Creative thinking as a source of innovation
Sometimes I look at creative people and wonder how they do it. What inspires them to create or innovate?
Then I take a step back and think about what creativity means.
I think creativity is the ability to take different ideas and make something new. This sounds easy enough. Yes, this is assuming that we are willing to put in the hours of hard work and honest self-assessments of failures and goals.
Have a general plan, start small and build on little victories. Small and planned actions are one of your best ways of starting creative thinking. One of the most popular writing tips is to set a small word count for the day then start writing to see where it take you.
Setting a schedule or routine can help keep us committed to being creative.
One of my blog goals was to post twice a week. This keeps me honest with what I want to do and it helps to keep focused on my environment as a source of inspiration.
Most of my blog ideas don’t work out but the process of starting and keeping with a schedule allows me to find new ideas out of failed ones.
This can be applied to other things we do. The longer we stick with a routine the more we do and this snowballs over time. We start with one or two small victories and over time we have a large collection of victories that serve as a platform for branching out.
Always keep learning and broaden your knowledge. No matter how old we are there’s always something to learn. This constant learning cannot only be helping you physically but also helps us find connections in things we normally wouldn’t have seen.
This ability to make connections as I mentioned, in the beginning, is the creativity of making something new out of two older ideas or things.
Most of us carry around this result, the combination of a mobile telephone and computer into a smartphone. It took a lot of smaller steps along the way but each step achieved results and each result grew into these devices.
I recently wrote about success and how overcoming obstacles creates value for those successes. Celebrating the achievements and positive instead of dwelling on the negative can help keep you motivated.
Think of the times you were down. Did you want to do anything? I know I didn’t. Yet think about the times you were happy. During these times we think we can do anything. What’s keeping us from being this way? It’s ourselves. We let ourselves dwell on the negative instead of the positive things we’ve done.
To be creative means to focus on the positive and know that things may not always work out but you’ll get through it and learn about yourself and capabilities from it.
Exploring your environment
Explore what’s around you. Get outside and explore, see what’s going on and observe people and life. Think about why people do the things they do or why nature acts or reacts the way it does. Find the connections in things.
Also, getting sunlight can help increase your mood (possibly Vitamin D related). For those of us working indoors, we know how life draining those fluorescent lights can feel and how we feel revived when going outside.
This might be the hardest thing but it is important, I’m talking about discipline. The willpower to stick with the hard work is possibly the foundation of creativity. Things just don’t happen because we wish them to happen.
There has to be the forward movement of ideas and learning. Discipline will keep you on your path and help you maintain creativity. It’s hard work but it also has rewarding results.
This is also hard but it’s not as bad. This is the power of sleep. I’ve written about the importance of sleep for our mental and physical health.
Sleep is important because it gives our mind a chance to rest. An exhausted mind doesn’t have the focus of a rested mind and this decreases creativity.
The bad thing about sleep is that it has cumulative effects from not getting enough sleep and there’s no way to sleep in on the weekends to make up for that sleep loss. The only thing to do is to find out how many hours of sleep you need to be at your best.
Experiment with sleep durations for a few weeks and you’ll know what feels right for you. Once you know, stick to it, even on weekends.
Read, read, and read
The last point I discussed in other posts but I think is important for many reasons, including being creative. This is to read as much as you can about as many different topics you can.
Reading, for me, is the second most important factor just under discipline. Reading is your passport to so many opportunities for creativity and personal growth.
Public libraries are an excellent resource for information and they offer electronic books too. I can’t stress enough how important reading is to the creative process. Learn about what was done before you and be able to build upon the past for new things cannot be done without reading.
When Issac Newton said he was “standing on the shoulders of giants”, he was talking about the cumulative knowledge of those that came before him.
You have to work through both mental and physical challenges and experiments to find what helps you be at your peak creativity.
Creativity is a cumulative process of different factors and not just one event. The ideas presented in this post offer just the beginning steps on your path to creativity.
You have to be dedicated to the task and hold yourself accountable with honest self-assessment.
The creative path isn’t an easy one. It’ll take time, dedication, patience, and faith in yourself to create the little victories.
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