Creativity is a skill and a way of thinking and doing that you can grow over time as a Young Professional. Creativity is another way to boost your positive attitude, too. See ways to lean into getting more creative in work and life!
Some people think that creativity is an innate ability – that you’re either born with it or you’re not. Thinking that way doesn’t help you!
Yes, some people might lean naturally towards creative thinking, but ultimately creativity is a skill. It can be learned, it can be nurtured, and there are active steps you can take to improve it.
The benefits to creative expression are wide-ranging and well documented. Did you know that creative practices improve mental health, promote happiness, and boost your cognitive abilities? Some studies have even shown that it can have positive benefits on the immune system!
Creative people are also a great asset in the workforce. They tend to think outside the box, come up with new and innovative ways to solve problems, and be more open to trying new things.
Do you want to be more creative in your work and your everyday life? Keep reading to learn some ways you can do exactly that.
Stop worrying about being “good at” creative pursuits – just create
Perhaps the number one thing that holds people back when it comes to improving for fully expressing their creativity is the fear that they won’t be “good at” whatever it is they’re doing – whether that’s trying a new creative hobby or brainstorming ideas for a work project.
There’s great joy to be found in allowing yourself to be creative without holding yourself against an arbitrary standard. It frees your mind from self doubt and allows you to get into a flow state.
You can practice this skill by yourself by trying some low-stakes creative tasks and not worrying about whether or not you do them “well.”
Have you always wanted to learn to paint, play the guitar, or write a story? Just get started! Your first attempt, or even your fiftieth, doesn’t have to be “good.” You might be surprised how much and how quickly your skills improve.
There’s a wonderful German proverb which roughly translates in English to “a Master has never dropped from Heaven.” In other words, no-one is effortlessly good at something. Practice makes perfect, so try to find joy in the process.
Get some exercise
Most of us sit far too much in the course of our working day. It’s bad for our physical health, our mental wellbeing, and our creativity.
One Stanford University study found that walking has a positive benefit on creative thinking, while a study from HBR showed that people who took part in walking meetings were more engaged and showed greater creative thinking skills.
You might not be able to get your colleagues to agree to walking around the local park for your latest team meeting, of course. But even going for a 15 minute walk on your lunch break can have a significant impact on your creativity and your mood.
Look for easy ways to incorporate some physical activity into your day. Can you walk up to see that colleague on the third floor rather than phoning them? Can you get off the bus one stop early in the morning? Even doing some stretching exercises at your desk every couple of hours can help.
Try something new
How do you normally express yourself creatively? Try doing something completely different! If you usually play a musical instrument, try knitting. If you’re a baker, have a go at painting. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just the act of trying something new and learning to be creative in a different way will improve your overall creativity.
You can try a new skill in different ways. One option is to just get some basic materials and get started, learning as you go. You can also take an online class, learn from YouTube videos or step-by-step tutorials, or ask a friend or colleague to teach you a skill.
If you’re trying to grow your creativity at work, try getting out of your comfort zone and learning more about what other people do. Can you shadow a colleague in a different department for a few hours, sit in on a meeting for a project you wouldn’t normally work on, or set up an informal skills exchange will colleagues?
Indulge in some “blue sky thinking”
Blue sky thinking is a type of unrestricted brainstorming. The idea is to get down every possible idea you can think of, no matter how expensive, impractical, or otherwise unviable.
The beauty of this type of thinking is that it frees you from discounting your ideas as quickly as you have them. It also helps to stop people from being afraid to voice ideas for fear of looking clueless or out of touch with reality.
So next time you’re having a brainstorming session, write down every possibility you can think of, and encourage others to do the same. Later on, you can whittle the suggestions down to those which are actually workable.
You might be surprised at the amazing solutions that can grow out of ideas that might at first glance have seemed completely impractical.
Consume a wide variety of creative works
One of the most powerful ways to improve your own creativity is to enjoy creative works created by other people. Variety is key here – highly creative people tend to have broad and eclectic tastes, and to be open to experiencing new things.
So read books by different authors and in a variety of genres. Watch a wide range of films and TV shows. Listen to music outside of the styles you’d normally choose. You can make this a more fun and collaborative process by swapping recommendations with friends and colleagues. Who knows – you might just discover your new favourite!
What have you done to nurture your creativity recently? It’s never too late to start!