While we often think of creativity as a natural skill, given only to some, research suggests that, in fact, it can be learned. Creativity and the ability to innovate are like muscles – the more they are used, the stronger they become.

Creativity is multi-faceted. It exists at the level of the brain, personality, and creative process. It can be presented in a variety of ways – from expressing yourself with words, photos, fashion, etc., through the personal experience of discovering a new idea, to creating artistic works.

Brain networks and control processes

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Neuroscientists have found that creativity affects the entire brain and not one side of it, as the right brain myth of creativity suggests. This complex process consists of many interacting elements of cognition and emotions.

One of the most recent essential discoveries in neuroscience is the brain’s “default network” which is active even when not intentionally involved in specific tasks. The default network allows you to create a personal point of view based on your own experiences, imagine other perspectives and scenarios, or reflect on mental and emotional states – yours and others. It shapes our most creative ideas. This network becomes more active as we improve our work.

The default network of brain shapes our most creative ideas

Creative thinking is supported by executive control processes. They allow you to deliberately plan actions, remember to use innovative tactics, follow strategies we have already tried, or reject the most obvious ideas. They also help you to focus your imagination by blocking out external distractions. In this way, they allow you to tune into our inner experiences.

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use” [Steve Jobs]

There are specific habits that stimulate creativity and creative thinking. Everyone can use them, develop them until invention becomes a habit. Unlock your genius! ⬇️

1. Reality is what you imagine

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Inspiration does not appear from nowhere. It comes from you. What you will invest in a creativity machine is an actual product or innovation you will receive. You can create the best job based on the number of visions you put into one idea. Einstein said, “Logic will get you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” So: imagine!

2. Creative risk – quantity breeds
quality

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Creative thinking should be followed by creative doing. The secret to creative greatness seems to be doing things differently, even if it means failure. However, it is precisely the risk that opens up the possibility of real innovation, for which trial and error is essential in the idea generation phase.

The more ideas creators generate, the more likely they end up producing a masterpiece

Creativity researcher, Dean Keith Simonton, found that the quality of creative ideas is a positive function of quantity: the more ideas creators generate, the more likely they are to end up producing a masterpiece. If only one idea out of ten you come up with turns out to be good, it means you should be working on a hundred ideas to come up with ten good ones. It is commonly accepted that there is a trade-off between quantity and quality, but it is quantity that breeds quality. This applies to all creative endeavors.

3. Allow yourself to create badly

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Doing creative work is often described as a process of continual failure until you find THAT. The act of creating anything, regardless of its quality, is the practice of creating something better. Don’t let caution get in the way of your creativity.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often”

Creators – at least the successful ones – always learn not to take failures so personally. Success and self-esteem shouldn’t just depend on victories. “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often” wrote Steven Kotler in a Forbes article on Einstein’s genius. The way to get creative is to produce a lot, and the way to build a lot is to allow yourself to create things of poor quality.

4. Connecting The Dots – what is it?

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

There are many ways to find an idea that’s worthwhile. Steve Jobs said that creativity is simply “connecting the dots”. Thinkers create images by finding a connection between facts. Facts themselves are useless; only by seeing the relationship between them you can create something new.

Creativity comes from seeing the relationship between the known facts

Developing a wide range of skills is a great way to discover the connections of ideas. Enrich your natural gift with skills that complement it. Writers can learn photography, programming designers, and design programmers. Creativity is also creating new connections with old ideas, combining pre-existing ideas in a non-existent way. Creative people actively seek out the best information and images from all places, always researching and trying to find something to combine together. 

5. Creative selection and improvement

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Sifting out things that don’t match is just as important as keeping those that are convicting with each other. Saying no to yourself also means refining your ideas. Initially, let your imagination run wild and create without corrections and design without rules.

At some point, you need to start polishing your vision

However, there comes the point in the creative process when you need to start polishing your vision. Perfecting your creative thinking outcomes and reviewing the parts that don’t match are what create solid work. Moreover, pass your idea somewhere, tell about it, give insight into the possibility of its occurrence beyond your imagination and notes.

6. Patience, consistent creating

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Creativity is not just about the ideas that come to your mind; it is a process. Don’t wait for inspiration that will allow you to think creatively and create ready-made images. Decide what you want to be good at, schedule your activities, and stick to it no matter how difficult the task is. After a period of regular work, something always pops up.

7. Restriction as a catalyst of formation

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

All creations require certain restrictions because artists need structure. Austin Kleon writes: “The best way to get over a creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. […] getting really good at creative work requires a lot of time and attention, and that means cutting a lot of fluff out of your life so that you have that extra time and attention. And two, creativity in our work is often a matter of what we choose to leave out, rather than leave in — what is unspoken vs. spoken, what isn’t shown vs. what is, etc.” Imposing simple limits on yourself leads to a well-designed and useful idea.

8. Mental lists as roadmaps

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Some tend to think lists of mundane tasks to be completed within a given time frame can limit your creative thinking. However, good list-making is about more than simple task management. Creative thinkers use lists as mental roadmaps. It is an excellent way to see all ideas before you get overrun by another wave of creative thought. Designers and illustrators can either make lists of concepts or keep a sketchpad to quickly draw out their ideas. When a new project comes out, it’s easy to get inspired when you have all your creative thoughts written or drawn right in front of you.

9. Funny imaginative play

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

Research shows that hybrid forms of work and play can provide the most beneficial context for creativity. Fun and inner joy are closely related to each other, creating a synergy that naturally leads to more inspiration, effort, and development. Cultivate a child’s sense of play – it will bring pleasure to what you do and revolutionize the way you work and create.

10. Daydreaming

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes

A review of the latest science of dreaming has shown that mind wandering does not have to be thoughtless and can lead to improved creativity. It also brings personal benefits, including creative incubation, self-awareness, planning for the future, reflection on the meaning of your own experiences. When working intensively on a project or task that requires concentration and creativity, it makes sense to take short breaks for simple activities. It can be walking, drawing, cleaning, during which the mind has occasions to wander a bit.

Creativity is the result of how you think. By practicing your creative thinking habits, you can break the barrier of what is achievable.

Introduce short activities that awaken creative thinking into your life, and you will learn what stimulates your creativity. It does not necessarily have to be activities such as painting or crafts. Creativity and art are not always the same.

How to practise creativity every day?

Learn to be creative – use the habits of creative minds – Brain networks and control processes
  • Study creativity and any innovation, just like anything else.
  • Learn something new every day. Take the time between working on projects and getting errands to learn a new skill.
  • Experiment with new techniques for things you are already working on.
  • Think about what you can change to make your space creative. It doesn’t have to be crazy;just what you find creative.
  • Be among creative people. If you are around people who are thinkers, you will become more creative yourself.
  • 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.
  • Make new connections with old ideas.
  • Make lists of things you want to achieve: no corrections, no overthinking, and no believing that something is impossible.

Summary

When an artist lives in a person, regardless of the type of his work, he becomes an inventive, searching, courageous, and self-expressing being. Creativity comes when you try to learn or try something new every day. It will soon become a habit. Have good creative habits, and your mind will be happy.

Sources:

Ten Habits of Highly Creative People | Greater Good Magazine

7 Habits of Highly Creative Minds | Envato Tuts

The 5 Simple Habits of Highly Creative People | Inc.