The common perception is that creativity strikes in an instant, and it’s often associated with great inventions, world-changing revelations and insight that ends up making major improvements to the ways people have done things for decades.
In reality, though, some experts believe creativity is more firmly built from the inspiration people find in other individuals or in things. Those people, then, don’t seek to reinvent the wheel, but observe things and make improvements to them.
For example, if you’re a musician and you write the first verse of a song that eventually becomes a hit, the creativity that fueled it may have partially come from the riff on a Red Hot Chili Peppers song that you’ve always loved, plus a quote that your best friend told to you yesterday, not to mention, part of a movie that you saw last week.
As it turns out, the secret to being creative is more complex than many people think.
Be Observant Of Your World
The first necessity for being creative involves tuning into the things that are happening around you. Maybe that means stopping to pay closer attention to a street musician or looking more deeply into the mindset of an entrepreneur in your town who’s trying to build a more efficient engine.
If it’s true that creativity is generated when you’re around people who are naturally creative, that’s all the more reason to keep your senses sharp.
Learn From People Who Are Smarter Than You Are
It’s also important to recognize there are many people in the world who have skills and gifts that you don’t. Rather than being jealous of them, understand that there is a lot you can learn from them.
In some cases, that might mean asking someone to be your mentor at work or deciding that you’ll commit yourself to reading the autobiographies of some of the world’s most creative people to learn more about their processes.
Keep A Journal Of Things You Notice
It’s important to take inspiration from everyone you encounter and everything you read. However, even though you’ll probably create lasting memories from that feedback, you can’t rely on memories alone.
To compensate, keep a journal that includes all kinds of creative things that you pick up on within your environment. It might include pictures, drawings or words. The crucial thing is to make it in a format that nurtures your own sense of creativity and gently forces you to keep focused on the things that drive you.
Figure Out What Makes Something Great
Once you come across something that really strikes a chord in your soul, dissect it in a scientific way and discover which specific factors about it actually make it great. Is it the descriptiveness of a song lyric, the way a common process has been streamlined, or the way a product can do something better than any of its predecessors?
There is a good chance you’ll find several attributes that make something that’s creative a truly remarkable thing. The trick is to take stock of those highlights and dig deeply into them to understand why they resonate with you.
Find Creative Models That Work for You
It’s little use studying creative geniuses and examining their models if they simply don’t fit with your ideals and beliefs. Investigate the approaches of creative people who most closely fit your own background and goals. By doing so, you may even start expanding the network of people you know, and you’ll certainly be more inspired to continue with your own quest for creativity.
Don’t Lose Heart
Once you begin to become more familiar with some of the world’s great creative people, you’ll probably start to realize that almost none of them stumbled upon the correct way to do something immediately.
Instead, they made hundreds or even thousands of attempts before finding success. Coach yourself to truly believe that your intentions are in the right place, and know that every perceived failure can be a valuable learning experience.
As you can see, the process of capitalizing on creativity is a multifaceted one, so it might be more appropriate to say there are many secrets to creativity, rather than just one. No matter what, remember that taking inspiration from others is not the same as plagiarizing.
Rather, you’re just adapting what you notice and using it to shape your own objectives. People often say that all forms of art are imitation. That doesn’t mean you should purely copy them, but include your own strengths so you’re expanding upon an idea and making it your own form of creative expression.