“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Creative types can and often do find themselves questioning their abilities. Whether it be due to a failed experiment, a difficult life event or simply getting caught up in repetition, everyone hits mental blocks from time to time for many reasons. The fact is, when we’re young we’re continuously exposed to new things and we are working hard to make sense of the world. As we age, our routines don’t always leave our brains with much work left to do, and the grind of daily life can put a crux in our creative drives. So how can you kickstart your brain to think more creatively?
“To see things differently than other people,, the most effective solution is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before.” - Gregory Berns, Iconoclast
Research shows that the number one quality that sparks innovation is exposure to obscure and unrelated experiences. Making connections between unlikely things (associating) separates innovators from non-creatives. So step away - even if it’s for a few minutes a day - from your normal routine. Go ahead, learn a new craft, or take those salsa classes you’ve been thinking about. Pick up pool league, a new sport, cuisine or language. Saturating your brain with new ideas and experiences will not only make you a more interesting person, but will give you ample new material to work with to amp up your creative drive. Not only that, you’ll likely meet new friends who will inspire you!
You’re already creative - believe that! If you’ve had creative victories before, you will have them again. So get out there and start doing more!