Improve your Creative Thinking with these 5 Exercises

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The myth of “Naturally Creative Thinking”

Did you know that 98% of children who were selected to participate in NASA creativity test scored Genius Level in Creative Thinking at ages between 3 and  5? Five years later, only 30% of the same sample of children achieved that result. This finding demystified the believe that Creativity is a luxury only some people possess. This article will give you some ideas on how to bring your inner Creative Genius to existence.

Increase your Creativity

Creative exercise 1: Create an IdeaBook

creative thinking

Find some time every morning to generate and write down innovative ideas. Don’t stop until you list at least 10. Don’t restrict yourself on the topics – it can be anything from a Business Idea, new ways of doing things, organizing your time, DIY projects or many more.

A very important thing is not to resign from putting down the ideas which seem absurd and impossible. We are in Idealand, a place where everything is possible. Visionary ideas have its history of being doomed from the outset. Just think how many innovative solutions were not implemented because of this. So, embrace the apparently bad idea. In fact, celebrate them!

Even though the IdeaBook’s first purpose is to serve as a Creativity enhancing tool, revise your writings at regular intervals. You’ll notice how your creativity evolves and, who knows, maybe you’ll come up with the next Amazon?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Creative exercise 2: Broaden your Knowledge

Everybody knows that using analogy to explain something new makes people understand the subject much better. Creative individuals take it one step further, where not only do they use the analogy, they also apply their knowledge from one field to create a solution in another. Psychologist and researchers Robert Epstein, PhD, states that this exercise helps to interconnect the topics where the connection is not that apparent.

To be successful in this we need to step outside of our comfort zone and seek diverse knowledge and skills. Open yourself to a totally new domain. Read books of different subjects and explore the concepts from various industries. Welcome conversations with co-workers from other departments, people of different backgrounds and fields.

Travel. Alone. Try to take at least a couple of days trip once a year to go somewhere new by yourself. For majority of people it sounds terrifying until…they make their first solo trip! Here is the thing – when you are in a foreign country all by yourself you are forced to interact with locals more. Also, solo travellers evoke much more sympathy and friendly attitudes. Be open minded and absorb – the culture, the history, all these unwritten stories that you will hear from people on your way. Even one trip can enrich your worldview immensely!

Not only will you become more creative by broadening your knowledge, but you will reinvigorate yourself as well. Read our article On The Importance of Cross-Learning to explore the topic more.

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking ― Albert Einstein

Creative exercise 3: Use your Hands

creative thinking

I hope this subtitle did not prompt any nasty thoughts. In the age of convenience, we don’t find a lot of uses for our hands. If you are not performing a manual job as a way of making your living, you’ll probably end up buying a service from someone who does. Well, forgotten crafts make a really good hobby!

Having a pastime hobby such as sewing, knitting, painting and similar have a proven track to add to creativity. Obviously, not everybody will achieve the same level of joy doing some creative works, especially when the beginner’s results are discouraging. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of options. Just check DIY projects on Pinterest and you’ll get flooded with a sea of ideas.

For the less ambitious out there – use doodling… Whenever you can. Doodling evokes our creativity and helps to relieve stress. Moreover, studies show that doodling while listening to a difficult topic or the one that makes it hard to concentrate helps to gather thoughts and absorb the knowledge better. However, it can prove difficult to do while having a face-to-face conversation (unless the desire to express your disregard is stronger than you).

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ― Maya Angelou

Creative Exercise 4: Immerse in Creative Environment

If you want to be creative, your environment better be creative as well. Of course, not everybody has this luxury of working in a creative industry or having genius friends. Here are some hints where you can start your hunt for creative people:

  • Places like art galleries, exhibitions, fairs just to mention a few;
  • Thematic events. Just join MeetUp, Internations or check our IDK events;
  • If your location doesn’t make it easy for you – join forums and online communities to interact with interesting people.

Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. – Mexican Proverb quotes

Creative Exercise 5: Awake your Inner Child

creative thinking

Remember the research in the beginning of this article? It’s apparent that our Creative Genius abandons us with the passage of years. Look at the children around – they have so many ideas that amuse us. Or try to recall how many crazy concepts you had yourself during the early stages of life. The creativity is higher during these times because we are not yet introduced to all the rules that restrict us and require some form of conformance.

Part of the puzzle is the fear we are cultivating inside us. The fear of being ridiculed or not taken seriously. Nothing else serves better as a creativity killer. We try to say something only when we are reasonably sure that what we are saying is doable. Escaping this cage and freeing ourselves from the fear of judgement will work miracles. Therefore, be a child again! Play, create, dream and go bananas!

Genius is nothing more or less than childhood recovered by will, a childhood how equipped for self-expression with an adult’s capacities. — Charles Pierre Baudelaire



Recommended Reading

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
The big book of Creativity Games by Robert Epstein, Ph.D.
Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko
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