4 June 2014

How to improve Creativity & Lateral thinking - Part 2

In this session, we will go through Habitual practices to develop creativity as well as lateral thing. As usual, we will be discussing the topic under separate sub-headings as follows :

(Source - Pixabay)

1. Work on patterns and puzzles 

The best way of developing lateral thoughts (fastly) is by brainstorming. Brainstorming exercises such as Puzzles and math games have to be practiced regularly and of course repeatedly. It was proved by research that one can develop lateral thoughts when he/she spends most of his/her time with patterns. Observing the trend of the pattern or framing a new pattern are all some good ways of brainstorming. It's easy to see many designers (or) creative people around, but it's difficult to find designers  with mathematical ability, and I can say - a creative person with good/average mathematical ability (puzzle solving capability) performs superbly in his career. If you don't have any mathematical background, then I strongly recommend you to go through some basics. Trust me, puzzles really puzzle you, as well as keep you entertained ! 
"Solving puzzles and patterns are one of the best habit one can have"

2. Do multiple activities

Every time, handling a single job/work reduces your diverse capabilities and hence diminishes your creative thoughts. It's good to work in focused and concentrated manner, likewise it's even more good to master multiple thoughts by doing simultaneous things. Cultivate the habit of doing multiple activities. For example, listen to music while say browsing. Think for ideas while you are travelling by bus/trains or even while you are jogging. Engage yourselves busy with lateral thoughts. Otherwise your mind will get rusted like iron gets rusted when it's idle ! 
"An empty mind is always dangerous"

3. Supportive environment 

The surroundings on which you live/work will greatly affect your lateral thinking ability. Make the surroundings of your living place most comfortable to you. The following nature of environment will greatly boost your creative thinking :
  • Calm and noiseless environment
  • Away from negative people
  • Active state (without feeling sleepy)
  • Free from stress/tension conditions
  • Access to natural pleasure - fully ventilated room with fresh air flowing, greenery etc.

As far as possible, spend less time on TV. Television is the best dis-tractor of all time, as we usually get addicted once we start watching that. If interested, spend time on interesting channels like Nat Geo, fun and humor channels etc

4. Productive - not wasting time

A 'Time waster' can be more or less considered as a 'Loser'. Time is the most precious of all. Spending time Idle is the worst thing one can practice. Instead try to analyze the surroundings, analyze whatever appears to your eyes or instead stick to some music. Spare greater time to think ! spend more time for internal thinking rather than wasting time on chats, television, dating etc. 

You could utilize your time by any of the following activity.
  1. Puzzles
  2. Gaming
  3. Reading - stories, comics
  4. Browse web for new topics
  5. Visit places
  6. Animations etc

5. Play Games 

Research confirmed that playing games - especially mind, action and puzzling video games are the best source of lateral thinking. These days children are active and creative, right ? that's because they spend considerable amount of time for games.  Offline games like sudoku (and many more to mention) also helps one to develop mentally. Remember; age is not a restriction for playing games, many feel that "am I child, to play these games ?" and so they don't even put their hands on games. I can say there's no wrong in playing mind games except for the case when you get addicted to it. If possible; play online games on lumosity as well as some other brainstorming exercises. Lumosity is a great place to practice as well as to improve our capabilities. Give a try !
"Think like a child but act like an adult !"

6. Crafts/art and DIY

Creativity can be best demonstrated through sketches, paints or any other art works. Sketching and painting are the best ways of exploring our thoughts. Try to do these, even if you are not good at sketching ! Cultivate the habit of going through crafts, creative art works as well as paintings of others (as many as you can). These kind of works go beyond imagination and if one observes these with utmost care, then one can learn new dimensions in creativity. 

Today's internet world is filled with countless number of websites, where we can find many creative people - those people whom are unique, thinkable and of course guide-able. Find those people and get connected with them. Keep updated with their creative works by analyzing their ideas. This process will definitely help you in learning the new possibilities in creative field. Of course, this will also reduce your fear of being different, because you will be involved in the environment of such crazy and different people ! 

