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Unleash Your Full Creative Potential: Practical Tips and Exercises

At school, you learn that everything has to go by the book, but when you get into practice, theory turns out not to want a love affair with this practice. Especially as an entrepreneur, you can run into things that you know can't be done, but happen anyway. This requires a high degree of creativity, but how do you learn to do that? This article will give you insights and tips to make the most of your creativity.

The Untapped Potential: A Hidden Treasure

Studies from the Stanford Brain Institute suggest that the average person only utilizes about 2% of their potential. This is evident when we observe the monotony of daily life - a repetitive routine of waking up, going to work, and indulging in mindless activities. Imagine the transformative power if we were to harness even 30 or 40% of our potential. This shift can result in profound improvements in life, sparking creativity, innovation, and accomplishment.

How do People Who are Creative Think and Act?

Of course, you can't lump everyone together. Generalizing is rarely useful, but it can illustrate where someone who doesn't consider themselves very creative has something to gain. What it turns out is that if you look at how people who are very creative think and act, and if you adopt some of that behavior, you become more creative yourself.

This is how generally creative people behave and how they think:

Being open to new experiences: Creative people want to take in new ideas, insights, and perspectives and are open to taking risks. They are also very curious and appreciate art, design, and architecture.

Being passionate and energetic: Many creative people are very energetic from their passion for something. This allows them to work on something for many hours without interruption and even forget about time.

Perseverance and resilience: If you are creative and innovative, you will also encounter setbacks. Sometimes something does not succeed all at once. Creatives often have the personality to persevere where others give up and not be thrown off guard by what fails.

Can daydream and fantasize: Particularly creative people are very good at daydreaming and letting their imagination run wild. This enables them to discover things that cannot be found with reason.

Not thinking and living according to the norm: The norm is something many creatives are averse to. Instead, they want to live and think outside the box. Doing things differently because they can be done differently gives them inspiration.

Using intuition: Intuition can make connections between patterns that at first sight seem unrelated and creatives often use their intuition.

Being sensitive and being able to get to your feelings: While sensitivity can also be negative, creatives are very good at getting to their feelings and thus incorporating sentiment into their creation. This often makes their work authentic and inspiring.

Below, I elaborate on each of the above topics and give tips on what you could undertake if you are struggling to maximize your creativity.

Be open to new experiences:

Creative people look for inspiration everywhere and all the time. They succeed by going off the beaten track. They are open to the unknown and actively seek it out by doing what they have never done before. They constantly ask questions and engage precisely with people who think differently.

Their hunger for new information and impressions seems unquenchable and they are open to experimenting with anything and everything. Just to experience what it feels like. Often, this also makes them wander, as experiencing new cultures, countries, and cities gives them inspiration to come up with new creations or solutions.

How can you learn to be open to new experiences?

If you find that you yourself are not so open to new experiences, here are 5 tips you can try:

Try something new:

This can be as simple and small as trying a new kind of food, visiting a new place, or learning a new skill. By actively seeking out new experiences, you can increase your ability to be open to the unknown.

Practice curiosity:

Ask questions, investigate things that don't interest you specifically, and try to adopt a mindset of an 'eternal student'. By developing your natural curiosity, you can increase your openness to new ideas and experiences.

Learn from others:

Everyone has unique experiences and perspectives to share. By being open to the ideas and experiences of others, you can expand your own worldview and increase your openness to experience.

Challenge yourself:

Try doing things that are outside your comfort zone. This may be uncomfortable at first, but it can help you become more comfortable with the unknown and increase your openness to experience.

Reflect on your experiences:

Take time to reflect on your experiences and what you learned from them. This can help you generate new insights and ideas and increase your openness to experience.

Be passionate and energetic:

Creative people can be very passionate about something. You can tell by how they talk about something or how they act. That passion makes them dedicated and can put them in a state of 'flow' that allows them to forget about everything and everyone around them when they create something.

That passion and state of 'flow' also ensures that when something fails or is against them, they continue tirelessly until they find a solution. They see setbacks and obstacles as natural things you encounter when you create.

How can you learn to be passionate and energetic?

