We created Spark to empower creative millennials. It is therefore only about right that I write about a few tricks that I use to unlock my creative potential. As I previously mentioned in my “The Future Is Entrepreneurial” essay, I have no doubt that creatives and innovators will take over in the future. The world will be full of what I call “creative cooperation groups” – groups that come together, share new and exciting solutions to existing problems with each other, and help each other better execute on those solutions.
For creative cooperation groups to emerge and become the norm in the economy, more people need to practice creativity. Creativity is not something that only “artsy” people do, in fact it is relevant in any field and especially in business. Being creative is just about being able to generate a new and more efficient way of doing something. This can be applied to what you do in your personal or professional life.
Because creativity is not an “on-demand” item that you can just use anytime, it is really important to understand its origin in order to attract it. There are times of the day where we can be more productive but it is all about finding what works for you. I would like to share with you 5 things that I do to maximize my creativity:
1) Practice Mindfulness
As you can see here and here, mindfulness is crucial for you to increase your focus. In order to be creative, you need to be really focused on the task at hand and that can only happen when you have control over your full cognitive capacity.
I recommend staying away from your electronic devices and trying to just meditate for 10-15min before starting your creative process. I tend to do that before engaging in anything creative, and it has worked so far.
2) Recreate your favorite environment
Remember the last time you were the most creative? Yes? Recreate the same environment. Maybe it was when you were listening to your favorite song on a rooftop with friends, or when you were sitting with a cup of coffee in your living room. Try to recreate the same environment in order to find that spark again.
3) Take a walk outside
There is a reason why Steve Jobs, Sigmund Freud, or Aristotle used to conduct “walking meetings”. Taking a walk can help you distress, increase your energy, focus, and eventually your productivity. By being in your “flow state”, you will be able to become more creative.
Also, a Stanford study showed why taking a walk can increase your creativity.
4) Use lateral thinking
We tend to approach problems in a linear and logical way but that can sometimes limit our ability to be creative. One way to be creative is to think laterally – coming at problems from previously unseen paths – and that can be accomplished by using the “random word” technique. The random word technique invites you to choose a random word in the dictionary when you have a problem and then encourages you to make correlations between that word and your problem. This technique, as I see it, really helps you create new dots on the map and helps you later connect them to create a better strategy.
5) Read books
3 books I would recommend are:
Creativity Inc by Edwin Catmull (Pixar co-founder)
Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step by Edward De Bono
The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
Let me know what works for you in the comments, or tweet me at @mraliou!