The unfed mind devours itself.
~ Gore Vidal
Is it creativity something we are innately born with or we can improve our creative skills? I would say that some people are maybe more prone to imaginative thinking and open to new ideas, but we all are creative beings. There are key creativity dimensions like knowledge, divergent thinking (cognitive style), personality, autonomy and intrinsic motivation as authors suggest in “Creative Potential and Practised Creativity: Identifying Untapped Creativity in Organizations”. In particular, research findings suggest that domain of specific knowledge is a necessary prerequisite for effective creative functioning.
In my opinion, the difference is maybe in style and tools we use to express our creativity. One of the worst things that can happen is a creativity block that we all encounter from time to time, but there are certain tricks we can apply in order to move forward with our creative thinking.
- Dive in the absurd
In the paper “Connections From Kafka: Exposure to Meaning Threats Improves Implicit Learning of an Artificial Grammar” authors argue that experiencing (reading, hearing or seeing) something absurd like surreal art or literature can increase pattern
recognition of association unrelated to the original meaning threat. In other words, mind always tries to justify, explain what it experiences and “nonsense” art forces mind in faster mode of thinking to recognize what body senses.
So next time you feel uninspired, give your attention to something abstract, surreal (painting, poem, novel) and let you mind drift, loosen up from everything you were trying to accomplish. Let your mind “recharge” this way.
- Limit your self on purpose
This might sound strange at first but when you think about it- it might be true. Often we try to find the solutions to new problems by exploring already familiar models and build our new denouement on old foundations. Furthermore, when we have to many options or resources, we try to incorporate everything and unnecessarily over-complicate solution we are seeking. When we put restrictions on what we can use and what path we should follow, it can actually boost our creative thinking. Here I suggest you improvise a bit with your solution, tackle it from different perspective and simplify your approach. It can be that final “click” you need in your mind to move thinking in right direction.
3. Play with “what if” clause
Then, return to your problem and try to look at it from “What would happen if…. ?” point of view. According to the research, presented in paper Implications of Counterfactual Structure for Creative Generation and Analytical Problem Solving:
additive counterfactual thinking mind-sets, activated by adding new antecedent elements to reconstruct reality, promote an expansive processing style that broadens conceptual attention and facilitates performance on creative generation tasks”
It’s a great way for creativity “spikes” that we all need when we feel stuck and lack ideas.
These were 3 easy steps that can help us ignite our creative imagination. What do you do when you feel uninspired? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Mobius Strip by Robert Desnos
The track I’m running on
Won’t be the same when I turn back
It’s useless to follow it straight
I’ll return to another place
I circle around but the sky changes
Yesterday I was a child
I’m a man now
The world’s a strange thing
And the rose among the roses
Doesn’t resemble another rose.