I teach and write about creativity, and often when doing training on creativity, I hear this statement, "I am just not creative." If someone continually says (out loud and to themselves) that they are not creative, it becomes a limiting belief and a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In my opinion, there are two truths about creativity. First, everyone has creativity, and proof of that is you were very creative as a child. Second, as counterintuitive as this may sound, creative people practice creativity as part of their daily habits, which helps them foster and develop even higher levels of creativity.
If you want to be more creative, then make an effort to focus on some of the daily habits of creative people. Here are some simple habits of highly creative people you can practice.
1. Know what stimulates your creativity.
There are activities that stimulate your creativity and creative thinking. What are they? Maybe it is reading articles on sites like this one, going to art museums, or hiking in the mountains.
Activities like watching a particular show on T.V., baking pies, or yoga may light your creative fire.
Here is an important distinction: Activities that stimulate your creativity don't necessarily have to be pursuits like painting or crafts. Creativity and art are not always the same thing.
Start paying attention to what gets your creativity muscles flexing, and do those things every day.
2. Study creativity.
If you want to be more creative, then study creativity and innovation just like you would anything else. I think you can be more creative by reading about creativity in two ways:
First, you can read biographies of creative and innovative people, such as Elon Musk (Tesla) or Richard Branson (Virgin) or Sophia Amoroso (Nasty Gal).
Also, read books about creative thinking and creative thinking techniques, such as Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is the author of many books, her most famous one being Eat, Pray, Love.
Watch TED Talks or TED X videos at Ted.com. You'll find thousands of excellent presentations by world-class experts and many on creativity and innovation.
3. Look at your environment at work and at home.
When you look at your space at work and at home, is it set up visually, physically, and in every other way to stimulate your creativity and thinking? Does it feel creative?
Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, has an office filled with art, toys, guitars, and other items that you would not expect to see in an office setting. It looks like a cross between a museum and an antique toy store.
Think about what you can change to make your space more creative. It doesn't have to be crazy, just creative for you.
4. Be around people who are creative thinkers.
If you are around people who are creative thinkers, you will be more creative yourself.
I have breakfast about once a month with a colleague who is an incredible thinker. We knock ideas back and forth like a game of intellectual ping-pong. I always leave with a few good ideas.
Brian Grazer, the highly successful movie producer, schedules weekly "curiosity conversations" with accomplished people. The meetings stimulate his creative thinking. Try to find groups or individuals you can do that with on a regular basis.
5. Keep an idea journal.
The most famous and successful people throughout history, as well as today, have made it a habit to write down what they're thinking.
Madame Curie, Frida Kahlo, and George Washington Carver all wrote in their journals daily and any time an idea came up, as do Tim Ferriss and George Lucas today.
I call this technique displayed thinking. Writing down your thinking improves the clarity of it and helps generate more ideas. Buy a notebook and use it daily to write down thoughts and ideas.
Try to make these a daily habit--as Twyla Tharp once said: "Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits."