How to be more creative Tip 1: Learn to defer judgment
Want to learn how to be more creative? Learn how to postpone your rush to judgement. The brain is trained to think of the world in dualities like black and white, right or wrong, yes or no. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have survived as a species. But the thinking that kept us safe in the jungle isn’t the same as the thinking we need to be more creative.
Alex Osborn, the “O” in BBDO you might know from the TV series, Mad Men, pioneered the early thinking around brainstorming and its key tenet of deferring judgment. It means ignoring your first thoughts of “how might this not work” when you hear a new idea and instead entertaining the thought of “how might we make this work?”
The surprising thing about deferring judgment is it is much easier to do on other people’s ideas than your own.
We are constantly battling our self-talk, which can include unproductive thoughts like “how can I be so stupid,” or “this will never work” or “what a bad idea, I better not say it.” One of the easiest ways to silence the doubts is to learn how to laugh at them.
When you are laughing, you are your best self, naturally. You are free, you aren’t worried what the world is thinking about, and you are entirely in the present moment. When you want to generate a lot of great new ideas, create an environment that encourages laughter and join right in. You’ll find the ideas will flow. This is one of the easiest ways to be more creative.
How to be more creative Tip 2: Reverse your assumptions
Another tip is how to be more creative is learn how to question your assumptions. Ever come across a lateral thinking puzzle and struggled to see the answer? For example, a man marries twenty women in his village but isn’t a polygamist. How did he do it? He’s a pastor.
The reason that was hard to solve was that you were held firmly in the grip of your assumptions and beliefs about how the world. A man who marries must be a husband until you were forced to challenge that belief – if he wasn’t a husband then what could he be – and then the answer comes quickly.
Challenging your assumptions about a creative challenge works much the same way. You can do it on a piece of paper at your desk. On one side write down all your beliefs or “rules” about a problem and then on the other side of the paper one by one – challenge them.
You will quickly begin to see new possibilities and how many ways there are to solve it, becoming instantly unstuck.
How to be more creative Tip 3: Make time for incubation
My last tip to increase your creativity is – don’t be afraid to be kind to yourself and take breaks. In fact, use the breaks as an opportunity to “get away from yourself.”
The easiest way is to go for a walk outside, with the added benefit of getting some exercise. Take time to observe the world around you and let your mind drift away from the problem. At worst, you’ll come back feeling energised and refreshed. At best, don’t be surprised if you have an “ah-ha” moment and get a sudden flash of insight into your problem.
These three simple techniques are brilliant and will help you to be more creative and don’t take any specialised training or tools. They require a mindset of openness to seeing the world differently. When you do that, you will not only be more creative, but you will be at your best.How to be more creative Tip 1: Learn to defer judgment