If you find that you are not so energetic or passionate yourself, here are 5 tips you can try:

Figure out what really interests you:

Sometimes a lack of energy and passion can come from working on things that don't really interest you. Try to find out what really motivates and excites you, and focus your energy on that.

Set clear goals:

Having a clear goal can help increase your energy and passion. When you know what you want to achieve, it can be easier to find the energy and motivation to get to work.

Take care of yourself:

It is difficult to be energetic and passionate when you are exhausted or stressed. Make sure you get enough rest and relaxation, eat healthy, and get enough exercise.

Practice mindfulness:

By being consciously and fully present in the present moment, you can increase your energy and passion for what you do.

Seek support and inspiration:

Sometimes talking to others who share the same passions, or looking for inspiration in books, art, nature, etc, can help increase your own energy and passion.

Perseverance and resilience:

Creativity is often a process of trial and error. It may take many attempts and failures to arrive at an innovative idea or a successful final product. Creative people have the ability to keep trying until they succeed.

The famous inventor Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed, I have invented 10,000 ways how something does not work."

How can you learn perseverance and resilience?

If you find that you struggle with perseverance, here are 5 tips you can try:

Set realistic goals:

Setting achievable goals can help you stay motivated and persevere even when you face challenges.

See failure as a learning opportunity:

Try to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a sign of incompetence. This can help you persevere even when things don't go the way you had hoped.

Build a support network:

Surround yourself with people who encourage you and support you in your efforts. Their encouragement can help you keep going even when you encounter obstacles.

Take good care of yourself:

It is hard to persevere when you are exhausted or stressed. Make sure you get enough rest, eat healthy, and take time to relax and recharge yourself.

Celebrate small victories:

Sometimes celebrating small successes along the way can help you stay motivated and persevere. Even small steps forward are a sign of progress.

Being able to daydream and fantasize:

Daydreaming and fantasizing is a resource that gives you the freedom to think outside the box. It also helps you come up with original ideas without judgment that may not be realistic at first but can inspire something that can work.

Daydreaming and fantasizing allow you to become detached from reality for a while, allowing new angles to be explored.

How can you learn to daydream and fantasize?

If you find that you struggle with daydreaming or fantasizing, here are 5 tips you can try:

Make time for reflection:

Try to make time in your schedule for silence and reflection. This could be in the form of meditation, a walk in nature, or just sitting quietly with your thoughts.

Practice mindfulness:

Mindfulness can help you be more attuned to your inner thoughts and feelings. It can also help you focus your attention on the present moment, which can contribute to a rich inner experience.

Create a harmonious environment:

Provide an environment that invites daydreaming and reflection. This can be a quiet, comfortable space with minimal distractions.

Keep a journal:

Writing in a journal can help you explore your thoughts and ideas. It can also provide a safe space to daydream and fantasize without judgment.

Stimulate your imagination:

Read books, look at art, listen to music, or participate in other activities that stimulate your imagination.

Don't think and live by the norm:

Creative people are often averse to the status quo because it is a way of thinking and acting that has already been figured out. They like to challenge this status quo and do things their own way to discover what else is out there. That allows something to emerge that wasn't already there.

So they don't just want to do something different because they can but have a higher purpose in doing so.

How can you learn not to think and live according to the norm?

If you find yourself struggling to not think and live according to the norm, here are 5 tips you can try:

Value your individuality:

Learn to value your unique characteristics and perspectives. Understand that it is okay to be different and that your differences can help you make unique and valuable contributions.

Take risks:

Be willing to take risks and try things you have never done before. This can help you step out of your comfort zone and boost your self-confidence.

Find like-minded people:

Surround yourself with people who appreciate and encourage your individuality. This can help you feel more comfortable with being different.

Research and learn:

Study people and cultures that are different from yours. This can help you broaden your horizons and deepen your understanding of different ways of thinking and living.

Practice self-expression:

Find ways to express yourself, whether through art, writing, speaking, clothing, or anything else that reflects your passion.

Use your intuition:

Intuition drives many of a creative's creations. By using their intuition, creatives can see patterns that were not visible at first glance and make connections that others did not see.

