Random inspiration from the gods?
Enlightenment from a third dimension?
Pattens your mind makes from experiences?
You are just a combination of your experiences. A mixture of the things you read and watch, the conversations you have, the places you’ve been, and just the day to day experiences you have.
And creativity is the ability to see new relationships, patterns, and meaningful data from this information.
Simply, creativity is just connecting the dots you have collected.
Knowing this, there are three ways to help you hone your creativity.
Preparation Is Everything
We all glorify the instant enlightenment of a creative idea. It comes like a lightening bolt from the sky. Like a shot from the heavens.
But what we don’t glorify, is the years of preparation we had to go through to accumulate the resources we needed to identify that idea.
Creativity is more about preparation than anything else. You need to put in the work to gather the resources in order to be creative.
If you haven’t picked up the dots, you can’t connect them. To be creative we must take the process of collecting information seriously.
In Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Maria Konnokova brings up the concept of headspace. (If you are interested, it’s a great read.)
At one point she remarks, “A man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.”
She preaches that you must be selective with what you put in your attic.
When you clutter your mind with useless information, you inhibit your creativity. This clutter gets in the way of the valuable information and takes up invaluable space in your mind.
Be selective with the information you choose to consume. While reality TV may be entertaining, do you really want that mindless content in your attic?
Broaden Your Horizons
Steve Jobs attributed his success with Apple, Pixar, and Next and more to his broad experiences. He believed that the better understanding of the human experience, the higher creative capacity you have.
Famously, he went to India on spiritual quests, advocated for LSD, and critiqued Bill Gates by saying he would be a better businessman if he had experienced more of the world.
If you want to be creative make sure you are giving yourself material to work with. It’s hard to be creative when you are watching the same things, eating the same food, and visiting the same places.
Strive to experience everything you can. These experiences will be something your mind can draw from and will make you a much more creative and resourceful person.
Creativity isn’t as mysterious as we make it out to be. Your creativity is just the result of your experiences.
And you are only as good as your experiences. So, prepare yourself with a steady diet of inspiration, avoid the junk, and go out and live life!
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If you can’t wait, check out the things that make children so creative.