Getting in the Habit of Being More Creative

Cory Mazure | 1 Dec, 2022

Unlocking your Inner Creative 

As a child, I never considered myself as someone who was very creative. I saw those around me making art and playing instruments, and was envious of what I thought was innate talent. It was not until recently that I discovered that creativity is a skill that can be trained and that my definition of creativity as a child was flawed. Throughout this article, I will help you understand the best process for improving your creative thinking ability and suggest a few exercises that will help shape your mind to overcome adversity.

The Power of the Imagination

Our imagination is quite powerful and like a muscle, can be trained for better performance. The best way to train your imagination is to practice intense visualization through the use of all of your senses. To start, go one by one through the senses, starting with what you think is the easiest for you. 

When using your imagination for sight, try to visualize your house, or a building you are familiar with in as much detail as possible. 

For hearing, try to hear one of your favorite songs, ensuring you capture the tempo, vocals, instruments, dynamics, etc.

To enhance your smell, remember vividly your favorite food being cooked, or the smell of a nice flower. 

Thinking of touch, imagine yourself on a beach with the sand between your toes.

Imagining taste, think of a delicious ice cream cone. 

Highlight and train each of these senses individually, then build them together into an exercise where one prompt incorporates all the senses. Building past the 5 senses, it is also valuable to think about how certain stimuli make you feel. An experience like going to Disney World is a magical one as a child and leaves you with an immense feeling of happiness. When you think back to a trip like this as a kid, and visualize all of your senses at play, also feel the emotions that come over you. This is a powerful next step to visualizing and can truly make you feel like you are reliving an experience. As you continue to practice this, try to improve your creativity by applying the same strategies, but for activities you have not yet experienced. Try to imagine what they are like and associate them with positive emotions. This type of exercise may seem like a lot and is most certainly difficult when first introduced, but when practiced consistently can lead to amazing results. 

Additional Creativity Exercises Needed to Make a Habit

Here, I have identified a few additional exercises that I try to execute consistently in my life.

Guided Meditations

If you feel as though you lack the ability to creatively think and are unable to visualize something from scratch, take the first step and let someone guide you with what they want you to visualize. There is a plethora of guided meditation online in apps like headspace or on youtube. Find a few that work for you. You will want to practice being fully immersed in the audio and visualize all of your senses engaged with the prompt to build the strength of your imagination. 

Scatterfocus Designated Time

In the book, Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey describes the benefits of scheduling time throughout the day to intentionally let your mind wander around a predetermined prompt. The benefit of designated scatter focus time is that you are making it a priority to think of creative solutions to problems you have previously identified. It is best done on prompts that you are worried about or are avoiding because those are the ones that you need the most help on resolving. Scatterfocus can be done in many ways, with some of my favorite being while walking or doing tasks that require low mental energy, like driving. As described in previous sections, to get the most out of this scatter-focused time, visualize in detail what you are facing and the obstacles you may need to overcome. It is best to have a way of documenting your good ideas during this exercise, so write them down or use audio recordings if you are doing a task in which you can not write. If you look for the opportunity to do this more often, you will find yourself coming up with more creative solutions to your problems, with a better framework of how to overcome something that may have been bothering you. After executing this session, you will find yourself with a clear direction on how to progress, lowering the friction associated with starting the task. 

Setting a Good Intention

Prior to an important task, whether it is a presentation, exam, or sporting competition, it is advisable to get into the habit of setting a good intention. You have the ability to will good or bad outcomes depending on your mental framework. As you practice you will become better at using your creativity to visualize a good outcome, which will result in you succeeding more often. The way to do this is to set a reminder for yourself to visualize this task going well. Again, you want to use all of your senses to make this visualization as real as possible. With the task successfully visualized, you are now equipped with the confidence and energy to knock it out of the park in real life. The key here is to do this consistently. Every time an important task that is stressing you out is approaching, execute this exercise and you will find yourself more calm and ready to conquer. 

Authors Note

These are a few of the strategies that I use in my day-to-day life. There are many more ways of improving creativity and using it to achieve your goals, but I wanted to highlight the ones that have provided me the most benefit. As you practice improving your own creativity, you may develop exercises that work well with you. Keep up the creative thinking pursuit and good luck!

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