how to be more creative

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Generate New and Great Ideas

Do you want new and great ideas?

The kind that makes people

  • Smile in wonder and possibility after you introduce it
  • Question why they don’t ask for your opinion more often
  • Recognize how intelligent, creative and brilliant you really are

If you’re nodding your head, I have a question for you:

What’s the problem?

Why aren’t you coming up with awesome ideas?

Why do you have trouble coming up with even good ideas?

It’s probably because you believe that great ideas are reserved for a lucky few.

I have some good news and bad news for you.

First, the bad (that’s the way I prefer it): To have new and great ideas require work. The belief that an excellent idea just pops into your head in an AHA! moment is wrong. Eureka, like overnight success, takes time.

Now the good: It is possible for anyone to generate great ideas. Stop thinking that you can’t be creative and realize that you just don’t know how. You have all the resources you need to create awesome ideas and lucky for you, this article will show you how to do it.

Broaden Your Horizons

Imagine having one building block, you probably can’t do much with it except put it on its different sides.

What if you had 2? Now you can do some rudimentary stacking.

What if you had 5? Would you be able to build more things? Different things?

What if you had 100 building blocks? Imagine the possibilities.

Ideas work the same way.

Experiences are the building blocks for ideas.

To have new ideas, you need to collect new experiences.

What you can do?

  • Read books of all genres and do it often.
  • Travel to different places. The more different the better.
  • Visit museums. Attend concerts. Listen to music you don’t usually listen to
  • Attend a workshop, class or seminar – Neurolinguistic Programming, Creative Writing, etc.
  • Do puzzles that challenge your thinking – Check out Thinkertoys
  • Learn a new language – speaking a different language allows you to access different minds

Push the Limits and Play on the Edge

A great way to get your creative juices flowing is by playing on the edge.

Whatever topic you need ideas for, first get to the outer limit, get comfortable and then start pushing it further.

Think –est.

Ask:

What is the fastest, biggest, broadest, smallest?

What happens if I magnify it? Minify it?

What if I rearranged different elements? Combined my various experiences and ideas?

Don’t be afraid to be “wrong” and stop trying to come up with the perfect idea.

Storage

Ideas, like all great things, rarely come when we are looking for them.

They usually come at random times in the day and it is important for you to capture them for future use.

I always carry something that I can take notes on. It’s either my notebook, my iphone or some random piece of paper. When I get home I transfer these thoughts into my ideas book or organize them into Evernote depending on the type of idea. The important thing is to capture EVERYTHING. Even if it’s something that I don’t look at for months, when I do finally look at it, it helps me to generate many more ideas.

You’ve just learned 3 easy ways to come up with new and great ideas. It is easy to say, “that’s nice” or “that makes a lot of sense” and promise yourself that you’ll use these tips “one day”. We all know how that goes.

I encourage you strongly to apply what you learned immediately and here are some suggestions:

  1. Decide right now how you will capture your ideas no matter where you are: Get a notepad or voice recorder, sign up for Evernote (it’s free) or create an ideas sticky note on your desktop.
  2. Commit to reading something that you would not normally read (ask your friends for a recommendation or go to the library and browse a section you don’t normally look at). Here are a few books that I enjoyed reading.
  3. Visit a museum that you’ve never heard of.
  4. If you need to come up with new ideas for something particular. Walk along the edges of the idea and start trying to push the edge. Ask yourself questions that end in -est or try to combine elements that don’t normally go together.
  5. Look into taking a language class or signing up for a thought provoking workshop (comedy improv, NLP or creative writing)

Which one of these suggestions will you take first?

Do you have any tips for being creative?

Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and the author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people gain clarity and move forward in life. If you’re going through a tough time right now, check out Robert’s article on How to Feel Better Right Away.

 

If you find that you’re having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.

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  • http://triisne.com/blog/ RahimTSNE

    To get new ideas I am strong believer of meeting with people. the more diverse background they belong to the higher the chance to generate new ideas just by interacting with them. and for new ideas, going through museum, traveling, reading etc. are preferred then it will be adons for your experience but you can experience all having heard their experience without spending a dime.

    • http://www.facebook.com/embpos Robert Chen

      You’re right Rahim. It doesn’t cost money to generate new ideas. Just takes action. Thanks for the comment.

