Why boosting creativity is a no-brainer

Are you one of those people who thinks they are simply not creative?

You don’t play an instrument. You can’t paint, draw, or make anything interesting. You’re certainly no writer. Instead, you like working with numbers, sciences or things that follow procedures and rules. You’re ok with that but are a bit nervous about the trend that whole companies need to be ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’. That’s not you.

The good news is, you’re wrong! You just don’t know it yet.

We are all creative

Creativity is not a gene we are born with or without. We all have both a left and right brain and it’s natural for one side to dominate over the other. However, this dominance can swing back and forward depending on factors like our stage of development, our environment and the task at hand.

Anytime you take existing ideas and use them in a new way, that’s being creative. I bet if you looked back at the things you do in any given week, you’ll find proof of your creativity not far away. For example, you might have:

·      Moved some plants or furniture around your home to add colour and texture.
·      Experimented with different ingredients in a recipe favourite.
·      Tried wearing a different combination of clothing or accessories because they ‘just look right’ together.
·      Come up with a different approach to addressing challenging things with your client, boss or family.
·      Used technology in a different way to make your daily life easier.
·      Tried a new strategy when playing sport.

Did you say yes to any of those things or something similar? Yes?

See, you are creative!

Creativity can be learned

Even if you still aren’t convinced you have a creative bone in you, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to develop it. The key, though, is to allow yourself to believe in the idea that you can be creative.

Think back to your childhood. If you ever made things with Lego, built a cubby-house, or imagined you were a pirate, doctor or sports star, you were using creativity back then – so that proves you do have the innate ability. There are many things you can do to tap into that again.

Turn your left brain off

The left side of the brain deals with logic, rationality and reason. That’s where our conscious thought stems from. We analyse things, plan things and calculate things.

The right hemisphere doesn’t use words and numbers. Instead, it uses images, patterns and instincts to ‘think’. When we are being mindful or ‘in the moment’ the right side of the brain is more active. This could happen when taking a shower, playing with a pet or even doing housework. These are the moments we ‘zone out’ and we stop thinking about anything at all or we become completely absorbed in one simple activity.

To get the right side of your brain working, give yourself some time to tune out from thinking for a whole and allow yourself to just ‘be’. Here are some easy activities to try:

·      Put on your favourite piece of music, find a comfy place to sit, then close your eyes and focus on really listening to the whole piece, not just the melody. Can you make out the different instruments and rhythms? Are you aware of any mood or key changes? Do you notice any changes to how your body feels in that time?
·      Take a pen and paper then go outside to somewhere that’s relatively quiet and green. Walk around and look at the plants and find one you like then attempt to draw it. Say you’ve chosen a tree. Don’t just draw ‘a tree’, try to draw ‘that’ tree. What makes it different from the others? Try to capture some of its unique shape, shading and texture.

In these exercises, allow yourself to see or hear what’s really there, instead of what your left brain thinks should be there.

Other things you can try include doing some exercise, doodling on a blank piece of paper or meditating. Experiment to see what works best for you.

Balancing the brain

Now, we can’t just go around using half a brain, can we? (Although some people do seem to do just that.) What we need is a healthy balance between the two.

When developing new ideas for yourself or for your job, you need to get both sides working as a team. The left side starts off by gathering existing information and working out the end goal. When that’s done, stop and let the right brain take over. Do something that gets you into that calm and ‘zoned out’ mode. In that time, your subconscious mind keeps working and can often surprise you with ideas from completely new perspectives.

Finally, note down those ideas and hand them back to the left brain to challenge, test and refine. Before you know it, you’ve come up with some very creative solutions.

And you thought you couldn’t do it!

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Now that you’ve learned you can be creative, you can go further and learn how to be more innovative in your work or career. That is, to learn how to take those creative ideas and put them into practice.

Dr Amantha Imber is an innovation psychologist, best-selling author, and founder of Australia’s leading innovation consultancy Inventium. Inventium has been recognised as one of Australia’s fastest growing companies in the BRW Fast 100 list and was also awarded the BRW Client Choice Award for Best Management Consultancy in Australia. In 2016, Amantha was inducted into the Australian Business Women’s Hall of Fame.

In her engaging podcast interview on The Mentor List, Dr Imber shares how she took her knowledge of scientific research into innovation and now helps organisations apply its principles in practical ways.

Click on the podcast link today to hear more from this very innovative, self-confessed ‘science geek’ and discover more ways to get your own creative juices flowing freely.

 

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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