If you’ve ever tried to be creative, it’s probably looked something like this:
“I’m going to be creative now!”
[Do something for a little while]
“That doesn’t look creative. How disappointing.”
Sound familiar? Well at the very least, that’s how my attempts look in the beginning.
While trying new things is definitely a key element to becoming more creative, the other key element is practice.
Practicing leads to hours and hours spent on an activity. This leads to hundreds of trials and (what appears to be) failures. But each time you practice and produce, you learn a little bit more about your craft. And you learn a little bit more about yourself.
You learn what you like and don’t like. You learn how changing just one thing during your practice runs tweaks your ideas and thoughts. And then you build on that change even further.
Let me give you an example that might seem a little out there at first, but hear me out.
I work in strategy consulting, which means I spend a lot of time working through large amounts of data in Excel.
Some of the analyses are pretty standard, but there are other times when I am extremely challenged. Either the data isn’t particularly complete, or there’s a certain question we’re looking to answer that doesn’t seem possible at first glance.
When that happens, I am forced to approach the analysis from a different angle. I have to come up with an innovative way to tackle and analyze the data for our purposes. But, it is only through trial and error that this happens. It’s not through just thinking about it and wondering what a good solution might be. It’s not through a few minutes here and there trying something and then giving up. It is through a massive amount of time and multiple “failures” along the way that we are able to produce what we need to.
This process is universally applicable, regardless of the job, activity, or hobby. Even for those things that may or may not seem based in creativity at first glance. Everything can use a creative approach.
Don’t think so? I challenge you. Think of a job, hobby, or general activity and if you think there isn’t a way to practice to build creativity, leave a note in the comments. I’ll respond with what I think is a great way to build creativity. If you stump me, you might win a prize!