I teach and write about creativity, and often when doing training on creativity I hear this statement. “I am just not creative.” Obviously if someone constantly says (out loud and too themselves) that they are not creative it becomes a limiting belief and a self-fulfilling prophesy. In my opinion, there are two truths about creativity. First everyone has creativity, and proof of that is you were very creative as a child. Secondly as counter intuitive as this may sound, creative people practice creativity in their daily habits which helps them foster and develop even higher levels of creativity.
If you want be more creative, then make an effort to focus on some of the daily habits of creative people. Here are some simple habits of highly creative people.
- Know what stimulates your creativity. There are certain activities that stimulate your creativity and creative thinking. What are they? Maybe it is reading articles on sites like this one, going to art museums or hiking on the mountains, or watching a certain show on T.V. Maybe it is baking pies or yoga. Here is an important distinction; activities that stimulate your creativity don’t necessarily have to be creative pursuit like art or painting or crafts. Creativity and art are not necessarily the same thing. Start paying attention to what really gets your creativity muscles flexing, and do those every day.
- Study creativity. If you want to be more creative, then study creativity and innovation just like you would anything else. I think you can be more creative by reading about creativity in two ways. First you can read biographies about creative and innovative people. Reading about Elon Musk (Tesla), or Richard Branson (Virgin) or Sophia Amoroso (Nasty Girl) Read books about creative thinking and creative thinking techniques like Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is the author of many books, her most famous one being Eat, Pray Love. Watch videos on Ted Talks or TedX.com. On Ted Talks there are thousands of great presentations by world class experts and many on creativity and innovation.
- Look at your environment at work and at home. When you look at your space at work and at home, is it set up visually, physically and in every other way to stimulate your creativity and thinking. Does it feel creative? Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike has an office filled with art, toys, guitars and other odd items that you would not expect to see in an office setting. Its look like a cross between a museum and an antique toy store. Think about what you can change to make your space more creative. It doesn’t have to be crazy just creative for you.
- Be around people who are creative thinkers. If you are around other people who are creative thinkers, you will be more creative yourself. I have breakfast about once a month with a colleague of mine who is an incredible thinker. We have breakfast and knock ideas back and forth like a game of intellectual ping pong. I always leave with a few good ideas. Brian Grazer, the highly successful movie producer schedules weekly “curiosity conversations” with accomplished people. This stimulates his creative thinking. Try to find groups or individuals you can do that with on a regular basis.
- Keep an idea journal. The most famous and successful people throughout history as well as today have made it a habit of writing down what they were thinking about. Tim Ferris, George Lucas, Madame Curie, Frida Kahlo and George Washington Carver all wrote in the journals daily and anytime an idea came up. I call this technique displayed thinking. When you write it down in improves the clarity of your thinking and helps generate more ideas. By a notebook and use it daily to write down thoughts and ideas.
Try to make these a daily habit- as Twyla Tharp once said: “Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.”