The art of creative thinking: 10 strategies for unlocking your inner genius

When we think of creative geniuses, we think: Van Gogh. Picasso. Mozart. Da Vinci. Beethoven. 

But believe it or not, you, too, have an inner creative genius. 

Most people think creativity is inborn—a trait only a few blessed people have. Well, this could not be farther from the truth. 

Like everything else, creativity is a skill. Like a muscle, it can be trained to reach its maximum potential. With the proper knowledge and training, you, too, can unlock your inner creative genius. And in this article, you will learn exactly how to do that! 

1) Be open to new ideas 

To unlock your creative genius, the first thing you need to do is to be open to new ideas

This means you have to unlearn your previous ideas about creativity. 

Know that there’s no such thing as “naturally creative” or “naturally talented.” Even world-class athletes need training to win olympic medals, and the same goes for artists. The artists you know aren’t lucky, nor did they win the creativity lottery. They worked day and night to develop their skills. 

The point is, no artist was born creative, and magnum opuses weren’t created overnight. Creatives shed blood, sweat, and tears to become truly great at their craft.

While this can sound daunting, it also means that you, too, can become a creative genius—you just need to put in the work and keep on practicing.

2) Practice, practice, practice

I have a lot of creative friends. Every time I ask them how they honed their skills, they keep telling me the same thing: practice. 

All aspiring artists are probably tired of hearing that they need to practice, but there’s a reason why good artists keep telling us that—because it works! 

Have you seen those reels of illustrators where they showed their work from years ago to now? Did you see how much they’ve improved? It sometimes seems unbelievable because of how good they’ve become, but it’s really all thanks to years of practice.

So pick up the pen and write your first story. Pick up the guitar and write your first song. Or pick up the brush and create your first painting. I know it’s scary, and you’re probably thinking: what if it ends up really bad? 

Well, I have some bad news for you: it will turn out bad. But that’s also how it was for all the best creatives in history. It will be bad at the beginning, but don’t let that discourage you. 

As with everything in life, you have to keep going in order to get better. You’ll get better each day, but you have to keep at it. Before you know it, you’ll be creating masterpieces so easily.

3) Entertain your curiosity

Have you ever heard of the saying, “curiosity killed the cat”? 

Well, I don’t really believe in that. I like to believe that the cat became a good artist because they entertained their creativity. 

Why? Well, curiosity is deeply ingrained in our DNA. As humans, we naturally desire to seek out the unknown. And if you want to unlock your creative genius, you have to allow yourself to be curious. 

This is because curiosity is an important driving force for creativity. It makes you ask, “what if?” As in: what if I create something new? 

Allowing yourself to be curious sparks your interest to try new things. Curious about how a certain painting was created? Maybe you can try your hand at painting. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up enjoying it! And even if you don’t, at least you were able to try something new. After all, it’s the excitement of novelty that makes our lives worthwhile.

4) Allow yourself to be bored

thinking for yourself The art of creative thinking: 10 strategies for unlocking your inner genius

In this day and age, it’s easy to soothe our boredom. Millions of different types of content are always within arm’s reach. Don’t know what to do? Just reach for your phone and scroll through social media until you’re entertained. 

However, if you want to spark your creativity, you have to allow yourself to be bored. Often, the best ideas come to mind when we’re not doing anything at all. 

It was actually scientifically proven that boredom sparks our creativity. This is because when your brain goes on autopilot, your brain is relaxed, and you stop filtering your thoughts—and this is how creative ideas come to you

So put your phone down, sit back, relax, and let those ideas come. The best ones will come to you when you finally have a clear mind. 

5) Clear your mind

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Every one of us has worries, and rightfully so. 

As children, we worry about completing all our homework in time. As adults, we worry about how we’d be able to pay our bills. As college students, funnily enough, we worry about both, to an extent. 

This is why we often find it hard to unlock our creativity. We simply don’t have the time or the headspace. 

But if you want to start your creative journey, you need to learn how to clear your mind. Maybe dedicate a few minutes of your day to meditate. Write your thoughts down. Vent your worries to a trusted friend. 

