Nowadays in job descriptions you see more and more companies listing “creative thinking” as part of the skill set that they are looking for in their employees. A lot of the time learning to think creatively is something that people are encouraged to do early on in life, and then society assumes you’ve “got it”, regardless of whether you do or not.
Being able to think outside the box is a process. Even if you are late to the game of wanting to come up with unusual ways to solve problems, you can still do so. Creative thinking is something that you have to slowly work towards. It’s about breaking traditional ways of thinking and monotonous patterns. Here are a few simple ways to spark ways of creative thinking in your life.
Reading is vital to growth and creativity. It is also important to read things that are outside of your comfort zone of reading. Pick up a fantasy novel, a murder mystery, or anything that seems like it would challenge you and make you learn something new. Reading is a good alternative to travel, especially in these unprecedented times, not knowing when our real-life adventures can resume.
Reading challenges you to look at the world from different perspectives. An interesting exercise could be to pick a continent and read literature that comes from the different countries in that continent. It’s a great way to learn about different cultures as well, and you can do this from the comfort of your home. I’ll leave you on these words by Ben Okri, “We read the world poorly, because we read poorly.” Now could be the time to buy some new books and spark some creativity!
Asking questions is an important element of learning. If you don’t understand something, there’s no shame asking about it. It’s better to ask and learn than to nurture your ego by pretending you know. If something intrigues you, ask questions about it! Inculcating curiosity in yourself is a great way to expand your mind. Asking questions helps you learn about people and their experiences, and you won’t always be able to live them yourself or find them in any kind of literature. Often problems that you are faced with will involve people, and the more people you listen to, the more creatively you will be able to tackle these issues. A bonus is that it makes you a better listener and more approachable!
BREAK RULES & TAKE RISKS
Often, in the process of thinking creatively, you need to break the rules and take some risks about how things should be done. You need to question the average standards, practices and norms in the way things work and see how you can improve it. However, before you try and improve on what already exists, it’s best if you know the norms and practices like the back of your hand. Deliberate why these norms exist, question them, and then set out to challenge it. This is the part that involves actively thinking outside the box, and this is where having gained new perspectives and experiences plays a part in thinking creatively. It is also important to remember that things won’t always work out on the first go, but challenging yourself is the only way to open doors that lead to new possibilities.
So, there you have it, here are some steps to help spark creativity in how you think. It’s important to know that this isn’t a quick fix process. It is going to require deliberation, patience, and time. And these are not the only ways to enhance or develop creativity. Remember to keep your eyes and mind open and seize new opportunities when they come to you. I’ll leave you on this; “The important thing for you is to be alert, to question, to find out, so that your own initiative may be awakened.” – Bruce Lee