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lLife&HappinessYouYouYou
“I just wash
and hoe!”
GROW YOUR OWN IDEASUnlock your inner creative side – trust us, you do have...
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01-16-YYY_IdeasPerson [P]

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01-16-YYY_IdeasPerson [P]

  1. 1. lLife&HappinessYouYouYou “I just wash and hoe!” GROW YOUR OWN IDEASUnlock your inner creative side – trust us, you do have one D o the words ‘breakfast brainstorm’ fill you with dread? A recent study by Adobe found that only 39% of respondents described themselves as creative. “There’s a misconception that innovative people have an in-built wellspring of ideas, but creativity is a skill – a mental muscle that needs to be exercised to get stronger,” says Paul Collard, who runs Creativity, Culture & Education, The International Foundation For Creative Learning. “It’s just a question of allowing the ideas to flow: giving your mind permission to freestyle.” Easy when you know how… SWAP TALKING FOR LISTENING The workplace brainstorm might bill itself as a more ‘relaxed’ way to kick around ideas, but for many it can have an inhibiting effect. Research in the US found that better-quality ideas were generated in a ‘silent brainstorm’ session, or ‘brainswarm’, where employees think up ideas alone. The reason? In a public brainstorm, people are more likely to self-censor. Suggest a silent brainstorm to your boss, but if you do find yourself being forced to free-think on the spot, Professor John Adair, author of The Art Of Creative Thinking, suggests being ‘an active listener’. “Which means being open and receptive to other people’s ideas, and using them as the raw material for your own thinking.” HAVE SOME FUN Creative thinking is playful. And in order to fuel it, it’s important to prioritise creative ‘play’ in your free time. “A great way to reignite original thinking is to take yourself on a weekly ‘artist date’,” says creativity guru Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way. “Pick something that fascinates you. It could be a painting you’ve never seen up close, a ruined building or a walk with an inspiring view. Go alone and really feel it. Regular experiences like this are essential for enriching your imagination.” EMBRACE DUFF IDEAS It’s a myth that creative people generate endless brilliant ideas. What sets highly creative people apart, according to researchers at Harvard, is that they have less ‘latent inhibition’, so their brains allow more extraneous information in, where it’s free to fuse with other thoughts to create fresh ideas. The result? More outside-the-box thinking. In his book Calm, entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith says that drawing a mind map (a visual brainstorm, where you use different colours, doodles and short notes) is a great way to unlock ideas. “Mind mapping has been shown to be a far more effective way to unleash original thinking than writing a list. Plus, if you use a combination of words and images, you’ll be six times more likely to remember your ideas.” LAUGH YOURSELF CREATIVE A mental warm-up is a great way to relax yourself into a state where creative ideas are more likely to flow. Acton Smith says that when he has corporate brainstorms, he begins by encouraging everyone in the team to share something personal and fun. Laughter relaxes people. THINK THE IMPOSSIBLE Whether you’re looking for solutions to a personal rut or trying to solve a work problem, before you get into the whys and what-ifs, shake things up with some unlikely thought mash-ups, suggests Michael Michalko from creativethinking.net. “One way is to imagine ‘impossible hybrids’: a piece of furniture that’s also a fruit; a vehicle that’s also a fish; a flavouring that’s a tool. The discipline of combining impossible objects forces you to stretch your imagination. Creativity involves the synthesis of unlikely concepts, so this is a great way to prime your brain for creative thought.” ByZoeMcDonald.Illustration:ElsaMora 000

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