A single first step in getting (more) creative in your life.

“If you accustom yourself to creativity in small things, creativity on a large scale will follow.” Sheikh Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai

How do you become creative? Can we learn to be innovative? Is it only geniuses like Einstein who are creative? These are the questions asked by Professor Hideyuki Horii during a session of the University of Tokyo Innovation Summer Programme I attended in 2014. These are the same questions I ask participants of the innovation education workshops I facilitate. Can we? Can you? Being creative basically means ability to do things in a different way.

My accountability bud last week started one of her bi-weekly blog posts narrating how she asked a friend on what topic should she write for that week. The person replied “chicken”. Hilarious indeed. She didn’t write 1000 words about chickens though. She was creative about it. She took the inspiration from it and wrote on a general topic around it. If you want to read it, please follow this link here. Why the story? If you realize, for those moments, she was looking for new ideas. She used “ask a friend” as a way to come up new blogging ideas and it totally worked for her.

Aside that, there are a lot other ways of how to come up with new ideas. But that is not what I want to share, how to come up with new ideas, not today. This post is aimed at suggesting a strategy of how to become generally (more) creative in doing your every day things.

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My first suggestion is what the ruler of Dubai HRH Sheikh Maktoum suggested in his book Flashes of Thought, “I was asked how to become creative. I replied that we should get accustomed to not getting accustomed.”

Yes. Absolutely right. What does he mean by that? Many at times, we approach life with the same principle every now and then. A good way of beginning to be creative is to ask yourself, how can I accomplish this task differently? What other way can this task be done? This one single question will challenge you to start thinking (creatively, yes.). If you make friends by extending a handshake, try offering a cupcake next time. If you start solving problems by asking what went wrong, try asking how to totally avoid the problem from happening again. If you dress corporately to work, try dressing casually (try dishing the idea to your boss to allow employees dress casually for a single day and you will realize they will say they feel a lot freer in their head). Why?

The idea is that when you accustom yourself to constantly changing how you do stuff, it will build your mind to be more flexible and open. Flexibility conjures creativity. Being creative means accepting to do things a new different way. And that is exactly what people who are not open to change resist. They are rigid in all approaches and do not accept new ideas.

The more you try making creativity an everyday part of your life, the more excellence we will achieve in our lives said the Ruler of Dubai.

If you find this single tip useful, please do share it with your firends. If you need more ways of becoming creative, then subscribe to my blog to receive more posts on how to get creative in the future.

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Sadiq is the Lead Facilitator at Innovation Lounge, an organization fostering creativity and innovation culture in schools and universities.

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