According to cognitive psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, creativity can be broadly defined as "...the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile." Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations. This isn't a skill restricted to artists, musicians or writers; it is a useful skill for people from all walks of life. If you've ever wanted to boost your creativity, these tips can help.

162918657.jpg - Robert Deutschman / Getty Images

1.  Commit Yourself to Developing Your Creativity

The first step is to fully devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Do not put off your efforts. Set goals, enlist the help of others and put time aside each day to develop your skills.

Becoming an expert - Hero Images / Getty Images

2.  Become an Expert

One of the best ways to develop creativity is to become an expert in that area. By having a rich understanding of the topic, you will be better able to think of novel or innovative solutions to problems.

Smiling woman painting - Hero Images / Getty Images

3.  Reward Your Curiosity

One common roadblock to developing creativity is the sense that curiosity is an indulgence. Rather than reprimanding yourself, reward yourself when you are curious about something. Give yourself the oppoWhile rewarding yourself is important, it is also important to develop intrinsic motivation. Sometimes, the true reward of creativity is the process itself, not the product.While rewarding yourself is important, it is also important to develop intrinsic motivation. Sometimes, the true reward of creativity is the process itself, not the product.

Creative man taking a risk - Vital Pictures / Stone / Getty Images

4.  Be Willing to Take Risks

When it comes to building your creative skills, you need to be willing to take risks in order to advance your abilities. While your efforts may not lead to success every time, you will still be boosting your creative talents and building skills that will serve you well in the future.

Confident woman smiling - Colin Hawkins / Stone / Getty Images

5.  Build Your Confidence

Insecurity in your abilities can suppress creativity, which is why it is important to build confidence. Make note of the progress you have made, commend your efforts and always be on the lookout for ways to reward your creativity

Time for creativity - Kevin C Moore / Cultura / Getty Images

6.  Make Time for Creativity

You won't be able to develop your creative talents if you don't make time for them. Schedule some time each week to concentrate on some type of creative project.

Proud woman - PeopleImages.com / DigitalVision / Getty Images

7.  Overcome Negative Attitudes that Block Creativity

According to a 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, positive moods can increase your ability to think creatively. According to Dr. Adam Anderson, senior author of the study, "If you are doing something that requires you be creative or be in a think tank, you want to be in a place with good mood." Focus on eliminating negative thoughts or self-criticisms that may impair your ability to develop strong creative skills.

Woman facing her fears - Paper Boat Creative / DigitalVision / Getty Images


8.  Fight Your Fear of Failure

The fear that you might make a mistake or fail in your efforts can paralyze your progress. Whenever you find yourself harboring such feelings, remind yourself that mistakes are simply part of the process. While you may occasionally stumble on your path to creativity, you will eventually reach your goals.



Brainstorming - Portra Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Portra Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

9.  Brainstorm to Inspire New Ideas

Brainstorming is a common technique in both academic and professional settings, but it can also be a powerful tool for developing your creativity. Start by suspending your judgment and self-criticism, then start writing down related ideas and possible solutions. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible in a relatively short span of time. Next, focus on clarifying and refining your ideas in order to arrive at the best possible choice.

Many solutions to a problem - Ezra Bailey / Taxi / Getty Images

10.  Realize That Most Problems Have Multiple Solutions

The next time to approach a problem, try looking for a variety of solutions. Instead of simply going with the first idea you have, take the time to think of other possible ways to approach the situation. This simple activity is a great way to build both your problem-solving and creative thinking skills.

Creativity journal - Flynn Larsen / Cultura / Getty Images

11.  Keep a Creativity Journal

Start keeping a journal to follow your creative process and track the ideas you produce. A journal is a great way to reflect back on what you have accomplished and look for other possible solutions. This journal can be used to save ideas that can later serve as future inspiration.

Mind Map - Maskot / Getty Images

12.  Create a Mind Map and Flow Chart

A mind map is a great way to connect ideas and look for innovative answers to questions. Create a mind map by writing down a central topic or word. Next, link related terms or ideas around the central word. While similar to brainstorming, this technique allows for branching ideas and offers a very visual way of seeing how these ideas are linked.

As you start to develop a new project, create a flow chart to track the presentation of the project from start to finish. Look for various paths or sequences of events that might occur. A flow chart can help you visualize the final product, eliminate potential problems and create unique solutions.

Tackling creative challenges - Guido Mieth / Taxi / Getty Images

13.  Challenge Yourself and Create Opportunities for Creativity

Once you have developed some basic creative skills, it is important to continually challenge yourself in order to further advance your abilities. Look for more difficult approaches, try out new things and avoid always using the same solutions you have used in the past.

In addition to challenging yourself, you also need to create your own opportunities for creativity. This might involve tackling a new project or finding new tools to use in your current projects.

Solving a creative problem - Dimitri Otis / Stone / Getty Images

14.  Try the "Six Hats" Technique

The "six hats" technique involves looking at a problem from six differing perspectives. By doing this, you can produce more ideas than you might have had you only looked at the situation from one or two points of view.

  • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
  • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?
  • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?
  • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
  • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
  • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?
  • Art gallery - Dave and Les Jacobs / Blend Images / Getty Images
  • 15.  Look for Sources of Inspiration

    Never expect creativity to just happen. Look for new sources of inspiration that will give you fresh ideas and motivate you to generate unique answers to questions. Read a book, visit a museum, listen to your favorite music or engage in a lively debate with a friend. Utilize whatever strategy or technique works best for you.
  • Thinking of new ideas - Sherif A. Wagih / Moment / Getty Images
  • 16.  Consider Alternative Scenarios

    When approaching a problem, utilize "what if..." questions to consider each possible scenario. If you take a specific approach, what will the outcome be? By looking at these alternatives beforehand, you'll be better able to develop creative solutions to problems.
  • Snowball technique for creativity - Aleksandar Nakic / E+ / Getty Images
  • 17.  Try the Snowball Technique

    Have you ever noticed how one great idea often leads directly to another? You can take advantage of this by utilizing a "snowball technique" when you are generating ideas for your project. If the idea isn't appropriate for your current work, set it aside to work on later or implement it in a future project.

http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/how-to-boost-...


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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Linda ,

      Flannery O'Connor , American author called it " the habit of art " and it is truly a benevolent addiction . My artistic activities have taught me to be a better problem solver which has leaked over to all aspects of my life .Playing my guitar has given me a better understanding of mathematics . Of course the best benefit is the timelessness and joy I find within the creative process .  The freedom from the world's constraints on our thoughts ( and what we do with them ) is truly a mental health boost I experience through the habit of art .   Mark

This discussion is so awesome, and helpful. I get brain-farts or blocks all of the time so I am going to work with some of these suggestions.

Thanks so much Linda ... your discussions are so amazing ... you're so well versed in so many areas. I am proud to know you as a good friend ... AND SISTER!

Sister Minque....I'm just trying to find interesting discussions.  It can't be all craft how too's..heeheehee.

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