Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. Many things set them apart including: Independence, dedication and a willingness to take risks. However, one significant quality stands out when we consider the shared traits of successful entrepreneurs. They all see the world differently and find innovative, creative ways to solve problems.
Unfortunately for most of us, creativity often feels like it's lurking just around the corner and you simply can’t reach it. To a good extent, you have to let creativity and inspiration come to you. The more you chase it, the less success you may have in finding it.
Part of the problem is work-life balance. Many entrepreneurs often don’t give enough attention to their physical or mental well-being. They work at all hours, eat whatever they can find, and blindly finish tasks under stressful conditions. It’s a recipe for burnout. The state of mind that allows you to find inspiration becomes more elusive if you aren’t addressing your own needs along the way. Here are several ways to switch things up and take yourself into account for a change that will help you find inspiration for creative new ideas.
1. Write It Down:
Write everything down: Good ideas, bad ideas, laughably terrible ideas, random musings, dreams, everything. Putting your thoughts on paper makes it easier to go back and find the stroke of genius. It also helps you learn a little bit about how your own brain works.
Nearly every successful entrepreneur reads voraciously when they're not working. More importantly, they read books, blogs and papers covering subjects outside their industry to widen their knowledge and discover new connections.
3. Find New Surroundings:
The physical space around us has a surprising impact on thought processes. Spending time brainstorming away from the desk can be surprisingly productive.
If you’re an at-home entrepreneur, start working at different independent local coffee shops each time you work away from home.
4. Broaden Your Horizons:
Traveling is a great way to see how the rest of the world lives. You can get inspiration from seeing new ways of doing things or discovering needs you didn't know existed.
5. Ask Around:
Sometimes it just takes a different perspective. Sites like Quora or Reddit can be great resources to get input from experienced entrepreneurs.
6. Hit The Gym:
Occupying your body with a physical task can stimulate your mind. Take yourself away from thoughts about the past and future and concentrate on a physical task that exists only in the moment. Plus, staying in shape helps you to be more alert and focused.
7. Clear Away Distractions:
Spend some time away from the cell phone, Internet or anything else that pulls you away from the problem at hand. You don’t have to be on an airplane to put your device on airplane mode.
8. Question All Assumptions:
Don't let any idea slip by without being examined, tested and turned on its head.
9. Focus On Yourself:
Take a vacation, get enough sleep, do what it takes to get in the right place for yourself. Once you are there, creativity will come more naturally.
10. Be Open To All Sources:
Looking for inspiration from successful entrepreneurs is a good idea, but low-level employees might have just as much insight.
Sometimes our biggest failures can set the stage for our grandest successes. As Steven Tyler said in a famous Aerosmith song, “You’ve got to lose to know how to win.”
12. Stop Being A Perfectionist:
For a moment, allow something to be imperfect. Start acting, even if that means going forward with an idea that isn't totally refined just yet.
13. Have Quiet Time:
Sit and meditate, just be mindful for a moment. Be alone with yourself. Concentrate on your breath, and you may find inspiration come to you instead of the other way around, like it apparently did for Don Draper.
14. Pump Up The Music:
Alternatively, sometimes listening to new music can trigger your brain's creativity. Sometimes that might work where silence fails.
15. Evaluate Your Goals:
Maybe your struggle for inspiration is symptomatic of a deeper issue. Are your efforts actually being focused in the right direction?
16. Don't Analyze:
Spend time brainstorming without scrutinizing your ideas. Throw out anything and everything, then go back later to see if anything makes sense.
17. Browse The Web:
The internet is the world's largest and most varied library. Sometimes letting yourself be drawn down a path of links and idle searches can take you to a new and fascinating idea.
18. Study History:
History is full of great ideas. What's more, it often contains the processes and the influences behind those great ideas. Tracing the creativity of great minds in the past can help you find new solutions in the present.
19. Never Stop Learning:
Take classes in your spare time, read scholarly articles and listen to lectures. The more you learn, the more opportunities you have to make connections and discover new ideas.
20. Look At Your Own Life:
Think about problems you encounter on a day-to-day basis. What frustrates you, and how could you potentially remove that frustration?
21. Be Creative In Other Ways:
Paint. Write fiction or poetry. Play an instrument. Engaging your artistically creative side can help you find inspiration for creative business ideas.
22. Be The Dumbest Person In The Room:
Do your best to surround yourself with people smarter than you. They will push you to come up with new ideas and help you refine them into practical applications.
Sometimes a lack of inspiration can come from working on too many projects. Cut out extraneous tasks and focus on solving one problem at a time.
24. Tackle Small Problems:
If you can't find a creative solution to a big problem, start by working on smaller problems. Take the hills first, build some momentum, and then you might be ready for the mountains.
25. Keep Pushing:
Anyone can have one good idea. Unfortunately, you need a lot of good ideas to make a business work. The best entrepreneurs relentlessly follow up on their first idea and keep picking away at new problems for as long as it takes.