Creativity is a fantastic trait to develop that can help us to perform better in a huge range of situations – not least in business, where it can help us to come up with new products, new marketing angles, new business models and unique solutions to enduring problems.
But creativity is also an elusive abstraction that is difficult to define and even more difficult to acquire if you aren’t naturally gifted in that way. With that in mind, how does one go about helping themselves to be more creative and to think outside the box? Especially in a world that more and more often seems to encourage conformity and output?
With these powerful hacks, that’s how! Follow these tips and in minutes you’ll be having better ideas and using your brain in ways you didn’t know you could.
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” –Julia Cameron
Hack #1: Lie Down
Lying down or at least leaning back into a more supine position has been shown by many studies to boost creativity. Why’s that? Because it encourages us to feel relaxed and at ease. When you’re stressed or busy working, your body produces chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which gives you a kind of ‘tunnel vision’ and focus. That’s useful for completing a dull task, or for outrunning a lion, but it’s not useful when you need to ‘see the bigger picture’ and try to connect abstract concepts.
Hack #2: Look at a Plant
Thus anything that helps you to relax to a degree will help you to access more of your natural creativity. Another example is simply looking at plants and greenery, which help us relax thanks to our evolutionary imperative of finding fertile land and luscious green nutritious plants.
Hack #3: Use a Green Wallpaper on Your Desktop
In fact, simple looking at the color green has been shown to have the same effect, making us more relaxed and more creative. Change your desktop wallpaper to a picture of luscious green fields and you might find you work better!
Hack #4: Break it Down and Beat ‘Functional Fixedness’
Functional fixedness refers to our difficulty in separating objects from the tasks we associate them with. For example, when lost on a desert island you could potentially fashion a knife out of a set of razors, but only if you stop thinking of them as things you shave with.
To help yourself achieve these mental breakthroughs, you need to stop thinking of ‘items’ that you have access to and instead break those down into materials. So, for instance, you don’t have a razor – you have metal and plastic. You don’t have a box of matches; you have cardboard, wood and fire.
Hack #5: Have a Glass of Wine
Most of us think of alcohol as deadening our brains rather than boosting them, but when it comes to creativity this may not be fair. That’s because alcohol is a depressant and can once again help us to relax and see the bigger picture. A glass of wine is a popular choice of beverage for writers, and many famous creative types throughout history were known to use it as part of their productivity rituals.
“Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.” –William James