9 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Genius

#7. Pick a Terrible Idea


Anna klawitter

3 years ago | 5 min read

A lot of people ask whether people are born creative, or if they can develop creativity.

I would definitely say that some people are more gifted than others, but everyone can develop their creative thinking skills and abilities.

When was the last time you did something to ignite your creativity?

Being an adult these days tends to block your creativity and causes us to limit ourselves. Creativity is like a muscle. It must be stretched, challenged, and occasionally pushed past its comfort zone.

Here are 9 ways to get better at stretching your creative muscle.

1. Walk

The average person sits between 7 and 15 hours every day.

Not hard to believe.

That’s terrible for your health and your mood, which means it can be terrible for your creativity.

Stanford research has indicated that walking improves creative thinking. In a follow-up study, HBR found that people who take part in walking meetings are more creative and engaged.

2. Draw (especially) if you can’t.

I’m probably the worst with a pen and paper.

Like ever. You can’t even tell my stick people from my stick animals. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

But drawing allows you to visualize things in a way I couldn’t otherwise.

Sketching is a great way to preserve memories and make constructive use of your time that might otherwise be spent fiddling on a phone.

Buy a small, lightweight sketchbook that can easily fit in your bag. Start sketching whenever you have even a few spare minutes–draw the salt and pepper shaker on your table while waiting for your coffee, or the crumpled pile of newspaper.

Though you may be disappointed in your sketches at first, the more you draw, the better you’ll get. Remember, drawing is just like learning another language — you have to do it poorly because you can do it well.

Draw 30 circles

This great creative exercise comes from researcher Bob McKim and is featured in Tim Brown’s TED talk Creativity and Play.

Take a piece of paper and draw 30 circles on the paper. Now, in one minute, adapt as many circles as you can into objects. For example, one circle could become a sun. Another could become a globe. How many can you do in a minute? (Take quantity over quality into consideration.)

The result: Most people have a hard time getting to 30, largely because we have a tendency as adults to self-edit. Kids are great at simply exploring possibilities without being self-critical, whereas adults have a harder time. Sometimes, even the desire to be original can be a form of self-editing. Don’t forget–good artists copy, great artists steal.

3. Get some space

All Creatives cling to the idea we’ll get a chance to hole up in an idyllic cabin, left alone to forge through outfits of genius while all humanity leaves us alone.

For most of us, this is a fantasy.

Bills have to be paid, family games have to be played, food has to be made. That’s just the way it is.

The frustrated artists I know are all starving for silence.

There’s a reason our best ideas hit us in the shower — it’s quiet. It’s peaceful. We have to push pause on our obligations.

Dream time is paramount to improving your creativity. But it doesn’t just happen.

Find some time to dream uninterrupted. The Muse will honor you for it.

4. Reading

Although there happen to be many activities that improve the creativity state of mind of a person, there is nothing like reading an immersive book.

Nothing gets your mind jumpstarted as much as reading an enthralling and immersive book.

“Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party.” — Matthew Dicks

Books have the power to uncover worlds we never knew existed.

The below books have been the best books I’ve ever read on creativity!

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

Even if you don’t know the name Ed Catmull, you will have definitely seen his work. Catmull is the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios.

Yes, the Pixar we all know and love! The animation studio behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Up.

What’s better than to take creativity tips from the one behind the success of Toy Story, Wall-E, Incredibles! and much more?

Having dominated the animation industry for more than twenty years and still counting, Ed Catmull’s book investigates what it takes to devise effective storytelling and having an emotional authenticity to lifeless characters.

In this book, he takes the reader through the world of Pixar in its early days, through its early struggles and late successes.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

‘Failing better next time’ is what creativity is at its best in short and Paul Arden makes a great attempt in making the book adhere to every creative person’s life.

Although with much of the book concentrating on the advertising background of Paul Arden, this is a great book to explore the realms of creativity in its all its forms.

“If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else.” ― Paul Arden

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Anyone who is involved with any creativity will understand the warrior metaphors of this book.

You are in a constant battle with yourself to overcome resistance to creativity and to win the battle and push through.

An absolute recommendation for anyone who wants to win the fight with themselves.

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be but to find out who we already are and become it.” ― Steven Pressfield
“If you aren’t coming up with ideas — for yourself, for your job, for the world — you are behind the curve.”

5. Start making lists

I’m obsessed with list-making.

Here’s the secret — go further than you think you can. Once you have reached the end of your ideas for “blog posts I should write,” write 5 more ideas. Some of them will be terrible, but THEN some of them will be pretty good.

Lists help you push the edges of your own box.

6. Sign Up for a Class in Something You’ve Never Done Before

Creativity flourishes when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. Many communities offer evening adult education classes.

These classes are often very casual, with plenty of beginner offerings. Try painting, pottery, or woodworking. How about learning a new language, picking up a new instrument, or taking a cooking class?

7. Pick a Terrible Idea

Step away from whatever idea you’re stuck on for a few minutes.

What’s the most useless idea you can imagine? Make a list of the worst ideas you can think up.

Now the real challenge to stretch your creativity: what are the best features of this terrible idea

Perhaps looking at these terrible ideas will spark something creative that you can transfer over to your excellent idea.

8. Find Inspiration From Other People

Your next idea won’t come from copying what a competitor has already done. So look for innovation in different industries and niches.

Research what businesses are dominating. Why

What businesses are you most loyal to? Why?

How can you transfer what worked for businesses outside your industry to your own market? Maybe you can improve on these ideas.

Taking inspiration from others is a great way to boost your own creativity.

9. Play Music

A lack of ideas or being unable to solve a problem can be extremely frustrating.

Unless you value complete silence, music can be the thing to give your mood, and your creativity, a boost.

Steve Jobs used music to change his moods and keep himself creative.

It could work for you, too.


Created by

Anna klawitter







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