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14 ways to improve your creativity and imagination

Looking around, some people just seem to be born with creativity!

But in fact, all of us have that special spark of imagination and creativity deep inside.

It’s just a matter of uncovering your creative and imaginative side and letting it flourish.

Here’s how:

14 ways to improve your creativity and imagination

1) Drop all the labels

It’s easy to think of ourselves as not being creative or imaginative.

We may picture our artistic friends and colleagues as being in a league of their own.

Meanwhile, we’re down here in the land of the “basic” people without artistic skills or creative projects on the go.

This can lead to low self-esteem and a picture of yourself as being creatively doomed.

But the truth is that all the labels you’ve attached to yourself are unnecessary and untrue. You always have the power to reinvent yourself and live afresh in each moment.

“What is it that you have always told yourself, are you lacking in creativity or originality?

“Stop these thoughts, your mind is telling you things that aren’t true,” writes Siobhan Harmer.

“Remember impermanence?  Every moment is like a refresh, you are a blank canvas. Choose what you want to fill your canvas with.”

2) Ask others about their ideas and passions

Another one of the best ways to improve your creativity and imagination is to ask others about their passions.

As you hear their ideas and absorb their enthusiasm, you just may find that it sparks your own journey.

Creativity is really a collective process in so many ways. Making it all about our own interests and ideas can back us into a corner.

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That’s why it’s so important to get out there and find out what friends – and even strangers – are into.

Is your neighbor passionate about the art of Jackson Pollock?

Is your coworker at the office an aspiring amateur filmmaker?

As you discover these hidden gems you may find that your inspiration grows.

3) Talk it out

Many of the best ideas people have that change the world start in one place: talking with friends, family and loved ones.

Sometimes even talking to strangers can be the spark that lights the fire…

It’s in conversations where we have the chance to listen, discover, argue and reflect.

It’s also in conversations where we can have the chance to find ourselves.

The words, emotions and insights of others bounce off us and reveal who we are, stroke by stroke like a sculpture being revealed…

As Storypickers writes:

“Get together with people who can stimulate your thinking. Hang out with friends who can widen your horizon of thinking.

“Take up a topic, a philosophical one or one that makes you think. Discuss your ideas. Push your brain to think.”

So, let me ask you, what’s the purpose of life?

And…go!

4) Let your mind and heart roam free

It’s easy to get stuck on the hamster wheel of life running like crazy.

By the time another day goes by and you’ve hit the sack for some sleep, you still feel stuck.

Your heart is in a cage and the “real you” seems buried under an avalanche of duties, expectations, labels and social roles.

But when you look below the surface, there are so many hidden opportunities to let your mind and heart roam free.

For example, when you’re on the freeway into work and the traffic just won’t move…

Or maybe when you’re waiting for your dental appointment…

These are your “creative Shangri-la moments.”

Like Melissa Allen advises:

“When you take a break from your daily tasks, or you are stuck in traffic, observe the things around you and let your mind wander. What is the life of a traffic cop really like?

“Do plants feel pain? Is there really more than one plane of existence?

“You can amuse yourself by speculating on these things, and it will soon become a habit. It can one day trigger an idea for a book, or for a new product that may just change your life.”

5) Watch films that get you thinking and feeling deeply

As shallow and silly as Hollywood can be, there are some excellent films out there, including foreign films.

Personally, I’ve always had a penchant for French cinema. It’s hard to beat François Truffaut…

Sorry, do I sound too pretentious there?

In any case, watching creative and groundbreaking films can be an outstanding way to stimulate your creative and imaginative side.

As the vision and ideas of others come to life on the screen, your own internal creative radar may begin pinging you and reawakening those impulses that have lain dormant for so long…

Remember the cabin you wanted to build in the country in the style of a small Swiss chateau?

And what about that trip you always wanted to go on to Venice to see the works of the great Renaissance painters?

6) Get a pen and start writing

There’s just something about taking a pen (or pencil) and putting it to paper that can unleash the floodgates of your creativity.

I’m not sure what it is about the exercise of writing, but it can really be a game-changer.

The exercise of free writing can be especially excellent.

Basically, you sit down with a pen and paper for a certain amount of time. You can sit at your computer keyboard if you prefer.

Then you write a stream of consciousness block of text about whatever you want.

Maybe write about how you can’t think of anything to write. Something will come. And when it does, you’ll feel great.

This is a great video about the benefits of freewriting.

 

7) Take a creative class or join a group

There are all sorts of creative classes out there which you can sign up for and enjoy.

Some may cost a small amount of money, while others like meetup groups are often free.