The following list shows some of my favorite websites, where you can find good number of creative people - 

DIY stands for "Do it yourself". The following pictures shows some of the DIY works that I found in Pinterest. As you can see, most of the works were carried with already used or waste things. Utilizing already used/waste things to make something new is the best possible way of opening our doors to lateral thinking. Our mind will run in all possible ways to generate ideas of alterantive uses. In fact DIY objects might be helpful to you. So, try to develop DIY thoughts at leisure especially with unused or waste things. Like you observed crafts and painting works of others, observe the DIY ideas of others too. The first two social networks (that I listed above) are the best place to find those. You could find me in Pinteret here.

(source - craftideas)

(source - hercampus)

7. Try to be alone for quite a part of a day

To be creative, one should find time to develop ideas. So, you need to cater a part of a day for yourself. Remember, when you are always with some company, then you would be getting very less time for self thinking as you would be engaged with them either discussing on something or simple chatting etc. So, there's no time for your thinking ! Research says that one who keeps alone for quite a time develops lateral thinking fastly !

8. Learn new and unrelated topics

Like I discussed in 'Exposure' section in behavioral practices, learning is a continuous process and the more we learn, the more we get ideas. Try to learn or go through the topics that you never came across. Going through unrelated topics demands once presence and therefore he/she would concentrate more on that subject. 

Did you ever tried making chapattis/rotis with an iron box ? Crazy you know, I too never tried that before, it just flashed while writing. OK, to get such ideas, you should know that something like an iron box exists and that is meant to heat and iron clothes. Without aware of the iron box, you couldn't have framed this idea, right ? What i'm trying to say is - you should expose yourself to as many things as possible by learning about them, their working principle etc (preferably day to day used things/products), in order to incorporate/use them in other ideas.

9. Mistaking rocks 

Do you ever felt guilty of doing some fault designs or decisions ? Well, never feel like that. Mistake doesn't mean a failure, it is the process of learning, an art. But make sure that you learn from whatever mistakes you do - In other words; don't repeat the same mistakes repeatedly.  If you fear for committing mistakes, then you won't be taking the initiative of starting the thing. And like I said earlier, when you don't try, you won't get to know whether your thoughts are true or not.

10. Listen to aspiring music

Music boost our mood and helps in creating ideas ! I can say 98% of this world's population loves music. That may be of different genre's, everybody has their own tastes. Experiments confirm that slow melodies and classical music are best for soothing mind (calming mind) while rock/pop songs boost the confidence and hence keep the mind active. Make the habit of enjoying music as much as possible.

11. Open up 

The world is filled with good and bad people. There will be many people - who try to pull you when you are about to grow to higher level. In this process, you may come across people whom criticize you or laugh for what you have done, or proposed. Eliminate the fear of being criticized by others. Let the world laugh today only to find the importance in it tomorrow !
"When you move away from the regular track, then whatever you do will assume creativeness and will be different to the surrounding people !"

12. Photography guides you

Carefully observing each and every part of the photography is also a good mind exercise. Capturing things in different/unique views or observing others photography are all some of the best ways of improving visualization or observation skills. Remember, the more you observe, the more creative thoughts you will get. Here is a list of best social networks that will help you find creative photographers

13. Inspiring/Interesting work 

Here is my 80-20 thumb rule

"If you are doing interesting tasks, then you might complete 80% of the task in just 20% of the time, but when you are doing uninteresting tasks, then you might complete only 20% of the task in 80% of the time."

That's the huge difference. Your productivity is directly proportional to your interest. It's really difficult to tackle a task that doesn't entertain/interest you. Therefore try to focus on areas where you feel like never (or least) bored with good interest. Take some inspirations to speed up your tasks. Creativity can be expected only when you are interested ! Work with satisfaction.

14. Illustrate a story board

Story making is one creative way of delivering your ideas. If illustartions (sketches) join them, then that would be even better. Try to frame an interesting story. Preferably concentrate on a particular character (call him/her/it the hero of your story) and communicate your story in the form of either writing or sketches (just like you see in Tinkle books or manga). 

15. Visit knowledgeable places

Sounds interesting, right ? but it's true, places like museums, paint galleries, science exhibitions and of course historic places would teach you a lot. Most of the ideas are framed by taking inspirations from earlier works. Those works might give you some ideas or at least make you aware of what the historic are up-to. Science exhibitions is one knowledgeable place for technicians. For others (say photographers, writers, directors etc.) museums and paint exhibitions serves a lot. Go ahead and visit such places at times.

