CAREER ADVANCEMENT / MAY. 04, 2014
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How to Train Yourself to Think More Creatively

Everyone could use a bit more creative thinking in their lives. No matter how simple and straightforward your job is, a bit of creativity can make you a highly productive individual that finds new and better solutions for old problems.

But not all of us were born with that creative-thinking gene, so how can we train ourselves to think more creatively?

Keep Your Ears Open

Want to find a new solution to an old problem? Listen to others sharing the solutions they have found to their problems, and see if those solutions will work for you. You'll be amazed at the way creative ideas are sparked by listening to others. Listen carefully, and the solutions will find you.

Be Ready to Capture Ideas

The most creative ideas rarely come when you need them, but they come when you're least expecting them. You must be ready to capture them, or else you will lose them forever. Always have a paper and pen handy, or at least your smart phone. You can purchase a Dictaphone to record your thoughts if it's easier than writing or typing. It's essential that you can store your ideas easily.

Learn to Brainstorm

The ability to brainstorm is one that takes time to develop, but it leads you to think much more creatively. Find ways to brainstorm new ideas and concepts in your everyday life, even if it's coming up with new places to eat, new activities to enjoy, or new routes to drive to work. Start allowing yourself to think creatively and you'll find that your mind begins to find creative solutions to your problems all on its own.

Know When to Take a Break

It takes work to access your creative abilities, and you need to know when it's time to stop working and just relax. If you are trying to think creatively, you'll find that pushing yourself too hard will actually cut off the flow of creativity. Once you feel the ideas waning, stop working, take a break, and come back to it a bit later. You'll find the ideas flow much better after you've given your mind a rest.

Learn More

The more you learn the more information your mind has to tap into as you try to think creatively. Picture yourself as a writer trying to come up with a new plot for a mystery novel. If you are a detective, that's your only frame of reference. If, however, you are a detective, architect, engineer, physicist, and accountant, all of a sudden dozens of possibilities open up. You'll find that the more you learn, the larger your pool of creativity grows--ergo, the more you can tap into!

Sharpen Your Imagination

If you want to start thinking creatively, it's time to get creative. Truth be told, nothing helps you activate that side of your mind more effectively than creating something. Write, draw, paint, color, or sketch. Whatever you do, make sure that it forces you to use your imagination. The more you use your imagination, the more it will grow. As it grows, it will begin to assert itself in your everyday life, and you will begin to find imagination providing real life solutions in the strangest ways.

It's tough to change yourself from a literal thinker to a creative one, but it's worth it! You'll find that being able to think creatively can help you solve problems in ways you'd never have dreamed of before.

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