things that make you happy? If you can only come up with a few, focus on finding more. Your creativity follows your passion and happiness. Artistic expression is its own benefit. It’s the rare artist that makes a living from his art, so passion and happiness are the only two real reasons to create.
5. Forget about your lame excuses. Really, stop with the excuses. They are all lame. There are many people who have it worse than you do that manage to do incredible things.
6. Actually do something. This is the step that completes the transformation of the old you into a creative person. Thinking about doing something doesn’t make you creative. Talking about doing something won’t do it. The only way to become a creative person is to actually create something. This is the only step that matters. Pick up that pencil and draw! Write! Dance! Carve a robot from a bar of soap! It doesn’t matter! DO IT NOW!