  • Suresh Agarwal

    Read Think and Grow Rich , By Napolean Hill, its a great book, you can get it free as ebook just do a google search 

    Regards
    Suresh

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      That’s an excellent book recommendation Suresh and has a lot of great info packed into it. I also recommend “Applied Imagination” by Alex Osborn.

  • http://twitter.com/Ani_LifeProb Ani

    Good advise. Even if it does not provoke ideas it wil definitely make you grow and become better

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      Great ideas come from growing and becoming better. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.everythingaboutmotivation.com/ Petra Botekova

     Great article! You´re absolutely right, learning new languages and understanding other cultures will enormously expand your horizons. I´m a student of intercultural communication and foreign languages and my field of study literally changed my life. I´m more flexible, open and tolerant.

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      Thanks for the comment Petra. Every time I travel to a new place, I find that I become more understanding of the cultures I meet when I return home. Different cultures seem strange when taken out of their context. When you take time to learn a language or to meet new people, you end up seeing why they act the way they do and it begins to make sense.

  • http://www.intentionalworkplace.com/ Louise

    Good post..especially your important point that everyone can generate new, creative ideas. Believing it is the first step. 
    I’m just writing about impatience and frustration which even though they can be the result of not feeling we can be creative can also thwart our creative processes as well. 
    The Buddhists speak about “don’t know mind” which is a fabulous concept that we should consider in allowing the space to allow creative thought to flourish. Creativity is a whole body experience and too many of us are stuck in our heads – thinking we know – or should know all the answers. Don’t know mind gives us permission to say – right now, I don’t have the answers..

    Good points – thanks
    Louise

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      Great point Louise. Having the “don’t know mind” or the “beginner’s mind” is so important. Can’t put anything in a cup if it’s already full. 

      Thanks for reminding us of that. 

  • TJ_Chasteen

    Great post Robert,

    The first suggestion I’ll take is reading a different kind of book – Twilight? Fifty Shades of Grey? Who knows!

    I typically only read books centered around happiness and self-improvement.

    A creative outlet that I normally use is to volunteer for jobs I have never done before. Experiencing the largest variety of job types is extremely eye-opening. It allows you to understand more people’s daily life. I now know what it’s like to be a teacher, concrete mason, babysitter, consultant, and carpenter.

    During all these projects – new doorways in my brain have opened and I don’t think they’ll ever slam shut.

    Best,
    TJ

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      Hi TJ, 

      Volunteering for new jobs sound like a great way to get deeper into new experiences. It must work wonders for your communication skills and not to mention the different skill “remixes” you can come up with afterwards. It’s common for me to have almost too many personal development and communications/business/psychology books on deck to read so I occasionally let the Tolstoy novel or Hunger Games book sneak in the front of the line. I find that sometimes I learn more from well-developed characters living their lives than I do from books explicitly telling me ways to do things. 

      • http://How-toBeHappy.com/ TJ Chasteen

         Good point Robert. I once learned all about the African people by reading a novel where the author lived there for a number of years!

        • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

          Anything interesting in particular?

          • http://How-toBeHappy.com/ TJ Chasteen

            I mainly learned how privileged I am to live in a developed country. I realized that I was taking a lot for granted. Safety, clean water, medical care, etc.

  • http://www.stefanparmark.com/ Stefan Parmark

    I am amazed at how much you were able to say in such a short post. Playing on the edge is a good one. Try to take your idea to the next level. I have been wondering for some time how I could take my own blog to the next level. By that I mean, how could I add value to it that no other blog has (yet)? I know the answer will come to me if I look for it.

    Doing different things is a great idea for getting new ideas. Often you just repeat thoughts you have already thought many times. By going someplace new I might get different thoughts, which may give me what I am looking for.

    Hmmmm… where can I go tomorrow that I haven’t been before?

    Thanks for inspiration, Robert!

    • http://twitter.com/EmbPos Robert Chen

      Hi Stefan, thanks for the comment. Most new things are built upon old things so the more experiences you have the more raw material you have to create original mixes. I’ve found that my diverse background has allowed me to see solutions that I probably wouldn’t see if I just specialized in one field. As for your blog, do something different from other blogs if you want to be at the next level but at the same time you have to study what current successful blogs are doing before you can differentiate yourself. 

      Best of luck to you Stefan.

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