12 ways to change your mindset and get creative
Are you stuck on a problem you just can’t seem to solve? Do you have a case of writer’s block or painter’s block? Or maybe you want to get ahead in business or your career by innovating the best solutions, products or advertising campaigns out there. It’s time to start thinking like Tony Robbins, who says, “Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.”
It can be hard to look at these issues as a gift. You need to change your perspective and your mental state, and start thinking about how to improve creativity.
Creativity is often only attributed to artists – the dreamy swirls of Van Gogh or the surreal landscapes of Dali are clearly creative. But creativity is also a form of resourcefulness, one of the top leadership qualities. The most successful people look at their problems creatively. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are all creatives. All of these achievers learned how to increase creativity and apply those skills to art, business and their personal lives – and you can, too.
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How to improve creativity
Creativity doesn’t always just happen. If you find yourself stuck on a problem or unable to innovate, there are both short-term and long-term solutions you can turn to. Here’s how to boost creativity and get the ideas flowing.
1. Build a growth mindset
One of the most important traits of creative people is open-mindedness. This means that you are curious about others and believe that you can learn from them. You have a growth mindset – you’re willing to do the work to master new skills and take your life and your creativity to a higher level.
2. Overcome your fears
When was the last time you did something outside your comfort zone? Pushing yourself to new heights by overcoming your fears gives you the sense that you can do anything you put your mind to – a sense that will only help you improve creativity.
3. Seek out new experiences
Steve Jobs said “Creativity is just connecting things,” and in order to do that, you must have experiences to connect – you have to feed your creative engine with new experiences. Go to a concert you wouldn’t normally attend or eat a type of food you’ve never had. Research shows that diversifying experiences facilitate creativity.
4. Find your purpose
Purpose is an essential part of vision – and you must have vision in order to live your passion and stay inspired to keep creating. When you have vision, your passion shows through and your creativity flows naturally.
5. Be aware of the “cycle of success”
This one comes straight from one of the greatest artists of all time, Picasso, who said, “Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.” Avoid the trap of redundancy and break out of monotony by always asking yourself, “Can I do better?”
6. Ask the right questions
As Tony says, “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” Imagining your problem from a different perspective will jump-start your discovery of how to improve creativity. Ask questions as if you are an observer or the customer of your business. In a group, you can apply this to brainstorming by using a Question Burst to get the creativity flowing.
7. Activate your creativity switch
Asking yourself the right questions can also activate your “creativity switch.” This concept comes from marketing expert and longtime friend of Tony’s, Jay Abraham. Each time you sit down to solve a problem, reconnect with what you’re doing by verbalizing the question you’re answering. Jay compares it to rebooting a computer – but you’re rebooting your creativity.
8. Take some time off
Working all the time will make you feel productive, but it won’t help improve creativity. Taking time off is a habit of successful people from Sheryl Sandberg to Richard Branson – and they suggest you do the same. Your mind needs time to process experiences, regenerate and make those connections you’re looking for.
9. Move your body.
Writer Henry David Thoreau said, “The moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.” He was on to something: Studies have found that exercise improves memory and creative thinking. Next time you feel stuck on how to increase creativity, get up and move!
10. Get a different perspective.
Talking to experts in your subject matter, reading an opinion article you don’t agree with or even just asking a family member for their perspective on your problem can all help you increase creativity. In business, make sure you include people with different life experiences and worldviews in your brainstorming sessions, and always include people who have different opinions than you.
11. Foster funnel vision, not tunnel vision.
This concept from Jay applies to both your business and the wider world. Don’t just focus on what’s going on in your own life, your industry or your department – that’s tunnel vision. Use a wider perspective instead: funnel vision. Learning about other trades and professions or changing your daily routine – for example, practicing gratitude or building better habits – helps your brain make new connections.
12. Create an accepting and encouraging environment.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “There are no bad ideas,” but do you treat yourself or your employees as if this is true? Everyone’s ideas must be heard and given equal value and failure should be seen as opportunity. “You have to fail to be successful,” Tony says. Rather than punishing failure, celebrate the process. Change your self-talk to appreciate every idea that comes your way, creative or not.
Where does creativity come from?
Discovering how to boost creativity starts with understanding what creativity really is – and that it’s not just for artists and poets. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that creativity was a divine spirit who spoke to them. You weren’t a genius yourself – you had a genius.
Today that idea may seem ridiculous, but consider this: Similar myths about creativity persist. The most common myth is that it is just one trait, and you either have it or you don’t. The truth is that creativity happens in situations from mathematics to inventing to putting together your outfit for the day. It taps into past experiences, trial-and-error and hundreds of different parts of you brain.
Creativity isn’t just one personality trait. Studies have found creative people actually share a set of traits and problem-solving skills – and the good news is that anyone can master them to increase creativity.
Why is it important to improve creativity in business?
Learning how to increase creativity isn’t just a task for writers and artists – all business owners need this skill. As Tony says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” and creativity plays a role in business growth. One study found that companies that actively cultivate creativity have faster revenue growth and are more likely to be market leaders. But why?
Constant strategic innovation is one of the Seven Forces of Business Mastery – and creativity is vital. It’s what will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s your X-factor: the thing that adds more value to the marketplace than your competition and creates raving fan customers.
Jay Abraham, says, “If you have competitors selling similar products to yours, you have to do something different.” Most companies are going to have these competitors, but in order to stand out in a crowded world you need to get creative. Take something you’re already doing, put a little more thought into it and turn it into something great. It takes time, but discovering how to improve creativity will have a massive impact on your business.
The secrets of how to improve creativity don’t belong only to poets and painters. Anyone can take steps to improve creativity and solve even the toughest business problems. The time to start is now.
Ready to improve your creativity?
Discover the secrets to creatively solving difficult business problems with Tony’s 7 Forces of Business Mastery guide.