How to Increase Creativity in 10 Minutes

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Here’s an easy way to increase creativity…

Before asking for help on a problem from your boss, coworkers, or even going to Google;  force yourself to think of 3 possible solutions no matter how off-the-wall they may be.

Practicing this approach will most definitely increase your creativity.

While this lesson has been incredibly helpful to me in my career, I had to learn it the hard way — suffering through a verbal lashing from my boss and having him blow cigarette smoke in face.  It was kind of a Cool Hand Luke experience, just with air conditioning.  Read on to see what I mean.

The Day My Creativity Increased

I’d just gotten hired, and my boss was already sick of me asking for his help.

He was our company wiseman.  People said he knew “where all the bodies were buried” and there was frequently a line of fellow employees waiting outside his office to get his feedback on their own projects.  This line only reinforced my own behavior as the enthusiastic sheep dog nipping at his heels wanting to engage and get my question answered too.

One day I was struggling with another problem that had come across my desk, so I got in line for the 3rd time that day to ask him a question.

When I finally made my way to the front of the line, I walked into the boss’ office. I could tell from his red face that he wasn’t happy I showed up again.  Then he slowly lit a cigarette, which of course wasn’t allowed, but he didn’t care.

He said:

“Fanning, I don’t want you to ever come in here again with a problem unless you’ve thought of 3 potential solutions. I don’t care how crazy they are!”

Then for extra emphasis he blew a big cloud of cigarette smoke right in my face.

I gagged, left the office stunned and humiliated, then watched as the next person walked in with a question.

What a worthless boss (or so I thought). He’s the boss, shouldn’t he have the answers?

Creativity is the Real Job

Until that moment, I’d been working under the assumption that I’d been hired to do as I was told.  But what I learned that day, triggered a deep shift within me.  I discovered that my job was something much different than was written in my job description.

My job was to create. It was to create new opportunities for myself, my boss, and the company. 

If I wasn’t creating, I was just another cog in the wheel.  My rather crotchety boss was trying to send that very message in an unforgettable way.

Even though it was a hard lesson to learn, I felt excited about the new possibility for my job and even my career.

Increasing Your Creativity is Valuable because Creativity is Scarce

Want career longevity?

Want job security?

Want a promotion?

Want a line outside your office?

Want a life way cooler than what you have now?

Increase your creativity. 

The reason that creativity leads to all these benefits is pretty simple….it’s scarce.

You see we’ve got a surplus of people doing as they’re told, protecting the status quo, and doing things like they’ve always done them.  But there’s still plenty of demand for people who can deliver new possibilities.  Often what leads to all of these isn’t having THE answer or THE solution.  It’s just having the creative capability to generate new possibilities.

Creativity and new possibilities are scarce, thus insanely valuable.

What You Can Do to Increase Your Creativity

You can increase your creativity now, and it doesn’t even require enrolling in an art class or joining a drum circle (Although I’m sure those could be helpful).

Start now by focusing your creativity on a small slice of problems plaguing the office or maybe something you’re facing personally.

Next, make a conscious decision to have a little fun with it.  Give yourself permission to generate 3 potential solutions by sitting quietly and letting your mind run wild.  You’ll be amazed at how good you can get at this with a little practice.

Increase Your Creativity in 10 Minutes

All this translates into some real steps you can use to increase your creativity. Try this quick 10 minutes exercise around a challenge you’ve been struggling with.  It’s eloquently called the “Brain Dump”.

  1. Block out 10 minutes on your calendar
  2. Write down one problem you’d like to channel your creativity towards at the top of piece of paper.
  3. Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes
  4. Write like crazy about that problem and any ideas that come to mind for 10 minutes non-stop. When the timer goes off, stop writing.
  5. Pull out 3 nuggets that were generated over those 10 minutes.
  6. Share those creative nuggets with someone else.
  7. See what happens next. Maybe your ideas build on one another.

Back to the Story

When I started forcing myself to think of 3 possible solutions before I brought a problem to my boss, my creativity took off. My boss was a lot happier with me, and after awhile I noticed a line beginning to form outside my cubicle.

It can for you too 🙂

To increasing your creativity!

Ben

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