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7 Ways to Cultivate Your Creativity [Slide Show]

How to unlock your untapped ingenuity

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Difficult Choices:

To improve your ability to make decisions and weed out alternatives, try this exercise. You will need a pen or pencil, two pieces of paper and a timer. On one sheet of paper, list your 10 favorite books, all of which should be meaningful to you.....[ More ]

Evaluate Brainset:

Eventually, you need to critique your progress, judging the ideas and products you have created to be sure they are well suited to the purpose you had in mind and are likely to be effective. Impersonally examine your work and reject what you don't want, leaving the best possible solution.....[ More ]

Battling Boredom:

One critical condition for achieving flow is motivation. To motivate yourself, find a task that is the right level of difficulty. A job that is too hard will frustrate and worry you; a very simple chore will lead to boredom.....[ More ]

Stream Brainset:

In this mind-set, you achieve what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a state of "flow" in which you are completely absorbed in the creative process—whether you are sketching a blueprint for a device, constructing a collage, solving a mathematical conundrum or writing a piece of music.....[ More ]

Emotional Rescue:

You can use your bad moods to inspire music or art, writing, decorating, dancing and even creative cooking. You don't need training or talent; conveying emotions is powerful, no matter your expertise.....[ More ]

Transform Brainset:

Strong emotions and vulnerability can motivate us to express our ideas. Instead of trying to escape from a bad mood, explore it by thinking about what you are feeling and why. Many creative people have used negative emotions such as anxiety, depression and hurt as subject matter for works of art in which they share their inner experiences.....[ More ]

What if?:

To hone your mind's eye in a way that helps you imagine hypotheticals, try this activity. First, set a stopwatch or timer for five minutes. Next, pick an article from a local newspaper and change one key aspect of the story in a "What if?" scenario.....[ More ]

Envision Brainset:

Think visually. Imagine objects and manipulate them in your mind's eye to see new patterns and similarities between disparate concepts. To enhance your ability to imagine things, try this exercise:  Stand a few feet away from an object in your surroundings.....[ More ]

Thought-Stoppers:

To be able to think logically, you may also need to train your brain to block out thoughts that are upsetting or distracting. You can do this by writing "thought-stopping" commands on a three-by-five index card.....[ More ]

Reason Brainset:

You can also solve a problem by manipulating information in your working memory, a type of short-term memory that functions as a mental sketch pad. People perform this conscious mental gymnastic whenever they are setting a goal, devising a plan, making a decision or just thinking about something.....[ More ]

Novel Solutions:

To improve your ability to mentally connect the dots, try this activity. Get a stopwatch or timer, three pieces of paper and a pencil or pen. Set the timer for three minutes and then write down all the uses for a soup can that you can imagine.....[ More ]

Connect Brainset:

Here, you relax your focus so that you can see the connections between very different types of objects or concepts. This process of so-called divergent thinking helps you generate multiple solutions to a problem rather than just one.....[ More ]

A Certain Slant of Light:

To become more aware of your environment and enhance your ability to perceive the world around you, try this exercise. First find a stopwatch or a timer of some kind, and set it for five minutes. Wherever you are, try to take in the sights, sounds and other sensations around you.....[ More ]

Absorb Brainset:

In this state of mind you are taking in reams of information from your surroundings uncritically. Paying attention to disparate sights, sounds and smells is useful while you are incubating an idea and gathering data.....[ More ]

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