How often have you been asked to think outside the box? I have been asked to do that in every single meeting and every single design session. It took me a while to realize that the term “outside the box” is misleading. In fact idea’s doesn’t get spawn from thin air. If the brain does not enough exposure to information and knowledge, it could create only noise and not innovation.
Here is an easy 3 step guide that you can follow to explore your creative potential.
Step 1: Exposure to anything and everything
Unless there is information stored in your sub-conscience , your brain cannot fully assemble an Idea that would work. And if you believe that great inventors and successful entrepreneurs got their idea just by luck or chance, No is the answer. Exposure is the first step towards creative. There are different ways to expose your self to information. But the best ways are People, Books and Experience.
People are the most powerful source of knowledge. Expand your network with the right people, talk to them, learn what they know. Its totally fine if you forget what you learn. Remember you just need to expose your self. You might ask what is the purpose of learning and forget. Wait till you read step 2.
Till date there are 130 million books published according Wikipedia as of 2016. What your academic books teach you is a drop in the ocean. So leave your academics in your class room. Elon Musk as a teenager had read all the books in his local library that he started reading encyclopedia. Make reading a practice, a part of life. The day you stop reading and learning, your creativity ends there!
Step 2: Mindfulness
“What are you thinking right now? ” How would you react to this question? Some say “nothing” or “just random thoughts”. But some can clearly tell what they were thinking. They might say things like “I was wondering what to have for dinner” or “Thinking about my first day in Office tomorrow”. In reality “nothing” is not an answer, our inner conscience keeps talking to you all the time. As a matter of fact we don’t listen to it very often.
Sometimes while you are playing a game like cricket, in fraction of a thought you duck your self and end up realizing that you just missed a hit of the ball by an inch. Or while driving a bike, in a split second you apply breaks avoiding an accident. What would you say? “Thank God! that was just a miss.” How many of us have been in similar situation? I am sure you have. Many of us believe that is just a coincidence and keep moving. However that is not true. Look at the diagram below:
If your consider the circle to be your conscious, the red circle is self-awareness. That is what you are aware of. Your subconscious is much bigger than you can imagine. It tries to talk to us but tend to ignore it most of the time. Some of the actions you do, like ducking yourself from a ball or applying a break to save an accident are the events handled by your subconscious. It takes control of you to save you. Believe me, that is your GOD.
Everything you get exposed to as in Step 1 is stored your sub-conscious. Mindfulness is a tactic to listen to it. If you consider your brain to a database, mindfulness is like indexing it. following simple techniques like yoga or meditation will help you listen to your senses. Dedicate atleast 15 mins of your daily schedule to this. You will see a huge difference overtime.
Step 3: Deductive & Divergent Thinking
Now you have information and exposure. You also have a indexed database. Nice! Its time to put it to work.
If I ask you to write a list of things that you can do with a piece of paper how big would the list be? Some might come up with 5-10 and some might have a bigger list like ~25. But some can even make a list of 100 ideas. This is called divergent thinking, expanding your ideas. For a every problem you face try to come up with many possible solutions. Think from within and not out-side-the-box.
Deductive reasoning is when you start from things you assume to be true, and draw a conclusion that must be true if your assumptions true. it might sound confusing, but let me give you an example
“All Dogs have tail, Scooby is a dog and so Scooby has a tail”
You can apply this logical reasoning to any scenario you come across. In my upcoming posts I will explore more about these creative techniques which you can apply in Real life.
In summary, by changing simple things in your lifestyle like talking to people, expanding your network, reading books, practicing mindfulness and techniques like Deductive reasoning and Divergent Thinking, you are preparing yourself for building a creative mindset. By being creative, you can reach you potential of success and that takes you places.