Creativity doesn’t come straight from our DNA. It stems from the actions we take and the environment we breeze in. At home, on the street, our workplace, at school. Our ideas get influenced by everything we see and feel during the day.
And sometimes, sitting at our desk racking our brains for a creative idea isn’t enough. It takes more to feed your brain and get it running. Here’s what you can do to spark your creative thinking.
Twist old ideas with the new
We all think that creative people can magically turn some never-before-heard idea into reality. But the simple truth is creative people take a previous idea and twist it with new ideas.
Think about iPhones. Without Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone, smartphones wouldn’t exist in the first place. Or when J.K. Rowling’s book series Harry Potter hit the bestsellers list, which derived from a rough adulthood — at the time Rowling was a penniless single mother, waiting for a delayed train going from Manchester to London King’s Cross in 1990.
Memories and old ideas can lead to the birth of something extraordinary.
So if you want to boost your creativity, comb through old ideas. They might not have been so great in the past, but they may turn the tables to bringing you a fresh, unseen, creative goal. All you need is to close your eyes and retrieve those ingenious thoughts from the past and merge them with your new ideas.
Who knows, you may become the next big thing everyone is talking about.
Talk to children and elders
As surprising as this sounds, a huge chunk of your creativity comes from the people you interact with or see — especially children and grandparents.
Children are always thinking of creative solutions to solve problems, because their mind is free from standard answers. For instance, one child answered this question, “Explain the phrase ‘free press’” with “When your mom irons trousers for you.” You probably would’ve never thought of that!
Grandparents, on the other hand, may have exhausted their creativity. But they do have a stack of stories to share. Listen carefully to how they describe their past and write down the details. Their words could spark up the creative ideas your mind has never thought about.
Surround yourself with the colors: green and blue
You might sound skeptical, but it’s true. A study published by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin demonstrated that green improves your overall creative performance. They took 69 participants and divided them into two groups. Half of them looked at a white rectangle before taking a test while the other half looked at a green rectangle. In the end, a trained coder rated the participants’ answers and concluded the green ones with more creativity.
Another study suggests blue to enhance creativity. Researchers evaluated the performance of 600+ participants, who were shown a red, white or blue computer screen. The red increased participant’s performance on detailed tasks by 31%, but the blue screen produced twice more creative ideas than the red.
This doesn’t mean you should paint your home entirely in blue or green. But if you’re juggling multiple projects or working on building something creative, you might want to change your desktop background, go on a trip to the woods, to the countryside, or by the sea.
Immerse in a café atmosphere
For me, nothing compares to the soft ambient noises of a cafe while working. Even though it may seem like silence is the key to creative thinking, this surpasses it.
When you surround yourself with people milling around or hustling as hard as you, your brain takes in all this new information and spurts out fresh ideas and inspiration. You can even befriend the regular cafe-goers and find yourself having more fun working outside than at home.
But if you can’t go to a cafe, Coffitivity can bring the café atmosphere right into your room.
Think like someone else
At one point, we’ve all wanted to be somebody else. It’s not because we’re unhappy with our own lives, but because the life of a highly-respected person is more appealing.
And it helps with your creativity, too.
Just experiment for a whole day and imagine you’re a different person. Think about what you’d say or do if you were your mom, your dad, your partner, your boss, your friend, maybe Barack Obama if that helps.
This way, you can find new approaches and solutions to your problems. Not to mention, putting yourself in the shoes of someone else trains your brain to think deeper.
One of the best exercises to simultaneously build a nice figure and a creative mind is to walk outside.
According to a recent study conducted by Stanford University, active people are more creative than their less active peers. Students who walked brought up 60% more uses for an object from Dr. Opprezzo’s words, which shows how exercising clears our thoughts and provokes new ones.
If you’re more energetic, do a run, hike, rock climb, anything to get your blood moving. Your brain develops with every action you take.
So, go on and break some sweat.
Editor’s note: Giving credit to Larry Kim for his original post: 9 Ways To Drastically Improve Your Creativity.