How can we be more creative? Is it possible to apply some techniques to have better ideas?
There are dozens of investigations in this area. All of which shows that yes, with specific exercises and techniques, it is possible to improve creativity. Some will get it significantly. Others won’t. Regardless if you are looking to improve your creativity at work, day-to-day life or while building that company, at least it is worth trying.
Here are some of the techniques that could serve you:
Many studies on this fear show that a recurring problem that many people face is to take the path of the “least possible mental resistance.” It means, starting from ideas or concepts that they already knew. Research also shows that self-imposing limitations can improve your creativity because it forces you to think outside your comfort zone.
An example: Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs & Ham after a bet in which his editor challenged him to write the book using less than 50 different words. When you have to think more strongly about a problem that you thought was simpler, it is easier to find creative solutions that solve it.
Refocus the problem
One of the aspects that researchers have proven here is that creative people tend to refocus or re-conceptualize a given problem more frequently than less creative people. Instead of trying to find a quick and simple way to solve something, they sit down and analyze different ways of addressing the problem before getting to work.
For example: Imagine you are stuck thinking about how to deal with a generic problem (what would be interesting to paint?). Try to refocus it by focusing on another more useful, concrete or different angle (what kind of picture would evoke the feeling of loneliness that we all have after having a breakup?)
Creating a whole background around a specific topic makes it easier to connect the dots and experience intense periods of creativity and enjoyment known as flow states.
Create psychological distance
Many people in this study were able to solve many more problems creatively. They were asked to think about problems from a point of view as if they did not care. If you think of the problem as something disconnected from your day-to-day life or location, this could cause you to see it differently. Consequently, it lets you obtain different solutions to it.
Think of something absurd
Other studies show that reading or experiencing something surreal or absurd can help improve creative thinking. The mind always tries to rationalize what it sees. Something surreal or absurd puts the mind in a period of surprise for a short period of time. The mind tries to rationalize what it sees. In some studies, they tried to ask volunteers to read Franz Kafka or stories like Alice in Wonderland, and it seems to have worked.)
Take advantage of intense moments of encouragement
Since always, research has shown that moments of happiness and optimism are ideal to have good ideas. However, a study in 2007 suggests that creativity at work benefits from both positive and negative emotional moments.
Negative moods usually kill creativity. But there may be times when, if you sit down and try to focus that energy on creating something, the end result can be surprisingly positive. Sometimes, we need negativity to reach something positive. Oftentimes, healthy habits start as a deterrent to something wrong in one’s life.
Use cognitive enhancers
We all have slow days and it’s not pretty when you get stuck in a creative rut with no sign of clear sight. Cognitive enhancers, whether they are natural or synthetic, can be just the thing to get you in the zone. Modafinil is famous for that through its potent effects, namely the increase in energy levels, alertness, motivation and the decrease in mental fog and laziness.
Some studies suggest exercising in addition to being good for health. It can boost your creativity because it exercises your heart and usually puts us in a good mood. If you are stuck at some point in your work or creative process, take a break and exercise while keeping your mind active. Maybe the moment of inspiration is just a second away.
Ask yourself, “what could have happened if …?”
According to one study, “thinking about something that has already happened and asking what could have happened if different things had been done” is the way to go. It is a simple and effective technique to boost creativity for short periods of time. It costs nothing to try. Like everything, it requires patience, practice, and a lot of work.