Innovation and creativity are have benefits far beyond the artistic realm. They are repeatedly named as key skills essential for companies and their teams and leaders.
Creativity in the group is still based on individuals being able to develop their creative skills. We need these skills today both in our lives and for the challenges facing the world.
Fresh new thinking
New thinking and ideas are very important if we want to solve problems in a new way. It isn’t always that easy to break out of traditional thought patterns. We grow up in them and we simply aren’t taught to question them or anything else.
If you want to develop your new thinking skills then you need to put yourself in an environment where you are able to break out. Or in other words you have to train yourself to be able to think differently.
How can we think differently?
Here are a few suggestions to get you started thinking without box around your brain.
Embrace your unique self expression
Your self expression or voice is different than everyone else’s. Be happy for that. Work on embracing it fully. Don’t just let yourself get carried away with what everyone else thinks.
Learn to let go of the self-criticism and fear that surround
expressing yourself. It’s easy to say, harder to do. Basically you
have to train yourself to face fears and accept your creative
expression without judgment. Mindfulness can help with this.
There is no shortcut to using your own voice and loving it. It is a daily practice.
Go find some people that think differently and hang around with them
We are influenced by those we hang around with. If you want a new standard for yourself, then go spend time around people already living it. Their example will teach, inspire and motivate you.
Thinking differently is no exception. Find some people that do this and spend time with them and learn something about what it takes to find your own voice and to not accept conventional patterns.
If you are able, living in a foreign country is a sure way to spend some time with people that do things differently. When you live it, not just visit, you gain an appreciation for new thinking and new ways of doing things that affect your own willingness to develop new thinking.
Finding new perspectives is an important part of growing your creativity. These are everywhere. It can come in the form of talking to other people and understanding their perspective. Or it can be learning about new fields and interests that have an entirely different approach to problem solving. It takes time to learn a new field, but it is a great benefit.
Go visit some modern art
Modern artists look for ways to do something outside the norm, to break conventions and trigger us to understand the world in a new way. You may not especially like some of it, but they know how to get out of boxes. And there is one benefit I realized last time I visited a modern art museum, it gave me permission to do my own crazy thinking and expression – not that I do anything on their level, but it inspired me to give myself permission to be as wacky as I wanted to be.
Spend time alone thinking
Now that you have connected with some new thinkers, it’s time to spend some time alone reflecting and working on your own thinking process. That means without your phone for company either. Turn it all off and let your mind wander and day dream and reflect. Spend some time visualizing and imagining. Take a walk or do some journaling. Let the thoughts flow freely.
If you ask better questions, you get better answers. Questions shift our focus and we are able to get new thoughts. Now is a great time to start a question book and start writing some of them down. Let one question lead to another. Do this on a regular basis to train yourself.
Now you have your questions, start brain storming some answers to them. Write everything down no matter how good. Be spontaneous, have some fun with it and don’t be afraid to be wacky. These ideas are ideas are the genesis of new thinking patterns.
Practice thinking differently
Nothing like practice. You can start small, maybe some habit you do at home. Something you usually do one way that you can experiment with doing completely differently. Cooking is a great place. Shake up your cooking and grab some different ingredients for your pasta sauce, for example. Experiment with some unusual ingredients in your bread.
Beliefs and confidence
You might find yourself getting stuck or feeling limited in some way. It’s hard to change, it’s a big adjustment to truly take a new point of view and express it.
If you feel this way chances are you have a limiting belief about your ability to be innovative and be creative. Find what they are. Become aware by asking yourself how you feel and what you usually say about creativity. Those limiting beliefs are not hard to pick out.
Confidence will come as you practice and develop your skills. But you can start by being confident of your ability to grow and learn. Take on a growth mindset regarding your creativity. You might fail now, but you can learn and become better as you train and develop your skills.
If you want to change your thinking, change yourself. I don’t mean you need some drastic makeover, but becoming a great creative thinker is a big change, and you will need some internal and external changes – not in how you look, but how you behave! Though maybe a wild new set of clothes will really put you in a creative frame of mind.
Change what you put into your mind. Do you spend much of your free time in the zone of distraction or are you reading, learning, trying new things, practicing your self expression with creative hobbies? These are all an important part of changing your inner life and opening up your creative potential.
Move your body in some new ways. We sometimes ignore the value of our physical expression and how it can change our mindset in powerful ways. Do you exercise regularly? Do you ever put on music and just dance about for fun? Do you have creative hobbies that require you to move in new ways?
Access new emotional states. How we feel has a huge effect on our decisions and how well we access our inner and outer resources. In other words, emotions affect our thought patterns. In fact it isn’t rational thought that drives us, but our emotions.
Are you using a wide emotional range?
Experiment with some new emotional states and widen your thinking.. for example, spirited, exuberant, jovial, receptive, unhurried, resolute, invincible, masterful. All of these have a different association in our minds and will cause us to find different answers. Why not use that to our advantage and become aware of what our approach to the world and challenges are in such an emotional state.
One more thing..
New, disruptive thinkers are not always so well appreciated. Many give lip service to wanting it, but they reject it when it is presented to them. Challenging convention can be a dangerous experiment – I call it the Galilo effect. It happens all the time on small scales. In the book Imagine by Jame Lehrer, he points out that although teachers claim to want creative students in their class, they actually prefer orderly and obedient students.
Don’t let any backlash stop you. There are plenty of examples of people that overcame all this and had huge successes.
Remember to stay true to yourself and develop your own vision.