5 Ways to Boost Your Creativity
Creativity and art are part of human nature. They are part of what separates us from animals. Without creativity, there would be no new inventions, there would be no electricity, no water, and no Internet. Everything surrounding us in our physical environment is the result of creative human thinking. Whatever you can think of, somebody first had to have the concept. In his famous 1964 book ‘The Act of Creation’, author and polymath Arthur Koestler compared many different examples of invention and discovery. Koestler concluded there is a common thread in human creativity, which he called “bisociation” – a blending of ideas from previously unrelated lines of thought, into a whole new surprising and unexpected idea. According to Koestler, creativity can be practiced and developed, and even people who think they are not innovative or creative, can become so.
How can we hone our creative thinking skills?
**1. Enjoy. **Once you know how to do it, you too can come up with a new idea. Have a “creativity space” in your office or home. Maybe with scattered papers, colourful objects, crayons, markers, pens, etc. Hang a corkboard on the wall, where you can pin up odd newspaper clippings, magazines, photos, kids’ drawings, flirty messages. Try to pin up all kinds of things. Then rearrange them. This is your creative environment. Be innovative. You can attach stuff to the curtains, to the refrigerator, on your desktop – interesting magnets, mirrors, memos, beautiful art images, jokes, wisdom. You want this environment to be fun, to uplift your mood. Interrupt your work to laugh about something with colleagues, to juggle balls, or throw darts at the wall.
**2. Set your mind to being creative. **Take time for creative thinking. In pure mathematics, a problem will have one right solution, and mathematicians will throw all their energy and time into finding that one answer. In the real world though, there is usually more than one way to solve a problem. The best way to approach any problem requires some creativity; of course, some people will pooh-pooh this approach, or come up with totally silly ideas. With a little practice, and experience you can get better at coming up with new ideas. The new ideas are all around you; knowing that will make it much easier for you to think of them than if you were not sure whether there really is an answer.
Imagine if everyone believed that everything had already been invented! Would we have so much variety if people really believed that? Think about how we need to store more and more information. Would we still be stuck with floppy discs? Anything can be improved upon. The best story is not yet been written, the fastest possible cars do not exist. Medicine continues to evolve. Scientists continue to seek for answers to the thousands of questions that are still unanswered. There are always hundreds of solutions to a problem, and there is no reason why you couldn’t think of some of them.
**3. Go back to the child in you. **Consider what things give you real pleasure. Look at them from a new angle, as if you’ve never done them. You can look similarly at everyday problems from a different perspective. Look at them with fresh eyes, the way children do. As we get older and older, all that experience and learning makes our thinking rigid. Children are unencumbered by the weight of accumulated information that constricts adult thinking. We take the same route to work, cook the same meals from the same proven recipes, and complain that things are not going right, not realizing that the problem might actually be in the way we do things. Children see things with fresh eyes. Have you ever been surprised by a child, asking a perceptive question about a problem when you couldn’t think of anything new about it.
Go outside. Change the route to work. Use a different recipe for a familiar dish. Consider the problem backwards. “Put on foreign shoes”. Colour grass orange, paint the sky green, and turn the sun blue. Turn your ideas about everything upside down. Ask yourself how you would have thought as a six, eight or 12 year old child – about some of the world’s “unsolvable” problems. They see the world through rose-colored glasses. Maybe we should too.
**4. Unleash your curiosity. **Every new idea is based on previous knowledge. Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered the laws of gravity and motion in 1687 said, “If I have seen a little further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants, who came before me.” New ideas are not necessarily discoveries that nobody has thought of before. Usually they combine elements of already existing ideas. Curiosity is the collection of heterogeneous information – historical, geographical, philosophical, and scientific. It is curiosity that helps in the exploration of an object, a country, or even an idea. Albert Einstein said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Ideas occur to people who are interested in everything. Then, when they need it, creativity will combine with the knowledge in their minds, and grow into something original. Gathering more information always helps. Get a notebook that you can take everywhere with you. Record in it everything you find interesting and important. Learn to combine ideas. Read professional journals, documentaries, diverse literature. Watch interesting T.V. The internet is rich too; use it to visit forums and social networks.
