Jack London once said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Becoming sensitive to problems and searching for solutions is the foundation of creative ideas. From time immemorial we have participated relentlessly in the cultivation of creativity. Whether you are an architect of a disruptive technology or an inventor of a life-saving drug, it all starts with an idea. If you have a hunch that your idea is a game changer, you have to take your efforts to another level before the idea consummates into reality. As Snow observed, “Creativity is not a light bulb in the mind, as most cartoons depict it. It is an accomplishment born out of intense study, long refection, persistence and interest.”
Undeniably, some of us are more creative than others – many theorize that on some level, creativity is genetic. While we may not all be playing on a proverbial level playing field, there are things that we can do to actively empower our mind to nurture creativity. You don’t have to be the next Thomas Edison to be a creative genius. You can make a small, but positive difference in the lives of those around you by cultivating and implementing your ideas.
Generally speaking, creating a valuable product or service involves these three steps:
1. Prepare Groundwork
Building up a critical mass of information so that your unconscious mind has enough food for thought is essential. We know that subliminal learning was a great idea in theory, but doesn’t help us much in the way of retaining information. Diligently focus on the facts to ensure your mind has all the information it needs when problem solving. Anything to increase alertness will help with this, so grab a cup of coffee or whatever gets you going.
2. Let Your Mind Tire
Surprisingly, sometimes the best way to let your next best idea come to fruition is to let your brain get too tired to fully focus. Studies show that morning people have their most creative ideas at night; night owls tend to think best early in the day.
Walk away from the task at hand and do something completely different. Take a quick stroll, browse the web, whatever it takes to offer your mind a break. Studies show that people who indulged in a comedy or horror flick before attempting to brain storm produced better ideas, further proving the importance of relaxation. Anxiety can only stifle creativity.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs
Stop trying to create something and just create!