There will be times in your career when you'll be challenged to come up with creative solutions to a problem. With competition growing fierce in virtually every economic sector, and everyone using similar business paradigms to solve problems, creative solutions are increasingly prized.
Our reliance on computers, formulas and business models has put many companies in a “me-too” status of conformity, one that hamstrings progress and unconventional “break-away” approaches. Thus the need for creative solutions, solutions that often result in new cost-saving strategies that sidestep traditional obstacles.
The point is, you don’t have to be in advertising or in entertainment to come up with creative solutions to problems. Any field can benefit from a unique approach. Apple, for example, literally re-invented itself several times over when it began creatively positioning computers as not only functional devices but as home office accessories—using bold colors and materials, instead of the stodgy business grey everyone else was selling.
If you're not used to tapping into your creative side, you'll have to dig deep into your right brain. Some tips to help you do just that:
Get Out of Your Rut. Change your physical surroundings; go to a park, a lake, or the roof and open your horizons. Sometimes, staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen can trap your brain and not let it “breathe.”
Tap Into Your Waking Brain. Keep a voice recorder next to your nightstand. The first few minutes after waking from a deep sleep can be some of your most creative. Your brain is rapidly opening up and is unshackled by everyday constraints and burdens. Your mind is most creative at this point. But these moments are fleeting; so get those ideas on your voice recorder before they leap out of your mind.
Explore. Expose your mind to something entirely new and disconnected from work. Do this 10 minutes a day. Before work, at lunch or after dinner. The next day should be more creative.
Play in the “Sandbox.” Exercise your right brain. It's the pre-rational, artistic and intuitive part of your brain. You can do that by going to the theater, a museum, nature walks, even a comedy club.
Meditate. Whether it's yoga or other meditative practice, use it to shut out the world and delve deep into your mind. Clear it of obstructions and blockages. Bring your mind to focus on the challenge.
So put away the rule book, the guidelines and formulas everyone else is following. Break away from the tedium of conformity. Tap into that lightbulb above your head. You may be surprised by what comes out of those little grey cells.
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