Being able to think outside the box is a learnable skill. You just have to be willing to try new things. Here are six ways to stimulate creative thinking.
- Consume content that’s way outside your comfort zone.
We all love reading about stuff in our industry, but typically this doesn’t boost creativity. If you’re lucky, it might help with motivation or inspiration. If you want to get your creative juices flowing, start consuming content you wouldn’t normally consume. Read blogs outside of your industry. Read books outside of your normal genre of choice. Heck, grab lunch with a complete stranger (just make sure they’re not a bad stranger).
- Write a 500 word article with no topic whatsoever.
This is a fun exercise to use when you can’t get thoughts focused or come up with interesting ideas. Open a blank document and just start typing. No headline, no topic, no editing, and most importantly no self-critiquing. Just let your fingers start typing and let your brain decide what words get written next.
- Eat differently.
There are studies upon studies that discuss how our diet affects the way we think. Want to start thinking differently? Start giving your body different (and healthier) fuel. You’d be shocked how much more creatively you can think and act when you eat a healthier diet.
- Do the “No Bad Ideas Brainstorming” exercise.
Get at least one other person to join you for a 45-60 minute brainstorming session. No technology and no criticism whatsoever. Bring a topic or idea you want to brainstorm to the table, and just start riffing on it back and forth. Write down all your ideas (on actual paper) and don’t critique a single idea. It’s important to do this in person and to make absolutely sure you don’t have any negative energy or feedback throughout the process. You may end up with 100 horrible ideas, but we bet you’ll have one or two good ones. Plus, you’ll get better at this the more you do it.
You don’t have to be a creative thinker to be able to think outside the box, you just need to do more stuff that stimulates creative thinking. Even the most creative people need help getting inspired.