Creativity and inspiration isn’t confined to artists: entrepreneurs equally need it, especially if they want to stand out from their competitors by offering a product, a service, a packaging, an innovative marketing plan.
This is especially true for infopreneurs, the entrepreneurs in the field of information, as are bloggers, who want to make a living on the Internet, who must constantly find topics for articles, videos, podcasts, and ideas for new products.
But what do you do when the inspiration isn’t there, when your screen or your sheet of paper is hopelessly blank? How do you go about breaking “uninspiration” and develop your creativity?
Here is a list of 7 ways to develop your creativity, taken from my reading and my experience. Follow the guide.
1. Conduct an experiment that breaks your habits
Our habits are like deep trenches in our lives. Through them we act automatically, without thinking. Although they save us a lot of time, they also blind us to what could be different, what could be otherwise.
Breaking them for a few days can lead us to see our life and the world in another way, to foster other ways of thinking.
Try, for a few days, to break the habits that are so deeply ingrained in you that you’re not even aware of doing them.
For example, try:
- Mirrors: Stop looking in the mirror for one week. It forces you to see yourself in another way.
- Time: only a few centuries ago nobody had the time. How did our ancestors manage? Leave your watch in a drawer and force yourself to not look at the time around you. How does it affect your perception of time?
- Newspapers: Stop reading newspapers and magazines for one week (online or offline). It’s like taking a week’s vacation on a lost island. What did you lose? And what did you gain?
- Talking: For one week, only say things of substance. Not one superfluous word.
- Places: For one week, go out every night to a different place you’ve never been to. It might be a very entertaining week! And inspiration may take hold of you through the discovery of new environments
- People: For one week, talk to a stranger every day. One sentence is enough, or more if you’d like.
- Kindness: For one week, perform an act of kindness each day for a stranger. This can be helping a seemingly lost person find their way, offering food to a beggar, helping a customer with a problem that’s not normally covered by the company, or simply smiling at someone who’s frowning until they smile back at you 🙂.
- Walk: For one week, take a walk every day for 20 minutes and let inspiration come to you. Beethoven began all his days doing this and it was while doing so that he thought of the first notes of his symphonies.
2. Create a mastermind in your head
Imagine that you have access to a High Council, a kind of round table like in ”In Search of the Holy Grail” or in ”The Lord of the Rings”, surrounded by the people you respect or appreciate the most in the world for their qualities, ready to advise you.
Imagine, for example, that you have access to Albert Einstein, the pre-eminently brilliant scientist, to Steve Jobs, the entrepreneur who changed the world by moving mountains, to Bob Dylan, the tortured and rebellious artist with boundless creativity and inspiration, to Steven Spielberg, the director who has explored all genres and who has perfect command of the whole machinery of showbiz, to Abbé Pierre or Gandhi, who have spent their lives in the service of others, and to all those whom you admire, living and dead, and whom you want to include.
Ask them a question about a problem you have, about a solution you are looking for. What will their answers be?
By imagining in this way, various brilliant people within your mind, you allow your brain to break away from its traditional thinking habits and to explore new paths, new horizons. You allow it to be more creative, and to bring you ideas that you feel come from these people, when they actually come from you.
3. The technique of photography
Find a photo of yourself as a baby or very young child. What do you see that is undeniably indicative of or similar to what you are today, to your life? And what is vaguely similar? What doesn’t suggest anything to you or doesn’t mirror what you are? In contrast to what you see, what came to an end? Why these four different paths? Explain it to yourself.
You can also do the exercise with any photo of yourself, with family or not. The goal is to connect with something old so that it becomes new. Look and imagine.
4. Make yourself a reservoir of ideas
Ideas often occur in the most unexpected places, when we least expect them. They often take us by surprise, and sometimes they seem so strong, so powerful that we think we can hold onto them forever.
Then, one night goes by and upon waking up, all we remember is that we had an idea… but what was it again? And we’re only left with the regret of having let go of a great idea …
To avoid this and to always have a reservoir of ideas at your disposal when you lack inspiration, write down your ideas as soon as they come, before they slip away. Use a Moleskine notebook or Evernote software or whatever you want that will allow you to record and centralize your ideas. A true oasis for drought periods.
In addition: apply Earl Nightingale’s method and spend some time to write down ten ideas per day in your notebook. After ten days, you will have 100 ideas to dip into when you thirst for them. After one year, 3,650.
5. Have a spine
The spine is the foundation of your creation, invisible but indispensable. It will be your little secret, on which all the rest of your creation relies.
Your spine can take many forms. For example, the original trilogy of Star Wars borrows heavily from the mythological works of anthropologist, Joseph Campbell, and from the hero archetype and from his coming-of-age journey. The Diabelli Variations that Beethoven composed are all based on a small composition by Diabelli. The novel of American writer, Bernard Malamud, The Natural, about the mysterious reappearance of a famous baseball player who had disappeared 20 years earlier, is based on the mythology of the Quest for the Holy Grail.
Once you have accepted the power of the spine in the creative act, you will become much more effective in your creativity.
6. Choose an adversary
Creativity is an act of defiance. You’re questioning the established order; you’re questioning the truths that are accepted by all; and you’re creating something new that did not exist before and that defies certain things that already exist.
For every act of creation is also an act of abandonment.
Choose an adversary that will inspire you, that will prod and push you to go beyond yourself: the system, hierarchy, rules, dominant thinking, morals, or even your own habits as we have seen. Don’t aim to destroy your adversary by pointing out its flaws, but rather try to create something new that brings so much value that the adversary’s flaws will be exposed without even mentioning them.
It’s a fight that can be long, and that is not for everyone. It’s a fight throughout which you may experience many failures, but it’s also a thrilling, inspiring fight that can push you to surpass yourself. However, you can also decide to have just a skirmish when you lack inspiration, by choosing an adversary that will rekindle the flame.
7. Keep your eyes peeled
Too often we miss out on amazing inspiration or on new ideas because we are too busy thinking about something else.
Keep your eyes and mind open. That is key. Inspiration is everywhere. It surrounds us and sometimes is only waiting for an opening to rush into us and enlighten us.
Observe, and see everything around you as a source of inspiration.
Be creative right now: I am curious, tell me in the comments; who are the people you will be integrating into your personal mastermind? And do you have other techniques that you use to develop your creativity?