A good friend of mine, Eli Amdur, recently spoke at a TEDx conference hosted by Fairleigh Dickinson University (where he and I both teach!) about creativity. His presentation got me thinking, that creativity is such an important asset, yet it can also be quite hard to get. With that in mind, I offer you six tips to boost your creative powers into overdrive:
1. “Creativity is the ONLY sustainable resource,” –Eli Amdur.
This was the key thrust of Eli’s presentation and he’s right. The first step to boosting your creativity is to recognize that unlike other resources like time and money, your creativity has the potential to be unlimited. You just have to treat it like a plant and nurture it—water it, give it sunlight, etc.
2. “Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people,” –advertising great, Leo Burnett.
Creativity fuels innovation and ingenuity, two things that all marketers need in order to be productive. As children, we’re all very curious and creative, but somewhere along the way as we grow up, we tend to lose our curiosity and creativity. For some us, it’s beaten out of us in school, for others the busyness of life drains it away.
The trick is recognizing that maybe your curiosity is gone—run away like the dish and the spoon. No matter, your curiosity will come back if you give it the space in your life. For me, I help keep my curiosity alive and well by teaching marketing to college kids.
3. “Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart,”-Mencius (Meng-Tzu), ancient Chinese philosopher.
Children are very creative. It’s easy to be creative when you’re a child because the world is new and filled with magic. When you’re an adult, it often feels like things are old and broken; the world is mundane. However, you can rekindle the magic you saw as a child—the fascination, the awe, the interest, and the wonder, you felt as a child are still inside you. You just need to give yourself the freedom to enjoy these things again.
4. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club,” –Jack London, author of Call of the Wild.
Inspiration is an elusive creature. It won’t simply come to you—you must go out, find it, and hunt it down. (Side note: if people are what inspire you, I don’t recommend hitting them with a club!). How do you hunt inspiration? By reading, listening, and thinking. These are the three most important career skills you can have and if you have mastered them (and practice them!), you will never lack for inspiration.
5. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think if only you try,” –Dr. Seuss.
What would a piece on creativity be without the input of the venerable Dr. Suess? Incomplete, that’s what! Creativity is about approaching things from different angles. It’s easy to take things for granted, but if you really want to be creative, then you need the time and space to challenge the status quo. Dr. Seuss did it with his children’s books and you can do it too with your work.
Take some time to think.
Think left and think right. Think low and think high.
6. “Creativity is contagious, pass it on,” –Albert Einstein.
Almost as contagious as a yawn, creativity is highly infectious. Surround yourself with creative people—regardless of the fields they work in—and you will be able to share your creativity with them and they, with you. If you seek out interesting people like this, you will never lack for ideas, creativity and inspiration at work!