Author: Larry Mager
It’s easy to forget how often we use creative thinking in our daily lives. It might be coming up with a unique business strategy, planning an event, creating a piece of art from scratch, or even figuring out what kind of healthy dinner you can throw together based on what’s in the fridge. Unfortunately we often also run into mental blocks that keep us from reaching our potential, whether it’s in-the-moment as you’re working on a project or if you just feel generally uninspired. Also, the winter months can leave us feeling tired and uninspired. Here are a few ways you can get your creative juices going.
Identify and remedy the block
It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of day-to-day, but it can inadvertently cause us to wear blinders when it comes to our projects. Sometimes you have to take a step back to see what the problem is—if there’s really a problem at all—before you can solve it. There are a few common creative blocks, including seeking the “right” answer, overly-logical thinking, strict rule-following, and being too practical. Approach the project or idea from a totally new angle, even if on the surface it seems a little absurd. See what kinds of new thoughts and visions you have from this shifted perception and take note of all of them. You might unexpectedly solve part or all of the problem now, or look back on the list later and feel inspired in a new way.
Catch up with other creatives
Bouncing ideas off of other people can open the door to all kinds of new inspiration. You can call up another artist or professional in your field to meet for coffee, or make it a group event. Even if you can’t discuss the details of an ongoing project, you can vent about a type of issue you’re running into and see what advice others offer about overcoming it. You can even have a weekly game night—card games tend to be great for both social and mental benefits—where you all gather and discuss your ventures. What’s working, what’s not, what’s inspired you lately. By having a game as a buffer, the mood will stay light and happy, and you might realize venting to those who understand while having a good time may be exactly what you needed.
Indulge in your passion
Maybe you’re an artist feeling blocked over a painting or a marketing executive in need of ideas for a new campaign. When you’re having trouble doing what you’re good at, you start to doubt yourself and become even more discouraged. Instead of dwelling in what you’re struggling with, shift gears into a project you’ll enjoy! Head to your favorite scenic spot and paint, sketch, or write out your frustrations. Make up a project if you must: create a brief PR campaign for Superman if his identity was revealed or put together an advertising plan for Cheers if it decided to franchise. Even silly, fictitious projects can get your creative juices flowing, so take a few minutes to refocus on a similar, but fun, project.
Get inspired before bedtime
Try looking at a collection of your favorite artist’s work, reading a book by someone you admire, or listening to music that inspires you as your last task before bed. There have been studies that demonstrated that memory retention actually improves if something is learned just before sleeping. You can even simply sit back, close your eyes, and visualize all the things that have inspired you: the color of the ocean during a storm, a sculpture you saw at an exhibit, or perhaps a brilliant advertisement you see on your daily commute. Give yourself at least 15 minutes each night for a little inspiration time, and commit to it whether you’re at home or away.
Use these techniques as the need arises, or better yet implement a few into your daily routine. Learn which approaches work best for you and which don’t. You probably won’t be able to stop yourself from ever feeling blocked, but you will know how to overcome it!
About the Author:
Larry Mager is passionate about the study of how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. He believes in regular exercise of the brain as a means to do just that. Give yours a workout with some fun, brain-stimulating games at ReadyBrain.net.
Photo credit: mcredifine
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com