Contrary to what many people think (or believe about themselves), creativity isn’t something you either have or don’t have. While many of you might feel that a lack of talent at painting or singing precludes you from being creative, physical skills or talents that are an expression of creativity are only a small element of it. In fact, what makes you creative is as much about the way your ideas take shape, how you think about a problem and how you search for solutions, as it is about your abilities when it comes to playing the, say… saxophone. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to feel or be automatically creative either. Over time I’ve worked out it’s something you need to nurture every day, lest you suffer from the dreaded rut or burn out. As part of a year long collaboration with Nespresso – who are all about enhancing small moments and trying new things – they recently asked me to share how I promote creativity in my every day. Here are some thoughts!
Be more curious (ask questions)
I’ve found that it’s important to seek out new viewpoints every day. For me, creativity is all about opening my mind so that I can think and approach things from another angle. Often creative solutions take something simple and apply it in a different way – I mean how often have you seen something and thought to yourself, why didn’t I think of that? To integrate this more into your daily life, make sure to keep an open mind when you’re presented with an idea, and be curious as to what else is around the corner.
Don’t be afraid of inspiration
On the subject of curiosity, I feel like it’s important not to be afraid or overwhelmed by the things that inspire you. Often we worry so much about imitating something we like, that inspiration seems like the enemy. But recently I’ve realised that taking in ideas around you is key to building your own, so make sure you consider what other people are doing and ask yourself what they can teach you. A tip: instead of looking at the same sources of inspiration over and over, look to new people and projects as your inspiration.
Change it up
Recently I’ve put much of my mental well-being down to better routines (morning and night particularly). However, something I’ve noticed is that if I follow the same pattern of behaviour day in and day out, I end up feeling like I’m in a rut and the opposite of creative. It’s clear that a balance needs to be struck between establishing important routines and doing things a little differently everyday to keep myself inspired. Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to be messing with my morning in a major way, but even small tweaks to what you usually do can make a big difference to add variety and vibrancy to every day. Recently I’ve swapped my short black Kazaar on the sofa (something I’ve done religiously for a year or so) to a latte Ristretto in bed while reading my book, a small change that has helped to add variety and opportunities for new thinking patterns to my morning.
Give yourself space
Creativity needs space, that’s for sure. And letting every piece of information into your brain where it can disrupt your thinking patterns is at best distracting and at worst can immobilise you. The 8pm – 8am phone ban is a great way to begin this, but I’ve also been trying to apply a level of space into my everyday life (at my desk, when walking down the street etc). I’ve found it helps to channel my thinking patterns away from potential self criticism and comparison, leaving much more room to have creative ideas and pursuits.
Try something new (outside what you usually do)
I read recently that frequent thinking patterns can create grooves in your brain – in effect causing you to be more likely to think the same things or make the same decisions over and over unless you get out of your comfort zone. I couldn’t agree more – even if you’re doing something creative it’s easy to veer towards the same solution if you’ve got the same subject matter continually. Using your skills in a completely different area to what you usually do is a great way to challenge yourself to think outside the box. We’ve been working on a few new projects in the studio recently that are unlike other things I’ve done before and it’s opened up a whole new world of thinking, albeit not always easy!
Remind yourself you’re good enough (and that it’s ok to make mistakes)
Social media has in some ways created an environment where we’re constantly shown whether we’ve succeeded or failed in the form of likes or comments, which can lead us to doubt if we’re good enough. It’s important to remember that creativity is a journey, and you’re learning something every step of the way (regardless how many screen grabs on snapchat you got). And anyway, who CARES if this time you failed? Honestly, you’ll learn much more from that than a straight win anyway. I’ve learnt to look at mistakes as key learning experiences, so long as you can be open minded enough to know what you’re learning from them.
And finally… Get moving
I’ve said this a few times before, but getting physical really helps to sort out your brain space and promote creativity. Think of it like organising all the paperwork into the right piles and tidying up so there’s room for new ideas. Let the body wander (or do barre, or aerial yoga etc etc), and the mind will do the same.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Nespresso, who I’m working with this year to develop my creativity and channel some new skills. Why not try out their range of Intense coffees – you may even want to change up your usual blend for something a little different!