16. Physical practice 

Well to activate your brain for lateral thinking and creativity, mental exercise alone can't contribute to the fullest. Physical exercises are also required to some extent. Physical activities make all the muscles of the body move and hence avoid laziness of the body, directly eliminating procrastination. The following are some good physical activities that might help you exercise your body as well as your brain :
  • Meditation 
  • Walking or cycling for at least 15 minutes a day
  • Swimming
  • Outdoor games like tennis

17. Being humorous - jokes

Laughing is both physical and mental exercise and that's why doctors recommend that to keep us free from tensions/stress etc. Joking often is the best way of getting laugh. Watching comedy is another way of relaxing mind. Those who are humorous are in fact creative ! framing a laughable content for whatever situations arise demands once brain to work quickly in all possible ways - in other words think laterally.

18. Teach people

Teaching is an art, not all can teach at first instance ! it requires practice. If you are teaching something, then you will be thinking in all possible ways on
  1. How to make it deliverable
  2. How to make that understandable by listeners
  3. What questions has to be answered

When a listener poses a questions, then it requires your lateral thinking on how to come-up with concepts so as to make him/her understand the concept. You will be thinking in all possible ways and solutions. That in fact is a good exercise to your brain ! Isn't it ?

19. Food habits

Surprisingly, maintaining a good food habit would support your thinking ability. Nutritious food intake is required to activate the most important nerves of the body. Experiments confirm that consuming liquid drinks (especially water) helps to keep us active. Therefore, consume water as much as you can.

20. Cartoons and animated movies

Watch cartoons or creative animated movies to understand how impossibilities were shown possible - the biggest booster for lateral thinking ! Animals talking, showing imaginative places, crazy characters etc are all the imaginative things that we come across in such movies. You can see how the film makers were thinking beyond the limits without limiting their boundaries. So, do watch good number of animated movies frequently, rather than just wasting time on normal movies.

21. Culture - meet different culture

This seems a bit out of subject topic, but this might help you at least a little. The whole world is filled with different cultural people. Unfortunately; most of us stick to a particular culture and we are not interested in knowing about others. Exploring others culture is just like visiting a historic place and so it's not a bad idea in doing so. Cultural explorations are particularly useful for designers and photographers.

22. Read short stories 

Short stories that leave some morals at the end are good for developing and learning new ideas. Stories with illustrations/cartoons are more preferable  (manga type and books like Tinkle) than ordinary writings. Make it a habit of reading stories. Learning is a never ending process. New things can be grasped either by exposure or reading. So keep reading as much as you can, that can be either online or with the help of books. 
"Learning is a never ending process"

These are the topics that I wished to include under habitual practices for lateral thinking and creativity. You might also want to see  "how to improve creativity through behavioral practices"

I had also prepared a Inforgraphy on these topic in my other blog. you may check 'Infography on improving creativity and lateral thinking'


You may also check the above details in the below two video tutorial.

Over to you 

How do you improve Creativity ?
What steps did you take to think laterally ?
What are your views about creativity ? 

Share your views in the comments and let others know !

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  1. An excellent recipe for creative habits !

  2. Hi Bhanu,

    Wow what advice! I am not at all creative in an artistic sense but in many others. I blog and I market on the internet so I need to be. I struggle to do simple things like using image editors but am getting marginally better. I would much prefer to outsource anything graphical.

    As far as lateral thinking I am pretty good at that.

    Thanks for the post.


    1. Hi Sue,

      Great to see you spending time on my blog and thank you for leaving your views again in my posts. Well, I guess Creativity is not meant solely for artists, every professional and individual can be creative, even a country man showcase his/her creativeness in one way or other.

      And yes, I agree with you that you are pretty good at lateral thinking. Your strategies are awesome.

      Thank you again :)

  3. This is my first time on your blog and I am of course really impressed with the sort of advice you have to offer.
    An empty mind is really dangerous indeed so I obviously did fill my mind with something from your post.

    1. Hello Emmanuel,

      Hope you are fine and doing well.

      Thanks for visiting my blog, and I appreciate you for your humorous comment :)
      Great day to you !

  4. hi, bhanu sir.
    your blog inspires me and helps me alot for the preparation of CEED.


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