Put Yourself in a Creative State of Mind
We all have some level of creativity within us. As with other activities, you can teach yourself to be more creative. Sometimes creative thinking requires us to look at things from new perspectives. Learn to unleash your inventive genius by thinking backwards. Here is an appropriate acronym containing five steps to creative thinking — S A E D I — that’s IDEAS backwards!
S – State of Mind.
Creativity is a state of mind. Telling yourself or others “I’m not very creative,” or “I can never come up with new or clever ideas,” destroys that state of mind. Creative thinking requires positive thinking.
Read Positive Messages. For long-term creative thinking, read and study books on positive thinking. Some classic titles include Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking and Robert H. Schuller’s Tough Times Never Last, Tough People Do.
Get a Quick Fix. If you have to come up with a clever new ad slogan or a new product name by next week, use some “quick fix” state-of-mind techniques to make yourself ready for creative thinking.
· Get plenty of sleep.
· Relax your body and mind with deep breathing. · Let your mind wander freely. · Don’t dwell on deadlines or other negative thoughts. · Finally, don’t forget to daydream; it can be a very effective tool for creative thinking.
In addition to a clear head, it helps to have a physical space conducive to creative thinking..
S | A | E | D | I
Think Backwards to Think Creatively and Generate IDEAS
Surround Yourself with an Atmosphere of Creativity
A – Atmosphere.
All of our senses — what we see, hear, feel, taste, and touch — influence our state of mind. A positive atmosphere contributes to a positive and creative state of mind. Some people thrive in loud, people-filled areas with much activity. Others need quiet and calm to think clearly and creatively. Find that place, noisy or quiet, that makes you feel comfortable.
Find a Place to Walk. If you think best “on your feet,” find a hallway, sidewalk, or park where you can walk. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
Find a Place to Relax. Set up your office or other room with a good chair, paintings, lighting, music, fresh flowers, and anything else that will help you relax.
Use Pictures, Words, Sounds, Software for Inspiration.
Surround yourself with inspirational props. In coming up with a business name or an illustration idea or a hook for your next press release, you might use magazines, phone books, junk mail, cereal boxes, poetry, or crossword puzzles to generate ideas. Collect whatever materials inspire you — that give you ideas. Even computer programs such as Idea Fisher can help you develop your natural creativity and foster creative thinking.
Besides what we see or hear, the scents, textures, and tastes experienced during our creative thinking time contribute to our creativity. Both good and bad smells can trigger the ideas we need. Trying to come up with a name for a new food product? Smell it, taste it, hold it in your hands. Get all your senses involved in the process.
Direct Your Thoughts for More Creative Thinking
E – Effective Thinking.
While positive thinking allows your mind to accept new ideas and creative thoughts, effective thinking involves directing your thoughts toward specific goals. Daydreaming, relaxation, and free association allow the mind to come up with new or unusual ideas or idea fragments.
Have a Goal for Your Creative Thinking. Without a specific goal in mind, random thoughts and ideas may not be particularly useful. Gerald Kushel, Ed.D., is the author of several books, including Effective Thinking for Uncommon Success. In a 1991 interview for Bottom Line Personal newsletter, Dr. Kushel says that to be an effective thinker, you need to have goals and a commitment to those goals. He outlines four steps toward effective thinking:
· Take Notice. Take stock of where you are or what you are doing. Is it moving you toward your goal? · Pause. Take a break when you get off-track. · Identify Effective Thoughts. When a thought enters your head, identify it as effective or defective, positive or negative. · Choose. We can choose our thoughts. It’s the underlying premise of positive thinking. It’s true of effective thinking and creative thinking, as well. Choose to focus on those thoughts that bring you closer to your goals
Identify Your Creative Challenge. Applied to creative thinking, effective thinking means clearly defining what creative challenge you need to meet. Do you want a new business name? Are you looking for an unmet need to turn into a business? Are you trying to come up with an exciting or unusual direct mail piece within a limited budget? Whatever the challenge, direct your thoughts and activities toward that goal. Gather materials that will help you accomplish your goal.
The right time and place and effective thinking only work if given an opportunity to do so. Creative thinking takes determination, perseverance.
Make a Habit of Creative Thinking
D – Determination.
Creativity takes practice. Your creativity is there within you, but you must make a habit of using your imagination. Although many of your best ideas will come when you “aren’t really concentrating,” you can make them happen more often by regularly practicing effective thinking techniques.
Schedule Creative Thinking Even when not pondering a specific creative challenge, set aside a certain amount of time each day, week, or month to relax, brainstorm, and daydream. Make creative thinking a habit. By getting in the habit of scheduling regularly creativity thinking time and creativity exercises you’ll be better able to meet future challenges as they arise.
Ponder On Problems That Don’t Exist. This isn’t the same as worrying about things you can’t change or trying to fix what isn’t broken.
It means that even when you’ve come up with the perfect path to achieve your goals, think about alternatives. Keep a file of ideas that were discarded as not feasible this time around. You may find inspiration for solving future problems and creative challenges. Keep the sketches that the client rejected or that you never even showed to them. Sometimes pulling out these old ideas will generate new ones when needed.
And keeping a file of ideas that were rejected doesn’t mean just holding them in your head.
Put Your Brainstorming in Writing
I – Ink.
Whether you use ink, pencil lead, crayon, or a computer, write down your ideas. We retain more of what we hear or see if we write it down. That applies equally to college lectures and our own brainstorming sessions.
Make Notes Any Time, Any Place. Get in the habit of making notes, outlines, sketches, or doodles. If you are actively pursuing a specific idea or problem, always have paper and pencil or recorder at the ready. Jot down or record all your thoughts, no matter how “off-the-wall.”
Keep a Notebook By Your Bed. Some of your best thoughts come just before falling asleep and just after waking. Keep a notebook at your bedside so you will always be ready to write down ideas whenever they come.
Create an Inspiration File. Whether it’s a file folder, a notebook, or an entire file cabinet, keep clippings, thumbnail sketches, junk mail, photos, and anything else that inspires you or gives you ideas.
Add the notes you regularly take. Don’t just file it and forget it – go through the file curing your scheduled creative thinking times and when actively pursing ideas for a project.
You Are A Creative Person
The next time you start to think “I can never come up with good ideas,” think backwards. There are a countless number of useful ideas and innovative thoughts in all of us — if we take the time to learn to think and act creatively.