How to Nourish Your Creativity in Your Business

by Kirsten Nelson on May 8, 2013

Kirsten Nelson · Creativity in Business · May 08, 2013

Creativity in BusinessI fell in love this week. With a blog. Gregory Ciotti ‘s Sparring Mind.

Ciotti writes about psychology and marketing, which in my book is better than peanut butter and jam! I enjoyed his new post on the psychology of creativity so much, that I wanted to share it with you, along with a few of my own comments.

Creativity isn’t just for writers and artists. Creativity is also the lifeblood of entrepreneurs and business owners. Ciotti recommends nine ways where you can come up with more creative ideas and unleash creativity:

  1. Restrict yourself. Sometimes the most creative breakthroughs you will experience are when you force yourself to operate outside of your comfort zone. Ciotti mentions Dr. Seuss’ creative success: “Green Eggs & Ham.” Seuss wrote the children’s classic after his publisher Bennett Cerf challenged him to write an entire book in under 50 words.
  2. Re-conceptualize the problem. The easiest way to crack open your creativity is to find a new angle. In other words, shift the way you’re looking at a problem. The great British writer C.S. Lewis once said, “What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you’re standing.” If you’re struggling to create a new product, write your newsletter or solve another business problem, try looking at the situation from a different perspective. How would your customers view the problem? Your mentor? How would you view your current problem if you could fast forward into the future 10 years?
  3. Create psychological distance. It’s easy to get emotionally involved in situations. While emotions are an important part of life, they can sometimes inhibit our ability to move out of a creative slump. So if you’re frustrated, separate yourself from the situation and instead of judging it, simply observe it. In that observation mode, look for other solutions that you weren’t able to see when you were looking at it through an emotional lens.
  4. Daydream…then get back to work. Giving your mind permission to wander can often be the most productive thing you can do with spare moments of your day. This creative capacity to daydream is often trained out of us as we grow up. Ciotti notes that daydreaming is most effective on projects in which you’ve already invested a lot of creative effort.
  5. Embrace something absurd. Random, strange and weird things cause us to reexamine how we perceive the world. This is a result of our mind’s constant need to make sense of the things that it sees, Ciotti says. So when you watch a strange movie, read a bizarre book or engage in other activities atypical to your lifestyle, you’re giving your brain a challenge that will help you expand your creativity.
  6. Separate work from consumption. When painting the interior of a house, you need to let the paint dry before you hang the pictures. When working on writing a blog post, creating a new product, or coming up with a new business idea, the human brain works best when you allow it to absorb new information you’re gathering before turning that new information into whatever you’re working on. Remember: Let the paint dry first.
  7. Create during a powerful mood. This doesn’t mean you must be happy before doing anything creative. On the contrary, when you’re experiencing any strong emotion is a great time to harness creativity. Take advantage of those moments.
  8. Get moving. Humans weren’t designed to be stationary. Yet our technological world requires us to sit still most of the time. Get out of your chair. Go for a quick walk, stretch, do some yoga—whatever suits you best as long as it gets your blood flowing.
  9. Ask, “What might have been?” Examine past experiences from the perspective of what you could take from the situation if you could do it again, and what you could add to the situation. For example, if you just ran a marketing campaign that didn’t quite get the results you wanted, look at it from a different perspective. What might have been if you could take back a few things or if you could add a few new things to the situation? This might be considered second-guessing or Monday-morning quarterbacking, but it is better to consider it as a clear-eyed reappraisal of your approach.

After reading Greg Ciotti’s blog post, I’m excited to apply these nine different strategies in my own creative processes. I’d love to hear what you think. Do you have any strategies to replenish your creativity when it’s low? Thanks for sharing!

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