5. Record everything. Don’t let it gather dust. Review it regularly. Summarise everything that might be useful. Do not be afraid to experiment. Even the crazy ideas might be useful to you later on. Just ask and be creative!
Expand Your Creativity: 5 Spiritual Principles of Intuitive Painting
I feel blessed in the creativity department. I love to paint, dance, sculpt and chant. I know that many people don’t feel this way, though. When I invite them to a workshop in creativity (usually centered around painting), the response is one of embarrassment because of the potential “self-exposure” of the final painting. We think we are being judged, we don’t like the result, it didn’t turn out the way we thought it was going to turn out, what we produce looks child-like, etc.
Our insecurities as human beings can be triggered by something as small as attempting to play with paint. This feeling probably holds true for 90 percent of the population. Even if we really think the result is pleasing, we can be shy… It is creativity in action that shows a small piece of who we really are. The subconscious mind becomes more conscious, based on what comes out, and what is happening in our minds can also be revealed when painting with intention.
Like anything in life, we can simply “do” it, or we can take the principle of meditation and apply it to what we are doing. That is, set an intention to the action, or consecrate the action in the name of the divine, to make it more purposeful.
It is this methodology that has lead to Intuitive Painting. It has been the combination of meditation, development of my own intuition, and setting purposeful intention that has completely changed my style of painting, from one that was of tangible renditions to more colorful, lively and more aesthetically pleasing pieces.
What starts coming out when a person begins to train in both meditation and different painting techniques will often begin to be seen as child-like. They may be held by societal conditioning and the perceived notion that we are now adults, and should act “mature.” A messy painting done with our fingers simply cannot be seen as a representation of maturity.
It is this mess though, that is needed not only to de-condition us from how we think we should act (which generally leads to less fun in life), but is also required as a process in which to forget about what you think you are going to paint and how it is going to look.
Drawing something before you actually paint it, like a paint-by-number, is not the point of Intuitive Painting, or meditative and intuitive creative development. The point is the let go of the outcome and a focus on going deeper into process, looking internally upon the self to reveal what may be repressed. Inner reflection and freedom of expression happens through meditation.
Meditation and its continued practice can be the largest altering factor in people’s lives. It is meditation and learning how to combine it artistically in almost everything I do that assisted in having the confidence to be bolder in the energy of my painting, and also to truly live out my dreams.
If you are now wondering about the why’s and how’s of meditative painting, try not to “think” about it too much. One of the things that will happen with meditation in your life is that you will finally learn how to stop thinking, and move into the realm of experiencing – the rational to the unknown, in-the-moment experience.
Try to consistently bring yourself back to this concept when you are painting; be in the moment, not worrying about the outcome. Something magical will eventually happen, in your meditation, in your painting, in your life, if you follow these simple principles:
Be total in every action, especially when you’re painting.
Be in the moment. Don’t think about what you couldn’t paint before, or what it’s going to look like.
Observe what’s happening in the mind, and what’s happening in your painting. Take breaks to do this and meditate by starring at the middle of your painting, then close the eyes as if you were still starring at the painting. Try to remember what you were looking at with eyes open.
Make no judgment, for judgment limits everything, and perpetuates more judgment. Enjoy every moment of change while you continue to paint.
Intuition-over-mind: make the attempt to reach a “no-mind” state while you are in the process of creating something. Take any preconceived ideas of what it might end up looking like and simply “go with the flow.”
A few more tips for Intuitive Painting: Only finish when you are happy. If you are not happy with how it looks, keep painting. Use acrylic paints; the paint covers what is underneath. If you are going to use black, which is a dark energy, wait to use it until the final touches, for emphasis rather than a full feel. We are doing this not only to develop creativity, but also to raise our energy through the process and heal what may be hidden in the body or the mind. Positivity generates more positivity, so see each painting session as a learning opportunity and a time for deep reflection and expression. High intentions will yield high results.