The project before you requires some creative thinking. We’re not talking about finding your inner Picasso. This isn’t about a masterpiece. It’s finding a better way to communicate a tough idea or identifying a solution that requires you to stretch outside the bounds of the tried-and-true. Even the most right-brained among us can struggle to get our creative juices flowing when the pressure is on. If you’re struggling to unleash your creative side, try these four tips.
Exercise Your Muscles
Sure, taking a walk, pulling out the yoga mat, and lifting weights could help. The distraction of channeling your energy elsewhere may be enough to help you let down your guard and embrace a new way of thinking. That’s not what I’m talking about, though. Think of your creativity as a muscle. The more you put it through its paces with a good work-out, the stronger it will be. Carve out some time on a regular basis to stretch your artistic side. Take photos. Sew. Play music. Paint. Write. Whatever makes you deliciously happy. When you need your creative juices to flow, a primed pump works better.
In his memoir Keep Writing, Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” The same advice can be applied to all sorts of creative endeavors. If you want to hone your skills, take the time to study others. What works for them? What doesn’t? What about their art appeals to you? When did they zig right instead of zag left? The more you can appreciate the creative solutions and works of others, the more open you’ll be to unleash your own.
Kick Perfection to the Curb
If there’s one thing that hinders progress it’s perfection. That’s not news, or rather it shouldn’t be. Voltaire who lived in the 1700s, once said “Perfect is the enemy of good.” He was right then and his quote has stood the test of time. Trying to get your arms around the perfect solution, the perfect written piece, the perfect design, the perfect idea can stop your right in your tracks. Forget getting it right. Just focus on getting started. The rest will come. Sure, your first attempt might fall short. That’s okay. You can refine and build off that foundation.
“But this is how we’ve always done it…”
Tradition is a good thing. Having a system in place to manage the day-to-day is beneficial. Getting stuck in the “this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it” rut, however, can stall progress almost as fast as perfection. Sometimes, you have to be willing to give up what’s “good enough” to stretch for something great! I’m not suggesting you make recreating the wheel a habit. You should, however, be open to adjustments and innovations. Hold onto what works, until you need to release it for something that works better.