Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

How to be more creative

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

How do the most creative people around the world trigger creativity? In a Clubhouse chat, I met some of the most creative people who shared their secrets.

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Must Meet My Muse

In Greek mythology there was not one “Muse” but nine. Literature, art, history and science all belonged to these nine muses. The muse was said to ignite creativity. When faced with the dreaded “writer’s block”, the writers wait for the Muse to show up.

In Indian mythology Saraswati is the goddess of learning, music, writing etc. She is depicted as having eight arms in which she holds a bell, trident, ploughshare, conch, pestle, discus, bow and arrow. So every profession needs creativity. Without a muse there is no creation. What do the most creative people do to invite the muse?

Two Phases of Creative Work

Creative people are often envied but rarely understood. Few people believe that creativity is a muscle that can be built with very simple methods. Here are a few:

Anyone can be creative on one particular day. The real challenge is to have creativity-on-demand.

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Phase 1: Ideation

This is the foundational piece of creativity when the brain gets exposed to unfamiliar worlds. The best way to do it is to expose oneself to different subjects, opinions and people from diverse backgrounds. Bill Gates took a think week even as he ran Microsoft when he spent 18 hours a day reading about books and ideas. Read about it

It is all about gathering inputs, experimenting and networking. It is about being a beginner. That means being comfortable as we wobble like a novice – unsure and awkward. Read: Wobbling is your superpower

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Here are some triggers that I heard about in a Clubhouse chat*

  1. Read speciality magazines from multiple disciplines
  2. Four places that help you understand an unfamiliar society: hospitals, schools, cemetery, supermarket
  3. An artist lived out of two suitcases in a different place every other day for ten years. “It made me comfortable with uncertainty.”
  4. Author Lu Ann Cahn did something new every day for a year. (She wrote about it in a book called I Dare Me)
  5. Innovation is often about breaking constraints. Ask a 8-10 year old how to solve the problem you are grappling with. They will find a new way to do it. They do not understand constraints yet.
  6. Figure out new ways to do routine chores. Make your morning coffee in new ways every day.
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Phase 2: Execution

This is the secret element of being creative. Most people only see artists in the first phase of creativity ie ideation. In the second phase of execution, creative people are out of sight. This is the phase when one has to work undisturbed.

  1. Develop extreme routines. Mark Twain wrote primarily while lying down in bed.
  2. In her twenties, Virginia Woolf spent two and a half hours every morning writing, on a three-and-half-foot tall desk with an angled top that allowed her to look at her work both up-close and from afar. Read more

“When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.” – Haruki Murakami

  1. Walking and running seems to trigger the quiet space needed to build connections between unconnected ideas. Many creative people believe that the pace of walking or running impacts the quality of ideas that flow when they write. The writer Murakami wrote a book about it called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running 
  2. You write every day and wait for the muse to show up. That needs extreme routine – not talent.

What works for me may not work for you. While unshackling your mind from familiar silos needs openness to the unfamiliar, the second phase of creativity is what turns the idea into reality. There are lots of books and articles inside each one of us. We all have our stories to tell. Don’t wait.

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri’s LinkedIn

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