Expand your universe
It’s time we all step outside our everyday activities and start to think more creatively. All too often, we get absorbed in the daily routine and forget about the possibilities for growth. It’s your world. If you’re content with being in one place for the rest of your life, potentially falling behind those who are more creative, then that is fine. But for those who are looking to think more creatively about their projects, here are a few suggestions.
Get out of your comfort zone
People tend to restrict themselves to only what they know (well) and have been practicing for years. Some routines are healthy but the majority of them are what cause people to close off their minds to anything new. There may be something undiscovered within that you haven’t found yet. If you’re only doing what your job description requires, then likely you will find yourself playing catch-up. The reward of staying ahead of industry trends is incredibly satisfying. Indulge yourself.
Take a break
Writer’s block is probably the best example for using this basic lifesaver. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, the room is too loud (or too quiet) or your emails are stacking up… walk away. Take a stroll through the park, breathe in the fresh air and the scenery around you. Something may inspire you while your mind is seemingly blank. Come back to your work another time with an open mind and let the creative juices flow.
Understand your subject
Get comfortable with your subject. Hone in on the topic or question you’re presented with rather than focusing on the solution. If you don’t give yourself enough time to research the question itself, then your mind will skip many of the creative opportunities that will lead to unique ideas. Revisit the topic or question by looking at other angles and perspectives.
The more brilliant minds the merrier. Collaboration increases creativity but can also cause tension as the excitement in all members starts to rise. According to a study The Leadership Quarterly: Emotional Intelligence, “engaging in creativity in organizations inevitably creates tension, conflict, and emotionally charged debates and disagreements because complex organizations need both control and predictability and creativity and change.” In this excerpt, the authors propose the following five routes to awakening creativity and avoid negative emotions: identification, information gathering, idea generation, idea evaluation and modification, and idea implementation.
Don’t fear failure
Fear is a negative emotion. The thought of not succeeding consumes your mind and hinders creative thinking. When you’re reacting to your own emotions, you’re lacking the ability to expand your mind. Whatever it is that you’re looking to achieve outside of your comfort zone is probably scary but if you don’t take risk, you’ll never reap the reward. Sometimes our biggest mistakes end up being our best work. Share your ideas with someone else, I guarantee they’ll either find it to be brilliant (and possibly steal it!) or provide you with a few more creative ideas to go even further.