For 25 years, I owned an advertising agency. In the advertising business, the artistic people (both copywriting and design) are referred to as “The Creatives” — almost as though they’re a separate class of citizen. I thought then, and still believe, that such an attitude is a disservice to all of us.
You see, we often think about creativity as making something complicated and uniquely imaginative such as artwork, a novel or a musical arrangement, but in fact the root of the word means simply “to produce.” We can produce inventive solutions to just about anything, including everyday work and home problems. We can come up with innovative ways to reach a goal or to fix something or to manifest a win/win in any situation.
Release yourself from stagnant thinking through these methods:
Embrace your creative nature
It’s pretty common for adults to deny their creativity. They’ll say out loud “I’m not creative.” Not true! You had a fabulous imagination when you were a child. And you are still you, so you still have the ability to be creative. Everyone is born creative, but there’s a system at work that discourages us by insisting that we color inside of the lines, follow the rules and not question anything. Creativity? You had it, and you’ve still got it. Repeat after me: “To hell with the lines!”
Keep an idea journal
Keep a book or a binder nearby, and when you have creative ideas, innovative thoughts and random musings, open up your book and capture them before they get away. Another great advantage of keeping a journal is you can go back and look at ideas from the past to inspire future ingenuity. Your binder doesn’t have to be all original concepts; it can be a swipe file of sorts, a resource you use for inspiration.
Get a mentor or coach
No matter what you’re doing in life at the moment, there’s a mentor or a coach who’s right for you. A coach helps you identify things that make you feel “stuck” and then determine the path to move beyond them. He or she supports your pursuit of new ideas and alternative solutions with greater resilience and resourcefulness. A coach encourages a fresh perspective and provides inspiration.
Mix it up
Go alone to a matinee: Movies on the big screen are great places to immerse yourself in a complete sensory-rich experience.
Eat differently: You’d be amazed at how much more creatively you can think and act when you eat a healthier diet.
Enjoy content that’s outside of your norm: Consume content you wouldn’t normally pursue. Read blogs outside of your industry or books outside of your normal genre.
Take the challenge
Usually I give you a recipe in this column. This time, I offer you an assignment. Pick one of these challenges and experience just how delicious being creative can be.
- Blog every day for 30 days.
- Take and post a photo every day for 30 days.
- Drive a different way home from work every day for 30 days.
- Conduct an informational interview with someone you admire.
- Sign up for — and listen to — an online summit or interview series every day for however long it runs.
This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Summer 2017 issue.