There is a misconception that only a select few are gifted with the ability to engage in creative thinking. As result, we often hear statements such as “Only he/she could have come up with this marvelous idea.” In the workplace leadership tends to call on those supposedly creative thinkers for their insight and/or perspective. Unfortunately, too many of us doubt our own ability to produce creative ideas. I am here to tell you that we all have the power to engage in creative thinking.
Creative thinking is a skill that can be learned. It’s nothing more than looking at things that everyone else sees, but in different ways. It is about not being afraid to ask “why not?” It’s having the courage to go against the old status quo. Creative people and organizations constantly search for new solutions and opportunities to grow. They have the foresight to look at what appears to be a perfectly good situation and come up with new ideas to make it better. More importantly, creative thinking is having confidence in your ability to bring forth new ideas and opinions from within and not care what others think of them.
If you don't actively utilize your creative thoughts, this skill is likely to be view as non-existent. We all know people who once appeared to have a mind full of creative thoughts? For whatever reason, these creative juices seem to have vanished, and they find themselves stuck doing the same thing over and over producing meaningless results.
So how do you unleash your creative thinking? I’d like to offer several strategies that you may find helpful to tap into this hidden reservoir of ideas.
· First, become a seeker of information. I am not suggesting that you absorb information just for the sake of it, I am saying that you should take in as much knowledge and learning as you can find. Read everything available -- good and bad and keep your mind open to the unlimited possibilities of the universe. I personally read at least three books per month to increase my knowledge base and awareness of various topics. I have discovered the more you know, the more you'll want to know, and the more your creative thoughts will evolve.
· Second, engage in creative activities daily. There are a number of simple activities you can do to enhance your thinking process. Doodling is a simple but stimulating activity. Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Take out your cell phone camera and start snapping photos of the world around you. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it every day. Before you know it, you'll have built yourself a tiny portfolio, and you'll be amazed at the growth you've undertaken and changes in your thinking process.
· Third, thinking out of the box is not always the best route to take. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Creative freedom is great, but limitations enforce discipline. Reflect on how you can better utilize what you already have. For instance, forcing oneself to live within their financial means challenges them to come up with creative ideas to maximize the resources they have.
· Fourth, try something new every day and let the experience broaden your perspective. Explore a new community on your drive home from work. Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you've never gone before. Chat with a total stranger while traveling on public transportation. Open up to the people around you. As you thrust yourself out of your comfort zone more and more each day, your sense of adventure grows and so will your zest for living.
· Fifth, do something you have never done before. When was the last time you did something for the first time? If it's been a while, I tell you, you've been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could add to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. To run my first marathon (26.3 miles) at age 60 was a tremendous morale booster. If running is not your thing, why don't you try bungee jumping or sky diving? Not only will you learn something about yourself, but you will also have plenty of stories to share, enabling you to improve your storytelling skills and make you a more outgoing person.
I hope you feel inspired to start thinking beyond your self-imposed limitations. If you follow these steps, you'll soon be living a life full of adventure. Unleashing your creative thinking will make you far more productive and add meaning to your life.
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