Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10 easy ways to be more creative

"I am bored."

Interesting statement, isn't it? Who hasn't ever told anyone he or she was bored... Raise hands! I have been thinking about it lately. Being bored is a strange feeling. Actually the sentence itself is a bit strange as well. "I am bored" implies that something (or the lack thereof) is boring you. When you really think about this thoroughly, when you're really being honest with yourself, you have to face it; when using this statement, you're admitting you can't find something you like, are good at or interested in getting to know more about. You want others to present this to you and those people are not around you at this very moment!

Admit it!

You are bored because you need others to entertain you.

Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with this. A huge percentage of the human population thinks alike. That's one of the reason you here the statement all the time. I used to be one of them. I used to be dependent of others to get entertained.

Not anymore!

I can't even remember the last time I felt bored. It has been a few years at least, I think.

One thing I consider very important in 'boredom' is creativity. I believe that creative people never suffer from boredom, ever.

"Well, I'm not a creative person, there's the explanation, right there!", I hear a lot. Don't give me those lame excuses. You're not creative because you don't want to, and you're bored because you lack creativity. Work on it!

Luckily, it is never too late to get creative! Every person is born creative, and because some 'creativity neurons' in the brain are never used during lifetime, they are degenerated. No worries, though! By training yourself and your brain, you can turn into a creative beast and leave the boring days behind you.

So that being said, I have arrived at the core of this blog post. Here's 10 things you could try to get those creativity neurons back!

A) Watch the TED talks by Sir Kin Robinson. For me, Robinson is a truly inspirational figure. He has an interesting view on creativity, education and passion and presents this topic in a very entertaining way. If you really enjoyed the talks, I recommend his books 'The Element' and 'Out of our minds'. In these two books, Robinson presents creativity and its importance in life in great detail. It's not a quick read, I personally really enjoyed reading a small number of pages every day, in stead of reading long stretches, like you would in an exciting novel. After reading these books, you will think differently about many aspects in your life, your job, your education. You might realise that you focus too much on stuff that doesn't inspire you at all. Many people tend to do so, because they 'are supposed to'. It's universal among the human population and nothing to be ashamed of, but it might be interesting to reconsider options.

B) Read blogs, this might sound stupid. I thought it was stupid at first. How do you find the right blog to read, with millions spread all over the world wide web? I tried the blogger feature in the header of this site many times, without a nice result. Instead, try to google things you like. For example, I like entrepeneurship and gardening. Therefore I would search the web for 'entrepeneurship blog'. This might sound easy, but not every blog is the right one! One thing I would recommend is adding bloggers you like to Twitter. I don't intend to lure you to my Twitter (but if you want you can follow me here ;-) ). The real reason is that many bloggers read other blogs too. Chances are high that if you liked one blogger's content, you might share his preference for certain reading material. Many bloggers share interesting reads in their tweets. I follow a few interesting bloggers on Twitter and this has resulted in many interesting new leads as well.

C) Related to the previous one, but a different activity; commenting on blogs. This might sound weird, but it isn't. Placing comments, participating in discussions and sharing your opinions often leads to interesting conversations. These conversations often lead to new ideas for both readers and the blogger. Don't be affraid to share your opinion. You're a unique character and your opinion is valuable! Most bloggers really appreciate the comments as well. You are the audience!! Your opinions greatly contribute to the way a blog and its content will develop.

D) Write a blog, this might sound rather difficult to you, if you don't have any writing experience. Just do it! It won't hurt. Don't know what to write about? Come on... it isn't that hard. Let me help you. Do you like movies? Write movie reviews about every movie you watched. Do you like gardening? Share your technique on how to get rid of those nasty weeds or grow killer tomatoes. You like good food? Share your new blog in the comments below, I love good food too ;-). I would love to try your recipes. Just 500 words will do. You don't have to write a book about it - but you might consider it, you'd be surprised how much content you can create in a year of blogging!! Self-publishing isn't that hard, these days. Practicing your writing skills will build your creativity immensely. And it's fun too. Don't be scared about what other people will think about your posts. Try to get your posts read by as many people as possible. Building an audience requires a great deal of creativity.

