Some people have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative thinking. That is not true at all. The fact is, intuitive creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out great results. If you don’t practice harnessing your creative thinking, this skill will atrophy and disappear. But simple creative thinking exercises will strengthen your creative skills in a snap.
So how do you unleash your creative thinking? Well, the first thing is to become a human sponge. You should take in as much knowledge and learning as you can find. Read everything available — good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities in the universe. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know, and the more your faculty of wonder will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at the little facts that add immense color to your life.
Focus on creative activities everyday. Yes, it does require effort. Even doodling is a creative activity. Don’t let anything stop you. Mindlessness may even be a creative activity, but for people who are just starting to unleash some creative thinking in their lives, it is helpful and encouraging to have concrete evidence that what you’re doing is getting somewhere. Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Get out your camera and start snapping photos like crazy. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it religiously. A simple creative writing exercise is to describe something with your five senses. Try to avoid vague adjectives like “marvelous,” “amazing,” and “great.” Before you know it, you’ll have built yourself a large creative portfolio, and you’ll be amazed at the growth you’ve undertaken after amassing all those creative works of art. Who knows, you might actually like doing these creative thinking exercises everyday. Pretty soon creative thinking will become a part of you and you’ll be addicted to these creative exercises.
Thinking outside the box is just as important as it isn’t. Let me explain. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Limitations discipline you to work within a framework where you need to be more resourceful. Creative freedom is great, but sometimes too much choice is demotivating. Limitations enforce discipline.
Try new creative activities everyday and let your experiences broaden your perspective. Explore a new street in your neighborhood. Spend an afternoon in a museum you’ve never been to before. Talk to a stranger. Open up to the people around you. As you reach beyond your comfort zone more and more, your sense of adventure grows and so does your zest for life. Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time? If it’s been a while, you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could have added to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or even spiritually. Why don’t you try to move your body in a way you’ve never tried before? Think of something you’ve never thought of before. Feel something you’ve never felt before. Not only will you learn, but you will also have plenty of stories to share.
Embrace insanity. No, not to the point of being involuntarily admitted to the psych ward. As John Russell once said, “Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.” Many creative solutions were once deemed insane by other “normal” people at one time or another. Luckily, that didn’t stop these creative geniuses from standing by them. The thing is, sanity or being normal confines people to think… well, normally. Creativity is essentially breaking through the norms and doing something new. Yes, this includes the bizarre and the downright strange. I’m not saying that you yourself should develop a creative personality. That might go haywire. An example of a creative personality would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote “Dubliners” with beetle juice because of an intense fear of ink, or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival. It’s important that your creativity doesn’t get you detached from the real world completely.
The point is to start thinking beyond your “limits.” If you follow these steps, pretty soon you’ll be living a life full of curiosity, wonder, and adventure. Unleashing your creative thinking will bring about a new excitement for your life.