Just as we make sure we don't skip many meals, we need to prioritize the feeding of our creative mind. Our creative mind is a critical resource that enables our ability to think creatively. Without it, we stunt our creative output and therefore our personal and professional success.
For some reason, most people don't prioritize it. Once they get out of school and begin our careers, they tend to ignore it in hopes that others will feed it for us. This is 100% the wrong approach. We need to be diligent about feeding our own creative mind.
Here are 15 ways you can feed your creative mind:
- Help one person today (pay it forward) – Find one person who you can creatively help with a problem or opportunity they are facing. Engaging with others allows you to feed (learn about a new problem) and exercise (use your own creative thinking) your creative mind.
- Protect your time (1440 minutes per day) – Everyone is given the same amout of time each day. 1440 minutes. No one get more becaus they are rich or famous. How well do you manage this valuable resource? Do you let others steal your time?
- Write something (anything) daily – The process of writing forces you to create something to write about. For me, writing in a notebook (pen to paper) is one of those daily tasks that I look forward to. Afterwards, my brain is engaged, ready and has already come up with new ideas for me to work on.
- Read from a PHYSICAL book daily – There is a recent study that reveals the difference between reading an electronic book and a physical book. Electronic books enages the non-linear thinking part of the brain that results in use skimming or scanning the information. Reading a physical book results in deep concentration which results in better retention and thereby our ability to recall the information as input to our creative thinking.
- Have a good conversation daily (Jefferson Dinners) – Person to person engagement is required for the creative mind. Its through discussion that results in discovering problems or opportunities to apply your creative mind.
- Go for a walk daily – Steven King, Ernest Hemingway, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many others found walking as there way to think and solve problems. There is a saying the innovation community that the toughest problems are .. “solved by walking”.
- Take in inspiration daily (visual, audio, tactile) – Find input that inspires you across all of your senses such as listening to music (audio), looking at pictures or images (visual) and/or go dancing (physical)
- Ask yourself a daily question – Questions have the power to engage your mind to think and solve problems you would have never considered. I would suggest you work on two types of questions: 1) A motivational question such as asking yourself what are you most thankful for in your life today? and 2) a question to challenge your assumptions or beliefs such as I know x is true but what I believed the opposite?
- Stop comparing yourself – Comparing yourself to the Joneses is not creative. Comparing to others is about conforming. I shared in a recent post my thoughts on conformity. The opposite of bravery is not cowardess. The opposite of bravery is conformity. To innovate you need to be brave. Stop worrying what others think and go do.
- Reprogram your information input – What you read and see has a major impact in how you think. If you take in critical or negative input, you will think negatively. Go through your input (sites you visit, newsletters you get sent, video's you watch) and prune out the negative or critical ones. Add information input that is motivational/positive for what it is you want to achieve.
- Tell stories (improv) – Creating and telling imaginitive stories is a create exercise for the creative mind. The story can be a true story about yourself or others – or the story can be made up to convey a point. People love to hear stories and creating them is fun. A form of a funny story that I particularly like is ‘improv' comedy. If you can find a course in your areas, I would strongly recommend every creative to take an improve comedy course.
- Try something new – Getting out of your comfort zone forces your brain to step up. This can range from trying a new hobby all the way to changing industries/careers. In my case, I switch industries across my career 5 times. Each time was exilerating and exciting as I had to learn new things in order to be sucessful.
- Spend time with highly creative people – I find hanging out with ‘creatives' is rejuvinating. I feed off the energy of others and find that creatives give off an energy that I find is addictive. Depending on where you live, you may not have access to creative for a face-to-face interation. In that case, find people on line that you can ‘follow' and hang out with by reading/engaging in their creative activities.
- Practice deliberate thinking – How often do we just stop, put down the distractions, remove the ear buds and just ‘think'? Not enough. Setting aside time to just think is critical to feeding the creative mind. In order to do this, you need to recognize and remove the blocks. For instance, I write down my ‘to do' list before I start a thinking session so that the distraction of trying to remember my list is not a block.
- Put the bottle down (less partying if you want to be more creative) – I'm not prude but I've seen creatives who think they need to “relax” before they get into the grove. I'm sorry to say that the creative output from people who have had a drink is far below average. Alcohol is a depressant. That's what gives the relaxed feeling. It also depresses your creative ability. Have a glass of wine – but then put the bottle away.
To understand the rationale and hear examples of each of the 15 ways to feed your creative mind, listen to podcast.