Friday, May 04, 2007

38 random thoughts about creativity

1. Eliminate the following sentences from your vocabulary:

*But I’ve never been creative!
*I’m a left-brain person…
*Creativity doesn’t run in my family!
*I work in a job that doesn’t require creativity…

Sure, they may be true. But they’re blocking your creativity!

One of the first steps to enhancing creativity is changing your attitude. Eliminating negative past programming. Removing counterproductive thoughts that obstruct creative thinking.

2. The moment you get a new idea, start making a list. Don’t worry about order. Order comes later. Just puke everything out in movable bits of content so that way when it self-organizes, you can easily categorize it. Consider using brightly colored index note cards. One idea per card.

3. It’s impossible to be too creative.

4. Ask yourself (or your group) the same question over and over again for an hour. Come up with as many answers as possible.

5. Read one book about creativity (at least) once a month.

6. Hang out with as many creative people as often as you can. And don’t just watch them - OBSERVE them. Study the way they think. Learn not only from their content, but also from their craniums. Remember, creativity is musical. Be sure to listen between the notes.

7. Combine your senses: light candles, listen to music and make your office bright, colorful and visual. It helps.

8. “If at first your idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it.” Thanks, Albert Einstein.
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9. If you get a great idea and have to stay up all night until 7 AM the next day working on it, do it. Recognize when the world’s giving you a gift. Pay the price. In five years you’ll look back and say, “Boy am I glad I stayed up all night working on that idea!”

10. If you’re stuck, stop. Try coming up with the stupidest, most ridiculous and horrible idea possible. First of all, it’s fun. Secondly, it’s counterintuitive which means it’s effective for breaking your thought patterns. Lastly, you never know what gems might come out of it.

11. Speaking of brainstorming, brainstorming mean NO CRITICISM.

12. Three words: DRY. ERASE. BOARDS. Cover your walls with them!

13. Go for more walks. (Be sure to take a notepad with you!)

14. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It will not only change your life, it will change your brain. (And while you're at it, just go ahead and read everything else she's ever written too.)

15. Speaking of Julia Cameron, here’s six cool things I learned from her:

16. "Some people might find your creative, artistic recovery disturbing. Their doubts will reactivate your own. They are attempts to leverage us back into our old ways for the sake of someone else’s comfort, not our own."

17. "Creativity is blocked by our falling in with other people’s plans for us."

18. "Footwork doesn’t pay off in a linear fashion. You shake the apple tree and the universe delivers oranges."

19. "Money will come when you are doing the right thing."

20. "Art is not about thinking something up; it’s about getting something down."

21. "The creative life is grounded on many, many small steps and very, very few large leaps." (Thanks Julia!)

22. Read weird, unusual and unrelated magazines. Scramble your brain a little.

23. Study the minds of creative thinkers. Read everything ever written by Michael Gelb.

24. Find a way to introduce yourself to Don the Idea Guy. (He’s my homeboy.) Now, I know there are a lot of people out there who claim to be “Idea Guys,” but I GUARANTEE you Don is the real deal.

25. Speaking of creative thinkers, Maya Angelou once said, “The more creativity you use, the more you have.” Cool.

26. After you’ve been working on a new idea, STOP. Go exercise for at least 30 minutes. Let the endorphins kick in. You’ll get (legally) high and your creativity will flow like a waterfall. Plus, I exercise is also “good for your body,” apparently.

27. Go onto Google and type in “Creativity Exercises.” Do a few each week, one every morning, or one with your crew before a brainstorming session. After all, if you went to play 18 holes, you’d go hit a bucket of balls first, right? Same thing, different organ. Don’t neglect MENTAL warm-ups.

28. Make a sticky note by your desk that says: “Is the idea you’re working on RIGHT NOW solving your #1 problem?”

29. Spend a day in a kindergarten classroom. Five year olds are the most creative people in the world. Plus they’re freaking hysterical.

30. Give yourself - or your team – regular idea quotas. WITH A GROUP: say, “OK gang, nobody leaves this conference room until we get 30 ideas!” BY YOURSELF: start a blank document. At the top write, “50 Ideas for My New Project.” Then start cranking. The cool thing is, when you give your brain a quota, it works extra hard to meet it!

31. Do yoga, pilates, meditation, breathing exercises or any other kind of mind-calming, spiritual practice. Clear all the crap out of your mind. Get in touch with your intuition, your gut, your inner voice, your spirit. There’s bound to be some good stuff in there!

32. Go to Sedona once a year. It's your brain's favorite.

33. Start keeping a notepad in your pocket, car, purse, in your office and by your bed. Every time you get an idea, jot it down. Keep a running list. But be sure to always have it with you – inspiration comes unannounced. And if you don’t write it down, it NEVER happened.

34. Which reminds me, Thomas Edison carried a 200-page notebook wherever he went, just for his ideas. At the end of his life, he’d filled up more than 3,400 of them. He also obtained more patents than any person in history. What does THAT tell you?

35. Just for a minute, pretend you’re Dr. Seuss. Don’t hang your creativity on a noose. Instead, write a poem and consider adopting a goose! Let loose, my beloved moose! You’ll feel happier, and of course, more chartreuse!

36. OK. So that last example was like, the silliest poem ever written. But it was fun. And childlike. And cool. And good for the soul. Are you doing stuff like that regularly?

37. You know, that’s actually not a bad idea. Tomorrow, go to Borders and read a few children’s books to get your mind cooking.

38. Make a list of 100 questions. About anything. It doesn’t matter. Just do it. And don’t stop until you’re done. THE BEST PART: questions 80-100 will end up being the most interesting.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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