This is a great way to meet like-minded people and engage in activities that bring out your creative side.

Whether it’s a cooking class or learning how to ride horses or crochet, you’ll find that your creative side begins to emerge with full force…

8) Change up your work location

Whether you work at home or at an office or job site, it can get stale…

You get used to one location and your life becomes a routine. It can start to feel like the film Groundhog Day.

Work, rinse, repeat.

That’s why changing up your work location can make such a big difference.

If you work on your computer, try going to a new French cafe in your city or town…

If you work in construction, try asking to be assigned to new types of projects instead of building the same suburban three-bedroom over and over…

If you’re a bus driver, try out a new route to get where you’re going, or switch up the music you listen to.

It’s not always possible to change location, after all, but it’s always possible to change your state of mind.

9) Find allies who share your interests and goals

In addition to talking over ideas and passions with other people, you can look for allies who want to join up with you in projects or endeavors.

Make your interests known, and ask around.

You might be surprised that there are people nearby who are also into what you’re into, and who may be keen about joining up with you on projects.

Do you want to start a band? That funny guy at work may have exactly the same dream!

Put your interests out there.

As Rafis Abazov writes:

“Even a great innovator needs people around her or him to discuss – or “bounce” – new creative ideas and innovations.

“What do the major innovative ideas of our time have in common, from Microsoft (well, when it was young) to Google?

“All of them were created by teams of people who stayed together to conceive the idea, plan their innovative projects, take them to investors and the public, and most importantly jointly brainstorm those innovations within the team.”

10) Learn new skills that challenge you

There are all sorts of new skills out there that can challenge you and help you see things in new and exciting ways.

Whether it’s learning to fix your car or improving your patience with friends and family who wear on your nerves, your skills eventually pay off in untold ways…

They lead to you looking at problems and challenges in unique ways that get your mind and heart moving and active.

And this will spur all sorts of imaginative and creative abilities in you.

“Experiencing or learning new things requires your mind to think (and neurons to connect) in new ways.

“It provides new perspectives and supple ground for ideation and creativity,” writes Kendra Sand.

Good advice.

11) Solve problems in all-new ways

Problems will come at you every day of your life, from being late for work to dealing with illness and loss.

When pain hits us, most of us react with anger and sadness.

After all, what did we ever do to deserve this shit?

But when you think through your responses to hardship and respond in new ways, you can begin to stimulate your creativity and see the world in new and imaginative ways.

Maybe life is different than we always thought it was and there’s still hope.

As Kendra Cherry says:

“The next time you approach a problem, try looking for a variety of solutions. Instead of simply going with the first idea you have, take the time to think of other possible ways to approach the situation.

“This simple activity is a great way to build both your problem-solving and creative thinking skills.”

12) Make up a crazy story in your head

Another of the best ways to improve your creativity and imagination is to create crazy stories in your head.

Think of two everyday objects or situations that have no link and connect them in your mind.

Maybe the piece of watermelon you’re eating ends up going on an adventure to the Grand Canyon.

Or maybe your baseball glove ends up getting an award for best actor at the Oscars.

Crazy stories like this can

In this video Johnny Briones has some good observations:

 

13) Get inspired

Whatever it takes to get inspired, get out there and do it!

Maybe it’s going to a concert or taking a walk by the river. Just sit and brainstorm about the kinds of places and situations that turn you crank.

Then go out and take part in them…

If you used to play hockey and want to get back into it, go pick up a stick…

If getting your hair done at the top salon in town helps you get inspired, then go for it…

What’s $50 when it helps inspire you more for the coming day?

14) Let nature lead the way

One of the best ways to improve your creativity and imagination is to get out and about in nature.

Seeing the beauty and patterns of nature has a way of bringing people back to their core and what they really care about.

The beauty and wonder of nature has a way of opening up our minds and hearts to the infinite possibilities of this incredible cosmos we live in.

It reminds us how lucky we are to be alive and breathing in this unique and powerful moment in history…

It offers us a vista to look out into and steps to walk that bring us eventually back to ourselves.

As the poet Rainier Maria Rilke wrote in his poem “the Walk”:

“So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;

it has an inner light, even from a distance- and changes us,

even if we do not reach it, into something else,

which, hardly sensing it, we already are.”

Embarking on a journey to imagination land

Embarking on the journey to imagination land is all about stepping out of your comfort zone.

Whether or not you think you’re creative or imaginative, I can guarantee that you have more creativity than you think you do.

It’s all about opening yourself up to the possibilities.

What do you think?

Written by Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer. His upcoming book Cultworld will be out later this year. Follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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