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10 Steps To Boost Your Creativity

Ten quick steps to help you be more creative. This article was first written in 1996 and has remained on of the most popular pages on our web site. It has also been reprinted many times over in books, magazines and elsewhere.

  1. Listen to music by Johann Sebastian Bach. If Bach doesn’t make you more creative, you should probably see your doctor—or your brain surgeon if you are also troubled by headaches, hallucinations or strange urges in the middle of the night.


  2. Brainstorm. If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas, but can help you decide which is best.


  3. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you. That way, if you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down. Upon rereading your notes, you may discover about 90% of your ideas are daft. Don’t worry, that’s normal. What’s important are the 10% that are brilliant.


  4. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works. The concept is based on a simple but little known truth: freedom inhibits creativity. There are nothing like restrictions to get you thinking.


  5. Define your problem. Grab a sheet of paper, electronic notebook, computer or whatever you use to make notes, and define your problem in detail. You’ll probably find ideas positively spewing out once you’ve done this.


  6. If you can’t think, go for a walk. A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells.


  7. Don’t watch TV. Experiments performed by the JPB Creative Laboratory show that watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose. It’s not pretty, but it happens.


  8. Don’t do drugs. People on drugs think they are creative. To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.


  9. Read as much as you can about everything possible. Books exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily.


  10. Exercise your brain. Brains, like bodies, need exercise to keep fit. If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless. Exercise your brain by reading a lot (see above), talking to clever people and disagreeing with people—arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout. But note, arguing about politics or film directors is good for you; bickering over who should clean the dishes is not.





Cover image and top image from Shutterstock


This is a cross-post from Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner.



Jeffrey Baumgartner is the author of The Way of the Innovation Master and Report 103, creator of Jenni innovation process mgmt software, founder of jpb.com & father of two great sons. Follow him on Twitter at @creativeJeffrey.

 
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