Jim DeSantis asked:
You have some great ideas. You toss them around in your mind. You tell friends about them. They go nowhere. Why? They go nowhere because of what your friends said or because you have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. And, you, of course, couldn’t be one of that select group. That is not true at all.
Anyone who has creative genius will tell you that creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be developed in order to perform at top efficiency. If you don’t learn how to develop creative thinking, this skill, like a muscle will become withered and useless to you when you most need it. On the other hand, keep working at it and this skill will soon be ready for action whenever you need it.
So how do you develop your own personal style of creative thinking?
Well, the first thing is to realize your brain has a greater capacity and speed than the world’s biggest and fastest super computer. That’s right! Even the world’s biggest and fastest super computer cannot store as much information or handle it faster than your brain. You are not limited like a super computer because your brain is not limited and that’s where creativity comes from – your brain. It doesn’t come from thin air, it comes from within you and you already have the tools needed to exercise it.
So, the first thing is to begin absorbing as much information as you can every day. Grab as much knowledge and learning as you can find. Read, watch, and listen to everything available — good and bad. Don’t judge anything at this point of development because it’s not the content that is important, only the process of absorption. Keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities that each piece of information presents. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know, and the more your brain will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at little facts that add a bit of color to your conversations with people. They will begin to see you in a new light.
Next, focus on a creative activity every day. This is as simple as doodling. Doodling is a creative activity. Don’t let anything hinder you. Just doodle away, mindlessly. You will unleash a little bit of creative thinking and it will be encouraging to see something you created. In addition to doodling, practice drawing something specific for a couple of minutes each day. You might unleash the artist in you.
Or, grab a camera and start snapping photos of anything and everything. Don’t try to be “artsy,â€ just snap away! You might find you have a knack for photography.
Keep a journal and make a point to write in it at the end of each day. Describe your experiences using words that capture your five senses. What did it smell like, taste like, feel like – you get the idea? You may discover a writer lurking in your brain.
In a short time you’ll have built yourself a tiny portfolio or doodles, art, photographs and writings and you’ll be amazed at the growth of your creativity. You might actually enjoy those exercises so much that they will become a part of you and you’ll be addicted to them.
You’ve heard it said – Think out of the box. Well, not just yet. Be aware of constraints or blocks to your creative process. Constraints are actually a good thing. It’s your brain telling you it needs more knowledge about that which you are struggling. Constraints are the brain’s mechanisms to force discipline upon you. Discipline forces you to be more resourceful. Creative freedom is great, but limitations are too. There must be balance.
Oscar winner, Anthony Hopkins, would just get in his car and drive across country alone with no destination in particular. It helped him experience different people in different parts of the country, away from the unreality of Hollywood. These little trips helped him to become a better actor.
Try something new every day and let your experiences broaden your view of the world and people around you. Explore a new neighborhood in your town. Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you’ve never been before. Chat up someone in the checkout line at the store. You need to open up to the people around you. You need to step out of your comfort zone more and more each day. This will heighten your sense of adventure and your zest for life.
Think about it. When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone? When you stay in your comfort zone, you miss out on a whole lot of experiences that could add to your growth – emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually.
I would love to try bungee jumping and skydiving but I’m a coward when it comes to risking life and limb. If you have the courage, go for it! At the very least, you will have plenty of exciting stories to share, enabling you to develop your storytelling skills, making you the life of any gathering. People will love to hear you tell about doing the things they only dream of doing.
This next thing will seem nutty. It is. You need to embrace insanity. I’m not talking about the kind that will land you in a rubber room. As John Russell once said, “Sanity calms, but madness (insanity) is more interesting.”
History shows that nearly every creative thinker was once deemed insane by “normal” people. Lucky for us, the critics couldn’t stop the creative geniuses from changing the world. Being “normal” confinesâ€™ people to think – normally, that is, to think within limits society has deemed to be normal. Creativity is essentially ignoring those limits, within the Law, of course. Your creativity may seem bizarre and downright strange to the “normals.â€ Ignore them and seek out others who also ignore the “normals” of this world. They will know how to help you to cultivate your new sense of creativity.
Now, a word of caution as you step out in your search for creativity. Don’t strive to develop a creative “personality.” There is a difference between a creative personality and creative thinking. Examples of wacky creative personalities would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote “Dubliners” with beetle juice because he had an intense fear of ink, or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival. They were all great men, for sure, but a little wacky at times because they lost touch with reality.
It’s important that your creativity doesn’t blind you to the real world. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds! (Look familiar?)
Starting today, begin thinking beyond your “limits.” Follow these steps and you’ll soon be living a life full of interesting and exciting adventures. Your new level creative thinking will bring about a new zest for living life.
Who knows, your idea might be the next great idea to change the world.