It’s a fact. We all know that some people seems to have a gift, because they are able to think innovatively and imaginatively, they have a flair for the so-called “Lateral thinking”, while others seems to be more down-to-earth and rational-minded, ungifted, as someone might say with thinly-veiled disappointment.

We have all met at least once that person that has a certain sparkle when it comes to creative thinking, something innate and inexplicable to someone that is not used to think outside the box and actually seems to prefer pre-determined schemes. And it is true that creative thinking comes more naturally to some people than others, there is nothing to object to in that; after all, “to each his own”, beauty lies in variety, how amazing is that we are all different and, for this reason, special!

Nevertheless, creativity can be developed and trained, even though some people might disagree on this point. Of course, there is no magic formula nor miracle to become a creative genius out of the blue! But I do believe that some easy steps could definitely help us avoid the agony of the “blank canvas”, and they could somehow draw a more creative pathway to the mind.

Personally, I have always been a creative person, and when I am asked to think more inside the box, I have to admit I don’t like it that much! I’m a free spirit, and I love seeing myself making up my mind and being able to draw the lines of my own box!

It won’t be the find of the century, but I would love to share 5 simple steps that help me out whenever I feel like struggling to have a brain wave, which is way more helpful than staring at the ceiling looking for inspiration.

  1. Don’t take your eyes off the sky – I always say it, sky is my colour, a vast open space that will always take my breath away! It will always look different! Watching the clouds drifting by and all those shades of colours from the dawn to the sunset make me feel free, dreamy and such a small part of the universe that I am willing to see things from different perspectives, free from the chains and the schemes of daily life on earth. This willingness is a crucial attitude to prepare yourself for creative thinking! Sky is the answer.
  2. Be ready to broaden your knowledge and to capture new ideas anytime– Read a lot, and not only about topics that you are interested in or that you feel more related to, because you will always find creative ideas outside your comfort zone! And find an effective way to preserve ideas as they occur, write them down or record them, so that you can develop them from different angles at a later stage, after brainstorming.
  3. Talk to people – Each person might potentially have an invaluable lesson to teach you, an interesting story to share with you, or a helpful piece of advice for you. And even if they will have a negative impact on you, you would have learned something from them! Ask for feedbacks about your ideas and works, learn to accept criticism, maybe you won’t always like them, some of them might even be useless, but in this way you will surround yourself with new stimuli, which are fundamental to stimulate original ways of thinking and to expand your horizons. As Andy Warhol said: ““Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.”
  4. Seek out challenges and never give up – It is like going to the gym, you need to be persistent and consistent when it comes to work out, otherwise you won’t succeed in it. You need to keep on practising and training your brain… Draw it, write it, paint it, make doodles, delete them and start over again! If you push and force yourself to meet the challenges, you will make room for plenty of original ideas to transform into a creative input. And even failure can activate unknown creative processes in our brain, it all comes out in the wash, doesn’t it?
  5. Be crazy!  – Daniel Kahneman, in his book “Thinking, Fast & Slow” – which I highly recommend reading – states that there are both fast thinking (the snap judgements, the “gut feeling” we get at first) and slow thinking (a more effortful and rational thinking). Sometimes these two universes of our brain might be in conflict. Some months ago, I read somewhere that “creativity comes from a conflict of ideas” and I totally agree with that! To my mind, if we manage to combine fast and slow thinking in a smart way, by looking for an opportunity in this conflict, we can really get to an interesting and unexpected result! A little bit of craziness is the most peculiar ingredient for the recipe of creativity, because it helps in making our way into something new and to solve conflicts in an innovative way! Think about it: history shows us that a lot of brilliant artists, poets, musicians were a little bit nuts! So, if we want to be more creative, we have to risk, break the structures, cross the line… And don’t worry if people tell you that you are a little bit crazy, it means you might be on the right way!