E) Read books, I don't want you to read all books that Stephen King has ever published. Try to vary your reads! I read a lot, and often more than 5 books at the same time. I often read a chapter or number of pages every day or every other day. I try not to read only the mainstream stuff, but also self-published material which you can find in the Kindle store on Amazon.com. I try to read both fictional and non-fictional, on topics that draw my attention. Some of them I don't know anything about. Lately, I've been reading books about start-ups, freedom business, travelling, the human brain, psychosomatic disorders and some fiction novels. Most of the topics I knew nothing about, and adding knowledge to my database will lead to new ideas and more creativity.

I finished 'The art of non-conformity' a few days ago...

F) Try something new every now and then, this gives you a wide array of possibilities. I personally like travelling a lot. I try to visit new places often. If you like, you can visit some museum you have never been to. Or try to re-paint your house. I used to have no DIY skills whatsoever, but I never refused an opportunity to try something I had never done before. I taught myself how to paint, re-decorate walls, paint ceilings, replace floorwork and many other skills that have proven out to be really useful. Some people have even paid me to do small DIY jobs for them. Just try new things with an open mind, new things will increase your creativity level more than anything!

G) Draw, paint or other art forms, I used to draw all the time when I was a child. Some of my drawings were pretty good. As soon as I went to high school, the teacher told me how to draw, to study objects in other ways than I was used to. I didn't like it one bit. I started to hate it, just because of the way Art was presented in high school. I recently picked up a pencil after years of refusal and started drawing a little bit. I really enjoyed it, I believe if you appreciate art, you never have to be bored in your life. There is so much to create in so many ways, endless possibilities are all yours. Don't tell me you can't draw or paint! Remember: You are not a failure because you fucked up, you're a success because you tried! Persistence is key. You will see progress in every piece of work you deliver - just like in writing...

H) Cook healthy and delicious food! This might sound easy, but it is pretty hard! I don't mean to be disrespectful, but everyone can cook up a basic pasta or boil some potatoes and veggies. Try something more special! Coming up with new recipes can be a source of new ideas and cooking is something that can be done in very creative ways. It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman... Cooking creatively is always a good thing! Men will love the creative food that was prepared by their partners... and women will even find it very romantic if the whole thing resulted in one big disaster. You did the best you could (and apparently that's enough for most women ;-) ). Cooking is a skill that requires creativity, just like any other skill. You will notice progress soon enough. When I brought my cooking skills to a next level, I enjoyed it so much more. I might even like it more than eating it afterwards. It's part of the pleasure!

I) Photography, I don't think you have to be an artist to try photography. You can even take nice pictures with most smartphone cameras. I do have an SLR camera myself, but I am not a fancy photographer at all. I just want you to realize that looking at things through a lens will significantly alter the way you look at the world around you. I am so glad I have a smartphone with a decent camera. I take pictures of things around me all the time. Often pictures remind me of a good idea I had somewhere, so it serves several functions. In photography, there are many ways to capture the object of choice in the frame. There are a gazillion ways of doing so. You can unleash all your creativity in there.

Photography is the art of capturing the world's beauty - often in unique ways
J) Change your environment, this sounds strange, huh? You don't have to leave your country, or even your house to do it, though. Boring environments will kill your brain! Studies have shown a decrease in neurogenesis (generation of new neurones in the brain) in animals that were kept in dull environments. By just decreasing the dullness of your environment, you challenge your neurons and build your creativity. You can start by just creating a more challenging work atmosphere. You could create a picture wall near your work space, maybe? Pictures are a great way to bring back good old times. I, personally, like to add plants as well. Plants break the dull environment, are ever-changing organisms, are colorful, often easy to care for and hold numerous possibilities, which I wrote about here!

I believe, that by trying just a few of the above for a few weeks, you will gain creative skills. You will get a creative BEAST! You will never be bored again. You will have to schedule your activities, because your life is so creative and interesting, you don't have enough time to enjoy all of it. Time management might be the topic of another blog post. Thoughts on that?

Also, please let me know what you do that increases creativity? Share your stories in the comments below. I would really appreciate it!

Did you like this post? Feel free to share with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you! :-)


  1. Great post!
    Full of interesting information and tips.
    Well written and I love the kid at the beginning ;)
    Take care Alan.

    1. Thanks for the kind reply! I love the first picture as well... It's brilliant to see how many google images you can find of awesome babies. Of course 'the success kid' meme is the most obvious example. I think this little kiddo is equally hilarious. I started following your blog a few days ago, your not doing too bad yourself ;-). I really liked the Sqrall idea. It seems to be pretty popular! Amazing to see such a huge amount of followers. Just wow!
      Best regards, Robin