Trust me, with a clear mind, it is much easier to follow our creative pursuits, and maybe even try some thought experiments to get our creative juices flowing.

6) Try thought experiments

The best scientists are the ones who allow themselves to delve deep into their imaginations, who are not afraid to dip their toes into mysterious waters.

Albert Einstein knew this. It was him who came up with the famous Gedankanexperiment, which is German for “thought experiment.” 

Through his thought experiments, Einstein was able to create multiple theories, such as that of the theory of relativity. 

At its essence, thought experiments are about letting your imagination wander. Young Einstein tried to imagine what it was like to travel as fast as a light beam. This was how he came up with the theory of relativity. 

But thought experiments are not only for scientists. It’s also for aspiring creatives, and it’s especially useful if you’re having a creative block. So how do you conduct your own thought experiments?

First, picture the scenario in your head. What is the problem? What is blocking your creativity juices from flowing?

Next, plot your course of action. What are you going to do to solve your problem? You can think of multiple solutions. 

Then, try to picture the result of each of these solutions. What happens after? How do you feel about it? Try to imagine yourself achieving the end goal and the result of your experiment. 

While conducting these thought experiments, don’t be afraid to try things that might seem ridiculous. When it comes to creativity, know that there’s no such thing as stupid. 

7) Realize that there’s no such thing as “stupid” 

Our creativity is usually held back by the fear of creating something “stupid.” But when it comes to creativity, there’s really no such thing.

New ideas might seem ridiculous, but that’s only because no one’s done that before. I would even argue that wand-wielding witches and wizards and children fighting forces of the dark were all “ridiculous” ideas until Harry Potter became mainstream. 

The point is, if you want to unlock your inner creative genius, don’t let that voice in your head telling you your ideas are “stupid” to stop you from creating. 

Sure, the first few ideas might be bad, but as long as you allow yourself to come up with new ideas constantly, the next one will always be better than the previous one. 

The important thing to know is that when you’re creating, especially as a beginner, you must practice kindness to yourself and your craft.

8) Be kind to yourself and your craft

he likes you but is hiding it at work The art of creative thinking: 10 strategies for unlocking your inner genius

As people, we like it when we get instant results. When trying new things, more often than not, we want ourselves to be good at it instantly instead of enjoying the process of learning. But when it comes to creativity, nothing is instant.

Even Michelangelo did not paint the whole Sistine Chapel overnight. 

So be kind to yourself and your craft. Don’t rush. Take all the time you need to get better. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every once in a while, allow yourself to take a break.  It’s all part of the process.

9) Don’t overcomplicate it

Creativity is not rocket science. There’s no complicated formula that could solve the problem of how you can unlock your inner creative genius. 

Being creative is as simple as allowing yourself to be creative. 

Take some time during the day where you can practice. Research on the techniques you need to master in order to get better. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel you’ve created something bad. Like I’ve said, it’s all part of the process.

Remember: being creative doesn’t mean rising to the level of the Da Vincis and Michelangelos of the world. It simply means being able to bring your imagination to life.

10) Learn from the best 

All the best artists in history had mentors. They were inspired by people who came before them. Being completely “self-taught” is a myth.

So don’t be ashamed to watch YouTube tutorials on how to draw a portrait and get the proportions of the face accurately. Read books to sharpen your mind and expand your vocabulary. You can even play video games to explore a broader range of ideas. 

There’s no limit to learning new things. The only thing holding yourself back is you. 

Final thoughts

Unlocking your inner creative genius is easier than you think. As long as you keep on practicing, learning, and satisfying your curiosity, your creativity will keep on developing.

In the process of becoming a fully fledged creative, however, remember to always be kind to yourself and to take a break every now and again. Trust the process, and soon enough, you’ll be able to breathe life into all your great ideas. 

Related: 10 signs of latent genius (it’s more common than you may think)

Picture of Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce is a writer who believes in the power of storytelling and changing lives by writing stories about love, relationships, and spirituality. A bookworm and art enthusiast, she considers herself a creative-at-heart who likes to satisfy her childish wonder through new hobbies and experiences.

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