Challenge your preconceived notions

Be willing to accept the inherent risk in not following what seemed to be the obvious route. Such risk tolerance is another important part of challenging what you think you know and cultivating creativity.

If you’re always afraid to try new things because they might not work, you’re going to have a tough time cultivating your more creative side.

@keving

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Self Improvement

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Create vision boards–collages of words and images–related to business challenges or goals. Do mind-mapping or doodling exercises. 

You will begin making remote associations. It can be hard and it’s a stretch, but it opens up new ways of thinking.

When you’re facing down something unexpected, you’re taken out of your everyday experience and all of the preconceived notions that go with it.

Do something new every day to capture the same openness. Take a new route home and carefully observe what’s there. Look for beauty, interesting architecture, or exceptional gardens. Remember how it feels to be truly observant and unsure of what to expect.

When you’re focused on external stimuli, you’re giving your mind some “breathing room” to come up with creative solutions.

By focusing on something you find beautiful, you’ve taken the pressure off of figuring out the immediate problem at hand. And it can be tough to be creative under pressure. 

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Take a break. Give your brain some space to think of other things.
  • Expand your definition of creativity. You’re probably conditioned to look for it in specific places. Break that mold.
  • Limit yourself. Fewer tools and less time, counterintuitively, force you to be more creative.

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IDEAS

Many companies rely on a technical expert or team of experts to generate a stream of creative ideas. Harder problems call for even more knowledgeable experts.

Instead, research suggests that particularly tough problems often require the perspective of an outsider or someone not limited by the knowledge of why something can’t be done.

Exercising Divergent Thinking
  1. The Many Uses Exercise: Pick an ordinary object, set a timer for 5 minutes and try to come up with as many alternative uses for a paperclip as you can.
  2. 10 New Ideas: Every day for a week, try to come up with 10 new ideas within a specific topic or category.
  3. Daily Headlines: Imagine that your day was a news story in the New York Times. What would the headline be? 
  4. Articles on Trial: Challenge the conclusion of articles you read by coming up with one question you’d like to ask the author.
  5. Start to notice your automatic thoughts and generate alternatives to them.

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