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Get Creative? Why Not!

P1040304This month’s Scientific American Mind has a quick article on being a better artist (January/February 2014, p. 200) with four easy ways to make sure it’s easy for you to be more creative. How might you

Get outside more. In one measure of creativity, those who went backpacking did 50% better than those who didn’t. It turns out that nature makes us more aware of patterns, forms, and other elements that add to creativity. Oh, and it’s a stress-reducer. Stop telling yourself you don’t have time and get outside to spark better ideas!

Embrace your own weirdness. People who aren’t ashamed of their quirks–who talk to themselves or admit to knowing the name of every Star Trek episode or who have to win a game of Spider Solitaire before opening their research files–come up with more creative ideas.

Travel–as far away as you can. There’s nothing like seeing real differences to make you aware of what you’ve been taking for granted–and it turns out that that boosts creativity, too. Uh, hopping from one American fast food outlet to the next overseas doesn’t count, though, even if you do manage to note that some serve lamb instead of beef…

Play. Come on, is this advice so tough to take? When you’re starting to create something, ignore your “Is this any good” thoughts and dream/free-associate/draw/squeeze the playdough/brainstorm with a friend. Recently, as I tried to draft a catchy opener to a book chapter, one of my dad’s pet phrases, “Half a Job!” popped into my head. Quickly, I pulled out a fresh piece of paper and wrote down all the phrases that peppered our childhoods (I have 4 big brothers…). Yep, the idea that resulted was quickly embraced by my editor and one of my toughest critics.

Try one of these ideas–and let me know what you create!

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Jane Kise is a consultant and executive coach. The founder of Differentiated Coaching Associates and author of over 20 books, she works with schools and businesses worldwide to help create environments where everyone can flourish.

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