Creatives often push boundaries by daring to trust their intuition and try out things that are sometimes very illogical to others. But then sometimes it turns out to work anyway and in retrospect, it actually turned out to be very logical.

How can you learn to use your intuition?

If you find yourself struggling to use your intuition, here are 5 tips you can try:

Practice mindfulness:

By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to be more attuned to your inner experiences, including your intuitive feelings.

Learn to trust your feelings:

Try paying attention to your gut feelings in different situations. How do they feel? What are they telling you? With time, you can learn to recognize and trust these feelings.

Take time to reflect:

Give yourself time and space to reflect on your ideas and feelings. This can help you develop and refine your intuition.

Test your intuition:

Try testing your intuition. For example, you could try relying on your intuition when making small decisions. Like what you want to eat for dinner or which route to take to work.

Learn from mistakes:

Remember that it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and refine your intuition.

Be sensitive and be able to get to your feelings:

Creative people are generally sensitive and can get to their feelings well. This allows them to be involved in an issue or problem on a deeper level and gives them the inspiration to keep creating. Even if something does not succeed immediately, they will keep trying.

Using your own emotions as a source of inspiration can make you go that extra mile to create something that wasn't there before. The downside, however, is that this sensitivity can also lead to stress because the emotions can also become negative.

How can you learn to be sensitive and get to your feelings?

If you yourself are struggling to be sensitive and get to your feelings, here are 5 tips you can try:

Develop coping mechanisms:

Learn techniques to deal with stress and negative emotions, such as meditation, breathing exercises, exercise, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist.

Create a harmonious environment:

Make sure your environment supports your creativity and does not contribute to unnecessary stress or distractions.

Get to know your limits:

Get to know your limits and respect them. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break or take some time for yourself.

Take good care of yourself:

Make sure you eat well, get enough rest, and exercise regularly. This can help you feel physically and emotionally healthy and handle stress better.

Use your sensitivity in your work:

Don't see your sensitivity as a shortcoming but as a strength. Use it in your work to make deeper and more emotionally charged creations.

Can everyone become more creative?

By adjusting your thinking style and behavior, anyone can become more creative. Especially if you follow the tips above, and if you do, you will find that you will experience even more benefits than creativity. Here are some of the results you can expect:

More innovation: By working on developing traits often associated with creative people, such as openness to experiences, perseverance, daydreaming, non-conformity, intuition, sensitivity, and complexity, you will improve your ability to generate unique and innovative ideas.

Better stress management: By learning coping mechanisms and self-care strategies, you can better cope with the challenges that often accompany the creative process, such as stress and negative emotions.

Greater self-awareness and self-acceptance: By spending time on self-reflection and developing self-awareness, you will develop a better understanding and acceptance of yourself.

Improved relationships with others: By learning to value and express your individuality, and by seeking support from others, you will build better relationships with those around you.

Greater job satisfaction and success: By embracing and developing their creativity, you will find greater job satisfaction and be more successful in your creative endeavors.

Of course, you won't notice the above benefits overnight. It is a matter of persistence and then the results will follow naturally.

What else can you do to boost your creativity?

There are several ways you can seek help to further develop and improve your creativity. Here are some options:

Follow creative workshops and courses: These can be an excellent way to learn new techniques and get inspiration and feedback from others. They can also help you form a community of like-minded people who also want to improve their creativity.

Read books and online resources: There are countless books, websites, blogs, and online courses that offer tips, advice, and exercises to boost creativity. These can be gone through at your own pace and offer flexibility.

Go networking and embrace a mentor or coach: Getting in touch with other creative individuals or finding a mentor or coach can be hugely helpful. They can offer insight, advice, and support, and can also serve as inspiration.

Attend creative retreats: These offer dedicated time and space to focus on creativity, often in an inspiring and supportive environment.

Seek professional help: A psychologist or therapist can help develop self-awareness, manage stress, navigate complex emotions, and build self-confidence. A career counselor or coach can also be helpful, especially if someone is struggling to apply their creativity in their professional life.

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