Creativity should be encouraged in schools and in every workplace but why should creativity also be supported at home and in personal life?
Creativity is not only an essential part of intellect and personality, but it is also an important virtue. Here are some ways how to encourage creativity in your everyday life. All the tips and tricks below can be applied to the school environment or the workplace.
Creativity is inventing something, which did not exist before, either as a product, a thought, or a process.
A person is considered creative when they invent a new process for doing something, develop a new way of looking at something, or change how someone else looks at something. Reapplying an existing product into a new or different market is also an example of being creative.
Creativity does not have to be about developing something new to the world, it is more connected to developing something new to ourselves. In fact, we are all creative every day, for example, by constantly changing the ideas that we hold about the world around us.
Creative thinking is the process, which we use when we come up with a new idea. It could mean the merging of ideas that have not been merged before.
With practice, ongoing creative thinking, the continuous investigation, questioning, and analysis, occur all the time. Ongoing creativity takes time and deliberate practice to become skillful at, but it’s surprising how quickly it becomes an attitude, not a technique.
Why should you be creative?
Creativity is an important virtue as being creative helps you become a better problem solver in different areas of your life and work. Creativity helps you see and understand things differently, from different perspectives.
Research has shown that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of unknown.
Some studies have also depicted that creativity affects the body and the brain and leads to improved health via increased mood, decreased anxiety, improved immune health, and heightened cognitive function.
Creativity encourages self-expression, a way to create something from personal feelings and experiences. It also plays an important role in a person’s emotional development and social skills.
Here are 10 effective ways to encourage creativity in yourself:
The prerequisite condition for creativity is knowledge. Especially when creativity is connected to your domain of expertise it is vital that you know and understand what was done in the field before you entered it so that you can work with existing knowledge and build from thereon.
Even artists would first learn the existing techniques and improve on them before finding their own style.
2. Ask questions
Asking questions is the first step towards nurturing curiosity. If you don’t ask questions, how are you supposed to learn?
Curiosity is a good virtue no matter what some may say. It encourages seeing things from a different perspective and finding new ways to solve problems. We are all born curious but we stop exploring, learning, and discovering as we grow up maybe because of social norms and expectations or simply because we have to process huge amounts of information either way in school, college, or in the workplace.
The goal today is to encourage and nurture the habit of being curious about everything as a way of living a rich and fulfilled life.
3. Realize that creative products take time
Realizing that creativity is not born overnight is a very important discovery on your way to creative thinking and creative products.
It can take years to finish a painting or to sculpture a statue. It took hundreds of years to build the beautiful cathedrals across Europe and dozens of years to paint the interiors (like the Sixtine Chapel in Vatican).
So if you think that drawing might be your strong spot you should be aware that developing skills and then ideas for your drawing could take months.
Creative ideas must be developed and corrected if necessary. It might mean finishing something but then noticing some important aspect might be missing and doing it all over again.
Me, for example, I had to realize that you do not become a successful blogger overnight. You go through a long process of learning and creating and meanwhile your writing is, hopefully, improving and you get more and more ideas on how to not only continue but also become a better writer.
4. Dare to take intellectual risks
When you share ideas that are not similar to what most people are thinking you are taking an intellectual risk. It means that you stand up for your point of view, your solution to the problem, and try to explain or show why your way is better than the common way.
Intellectual risking takes courage and assertiveness. In some situations, it may have some negative consequences, especially in situations when conformity is expected.
It is important for us to realize when intellectual risks are smart to be taken so that we can share our ideas in safe spaces.
5. Change perspectives
Things may not be as they seem. Changing perspectives is a vital component of being creative as it allows us to look at a problem from different points of view. Each view may be a bit different because of the context and it’s important to weigh out the benefits and limitations of each solution or idea.
Creators should be as independent of the context as possible. It is usually easy for them to make a leap of thought and see things in another way.
6. Think originally
Creative products often include an element of surprise. The surprise could be combining two things that were used separately before, such as peanut butter and jelly. The first time you thought of combining the two, your breakfast sure was creative!
To think originally you have to think out of the box. Try taking a different perspective and look at a problem from the other side. You might recognize some unique parts of the problem that were invisible from your personal point of view. With this new information, you will be better equipped to think of a creative solution.
7. Try new things
Being open to new experiences is an important trait of creative minds. You can try new things each day and learn something new. The more you know and the more experienced you are, the easier it gets to think originally and be creative.
8. Systematically encourage creative thinking
Creative thinking can be accidental or deliberate. If we are not using any special techniques, creative thinking can still occur, but usually in an accidental way. Using special techniques, deliberate creative thinking can be used to develop new ideas.
If you are ever stuck on a problem, or seem to have embarked upon a writer’s block … you should try some techniques that systematically stimulate creative thinking. In fact, developments of products occur much more rapidly using these deliberate techniques than by accident.
Here are four methods that are bound to work!
Brainstorm: when brainstorming, you first try to come up with as many ideas as possible without evaluating them at first. Just try to think of all the possible solutions to your problem without simultaneously thinking about what their positive and negative sides are. After coming up with as many ideas as you can think of, share them with others in your group and compare them to their ideas. Now you can evaluate all ideas – which one would be most suitable for implementation. You can do this by weighing the positive and negative sides of each idea to come up with the best solution to your problem. The final solution can also consist of many ideas merged together.
Creative problem solving (CPS) is a useful technique to use in order to come up with a solution and plan how to solve the problem. This method follows three steps: understanding the problem or change, which includes the identification of the problem. The second step is generating ideas by using different methods and the last step is planning the activity, for example, who, when, and what to do in order to solve the presenting problem.
De Bono introduced different methods to approach creativity. A famous method is called the Six Hats methodology, wherein de Bono identifies six different ways of thinking, each represented by six colored thinking hats. As you wear each hat, you learn how to think in different ways to brainstorm and approach problems from various angles.
SCAMPER method stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, and Rearrange. If you seem to have a block, ask yourself:
a. Which parts could I change, substitute for others?
b. How can I combine things to come up with a solution?
c. Can I change and adapt any part of it?
d. Can I modify the product – make it smaller, or bigger?
e. Can I use it in different ways?
f. Which part is not essential so that I can eliminate it?
g. How can I rearrange it, for example, change the direction or pathway?
9. Acknowledge the impact of your emotions on the creative process
It’s important to realize that positive feelings, especially activating emotions such as happiness and pride, encourage creative thinking. On the contrary, relaxation is a positive deactivating feeling and therefore, not connected to creativity.
Negative activating emotions, such as fear or anxiety, are associated with decreased creativity. Therefore, if you are feeling stressed, anxious, or scared, you might have some difficulty coming up with creative ideas.
Knowing how your emotions impact your creative thinking process gives you the power to control your emotions in order to be productive and creative. Try to come up with a solution to a complicated problem when feeling happy or proud, as you are more likely to come up with original solutions.
Practice makes perfect and it is no different when it comes to creative thinking. The continuous investigation, questioning, and analysis that develops through education, training, and self-awareness help creativity to become ongoing.
Ongoing creativity takes time but it can quickly become an attitude, not a technique. After a while, you may even find it unnecessary to use specific tricks and techniques because you may be having too many ideas anyway!
I hope this was useful and I cannot wait for you to try all the possible ways to encourage creative thinking. What does creativity mean to you? Who do you consider creative? Let me know in the comment section below.