Truly creative minds not only come up with the answers. They are always coming up with the questions. This is why a young child can drive an adult crazy.
“Why is the moon in the sky?”
“Why don’t the stars crash into each other?” “Why did God make me your first child?” (You’ve wondered that too, right?) “Why do I have to bath every day? The dog doesn’t.” Why? Why? Why?
Why does he keep asking questions? Because he’s born to be creative. And what do we do as adults? Stifle his creativity! To be honest, often it’s because we don’t know the answers. And why don’t we? Because someone stopped us from finding the answers in the first place.
So how can we re-kindle our creativity?
1. We can change our perspective. Look at your life from a child’s point of view. Or through your dog’s eyes. You may gain ideas on a new way to tackle a problem. Look at your writing from your reader’s point of view–and your painting from your prospective customer’s perspective. Don’t stop at one. Look at your way of life from many different perspectives. I once listened to an LP record (which gives away my age) in which an intelligent man is trying to explain a game of golf to a totally uneducated bushman from Central Africa. Hilarious! But also thought-provoking.
2. We can challenge our assumptions. You go out to dinner in a posh restaurant. You just assume they will have staff to wait on you. What if they don’t? How would that work? Imagine the scenario. Play it over in your mind. Would it work? I once read a signboard sticking out of the lawn of a bowling green. “Keep off the grass,” it instructed. Is that possible? Could you play bowls without stepping on the grass? How would you get the woods to run on the grass if you kept on the path? Think it through.
3. Let your ideas run wild. One of my favourite story series as a little girl was Enid Blyton’s Wishing Chair. So how would you react if you were polishing a chair one day and it grew wings? Would you sit on it and wish yourself to an exotic destination? Would you run out the room and scream for someone to come and help, because “chairs don’t fly”, or would you take an axe to it? Look at your favourite armchair and visualise yourself sitting on it as you soar out of the window and across the fields. Imagine the expression on your neighbours’ faces as you waved to them. Think of all the advantages. No parking problems. No emission of toxic fumes. Don’t stifle your creativity. Relax, and let ideas come. You can always discard them later.
Remember that it takes time to develop new muscles, and that includes creative muscles. Practice these exercises regularly and you will become more creative. That’s a given.