Wile E. Coyote isn’t the only super genius. Make a creative breakthrough.

wile_businesscard

I like throwing around the term super genius. It comes from watching too many Bugs Bunny cartoons. I use it when I come up with some “eureka” concepts when I can’t sleep. But like Wile E. Coyote, most of them don’t pan out, or I forget them when I wake up. So in reality, none of them have worked. Side note – am I the only one who wanted him to catch the roadrunner? Even though my ideas don’t always work out, I do enjoy them when they come as well as trying to figure out how to bring them to life.

If you feel like you’re not creative, don’t know how to move past the idea stage, or can improve your creativity, there are things you can do. Creativity can be learned, at any point in your life. You’ll never find a wrong time to try to bust out of your “same old” routine. Changing it up and challenging yourself can help you achieve more than you think.

Some people find that following a routine helps life run relatively smoothly, and while following a routine may help keep you organized, and on track, it may also decrease your ability to see new ideas or take some risks. People that make a creative breakthrough are the ones who are continually looking for different ways to do things.

Here are some ways to get more creative

chihuly_art

Chihuly exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. My favorite artist.

Ask yourself the hard questions

To help yourself improve, you have to be able to look at what things you do well, but also what things you need to improve. Ask yourself, “How could I have done this better?” or “If I could do this over a, what would I have done differently?” It’s important to remember that none of us are perfect and there are things we can all improve.

Appreciate your strengths and your weaknesses, and work to improve the things that you need. If you’re unable to pick out your weaknesses, ask someone close to you to help (if you can handle someone being that honest with you).

Try to stop being a perfectionist

Perfectionism makes you set unrealistic standards for yourself, and if you’re caught up in this way of thinking, you may feel your self-worth depends on always being flawless. The irony to perfectionism is that instead of increasing your expertise and confidence, this way of thinking can stop you from succeeding. For example, you make endless changes to something you’re working on to get it “just right.” It can lead to you missing your deadline, which can result in a blow to your self-esteem. It also can stop you from experimenting and creating some less-than-perfect work that could lead to your greatest achievement.

It’s important to remember that making mistakes is natural, and it’s important to learn from them. I’m a firm believer that a mistake isn’t a mistake if you learn from it.

Don’t try to be so perfect that you end up ruining the things that made your work unique.

Learn which feedback is valuable

Keep following your path. You want to get feedback at points in time, but not everyone is going to be on the same page as you, and some people may try to advise you in a way that might be right for them, but not for you. You may already know which people to turn to for valuable criticism. If you don’t, as you start asking for advice, pay close attention to see who understands what you’re doing and can provide the right type of feedback.

You should ask for others’ opinions as needed, but don’t let it stop you from trying to achieve your dream.

Step out of your comfort zone

plane

I hate flying but I have to do it often for work. I’m equally proud that I took this photo!

Your comfort zone includes things that are familiar to you. When you need to feel safe, you retreat to that center point. Try stepping out of your comfort zone to think differently.

This activity can help you determine what’s in your comfort zone and what you consider risky.

Create three columns

  • In the first column, write down the things you feel totally safe doing (e.g. exercising at home, going to a friend’s house, getting take-out food).
  • In the second column, write down some things you feel a little uncomfortable doing (e.g. joining a class, cooking new things, going to an unfamiliar place).
  • In the last column, write down the things you feel extremely uncomfortable doing, and would only do if it’s absolutely necessary (e.g. starting a conversation with a complete stranger, or traveling alone to an unfamiliar destination).

Check off the items in the second column that you can try to incorporate into your life, one at a time.  See if there’s anything in the third column you think you could get yourself to do, even if it’s with someone else’s support.

Quick tips

Professionally or at school

  • Speak to someone you see every day but have never talked to before, even if you just start by saying hello.
  • Rearrange your work area; changing your environment can sometimes spark something.
  • Take an alternate route to or from work or school.
  • Eat lunch in a different place or with someone new.
  • Pretend it is your first day at work or school and see if you react any differently to things or to the people you’re usually around.
  • Look around your workspace for something you haven’t used before, or in a long time and see if you can figure out a new use for it.

Personally

long-island

Traveling alone. Selfie visiting Long Beach, New York last year.

  • Try a dish you haven’t eaten before.
  • Look for inspiration around you.
  • Try learning a different language.
  • Learn a new skill, e.g. ballet, boxing, skating, art class, or photography.
  • Read a book about an unfamiliar topic.
  • Watch a different movie genre. Do you usually only watch comedies? Try a drama or sci-fi movie instead.
  • Take a look at your everyday surroundings and see if you can take some unusual photos. It will help you look at them from a new viewpoint.
  • Rearrange some of the items in your kitchen or tackle a bigger change like rearranging your furniture.

Final thoughts

You may not be successful at some of the things you are working on but don’t let it affect your self-esteem. Try to see how you can improve next time. Always remember that your value is defined by so many things, including how you treat other yourself and others, compassion, and trying to do your best.

Lastly, don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone does things their way and at their own pace. If you always look at what others have, what they’re doing and how fast they’re going, it will not inspire you; it will only upset you.

These are some of my thoughts on helping boost your creativity. Let me know some of your ideas.

35 replies »

  1. This is a great post ! Thanks for sharing Sam. I feel like I most certainly have to have to boost up my creativity. I find that 3-column excercise a good place to starts

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Rrudina! I found the exercise helpful in nailing down what I really needed to work on in terms of my comfort zone. I was forced to tackle my most difficult ones first (flying alone and traveling alone) because of work, the others didn’t seem so bad after that! I got lucky that way because I’m not sure I would have ever done those otherwise.

      Like

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