We love and respect creative people. Their creativity in diverse fields from arts to sciences has brought tremendous happiness and convenience for us.
Creative inventors, innovators and savvy entrepreneurs have also offered us novel, better, faster products and services that make our lives more enlightening and entertaining than ever.
You are born with innate creativity, and a mission of your life is to discover and develop your unique creativity.
“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint or clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living” ~ Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
How can we be more creative?
There are many ways we can tap into our creativity …
- Fall in love.
“When you are in love, you push yourself to make your loved one extremely happy, from simple home baked cookies to highly unique marriage proposal.“
- Write love letters.
“Deep inside every girl’s and woman’s heart, she would love receiving a hand written letter, a cherished yet rare experience for us who live in the digital ages.“
- Write from your heart.
“You cannot love a crowd the same way you can love a person. A crowd cannot love you the way a single person can love you.“
- Daydream and Just Do It whatever you have dreamed of. Create. Innovate. Learn some insights and best practices on making ideas happen from 99U.
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” ~ Thomas Alva Edison
- Have a creative purpose for your life.
“Make at least one serious attempt to climb your own Mt. Everest. It’s ok if you don’t reach the summit, but you must try.“
- Include at least a creative endeavor in your bucket list.
- Practice 10,000 hours with commitment and grit. Efforts are incredibly important. There is no substitute for hard work.
- Imagine yourself as your heroes and heroines. Ask yourself, “What would my idol do?” Everyone’s experience and environment is different, thus leading to different perspectives. The essence of this imaginative experience is to refresh your perspective and see your circumstances with a new mindset.
- Watch movies with an intention to create a short video clip or photographs inspired by their cinematography. The work of Christopher Doyle (杜可风) in the movies of Wong Kar-wai inspired me to learn more about photography when I was a college student.
- Move. Stand up to brainstorm. Motion stimulates your mind to work more energetically and freely.
- Learn from other domains like the Renaissance men did. Be interdisciplinary and you will create something at the junction as I learned from Athene Donald.
- Read outside your field.
- Listen to podcast and online talks. TED talks by luminaries in arts, sciences and business are a growing source of ideas. If you are passionate in modern science, 60-second Science podcast will be an informative companion.
- Interact with people of different professions.
- Appreciate children. Play with children, so you can be childlike (but not childish). Their childlike curiosity is contagious. Adopting a child’s point of view opens up your imagination.
- Talk to strangers, you may make some lifelong friends.
- Embrace quietness because some of the best innovations happen during quiet time in accordance to Susan Cain.
- Switch off your mobile phone and computer. Follow Google people who go to switch-off areas in their office for creative sparks.
“Disconnect from the outside to reconnect with the inside, for once in a while” ~ ServicefromHeart
- Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.
- Collect visuals and quotes.
“Saving images and words from people who inspire you is a useful source of inspiration when you next need a creative boost” ~ Eve Menezes Cunningham
- Use pinterest to keep your collections of inspiring images, photographs, words.
- Make random discoveries of ideas and inspirations through stumbleupon.com, you can select the topics you are interested in, ranging from nature to parenting.
- Do not be afraid of bad ideas.
“Bad ideas often lead to new ideas, explorations … and solutions.” ~ Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes by Keri Smith
- Be unique. Instead of standing out from the crowd, you want to sing in nobody else’s voice but your own. A Picasso always looks like Picasso painted it. A Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway wrote it.
- Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside. Develop your inner strength. Define your mission.
- Overcome shame of imperfection by developing resilience.
- Embrace limitations, while Twitter limits a maximum of 140 character for tweet, the creative have embarked on the challenge of writing a 140-character recipe or life story.
- Know when to say YES and say NO to distractions. Distractions may not always be bad. When we feel blocked, sometimes the best thing is to allow the distractions and have fun. Facebook can be inspirational too, especially if you have many creative friends.
- Make your work public. Do not depend on being discovered. It is better for you to pro-actively share your creative outputs through multiple channels.
- Perform your creative talents. Take some baby steps. You can sing and dance for your family and community events, you can also share your creative motions to the world via Youtube.
“All the world’s a stage” ~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2.7.139
- Travel the world and be inspired by new places, people and cultures. Jot down inspirations from people whom you have met and places you have been to and would like to go.
- Be a tourist in your home town.
- Get lost in your home town or a new city. Switch off your mobile map. Ditch your map. Let your intuition guide you and you will see things you would otherwise have missed.While in Beijing, Anson and I serendipitously discovered the residency of Cheng Yanqiu (程砚秋), a legend in Peking Opera (京剧). We were generously treated with cups of fine tea while listening to his son retelling his life story. The experience was a highlight of my Tsinghua summer.
- Work in a new spot. You can simply re-arrange the furniture in your home office. Explore a new cafe and work there. Alternatively, make your own coffee and work in your kitchen. By changing your environment, you change your frame of reference and enable fresh perspectives. I fondly remember when I was a student of Nanyang Technological University, I could study in ten different benches or tables in a day, an indicator of a nomad learner. Sometimes, I needed to discuss with friends. Sometimes, I needed to go to somewhere quiet to memorize formula.
- Work by the nature. The soothing greenery, the azure blue sea or the calm blue sky with puffy cloud encourages creativity.
- Maximize colors. Paint your walls with your favorite colors. A 2009 study published in Science journal by Juliet Zhu from University of British Columbia (where I spent a semester) found that blue enhances creativity whereas red boosts attention to detail.
- Consider alternative uses. Use old newspapers to fold origami of cranes, airplanes, boats or anything you can imagine. “To create is to destroy.” ~ Wreck This Box by Keri Smith.
- Prioritize. Stop doing busy work, start doing your best work, especially things that are meaningful to you.
- Rest and relax. Take a warm bath, and perhaps you would experience Archimedes’ Eureka moment in the bath.
Last updated 20140617