Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Some Creative Inspiration

This really has nothing to do with my current project, but I thought you people would enjoy a healthy dose of inspiration. My most recent care package that my loving family gave me contained an awesome graphic design magazine (they really do know how to foster my art nerdiness). And although the title of the magazine has escaped me, the inspiration I gained cured a bit of my mental struggles.

And just so you people know, this doesn't just have to apply to art or design, creativity pops up everywhere. I challenge you to try to apply at least on of these suggestions in your life, and see how it changes and inspires you.

1. Everyday Journaling.

One of the best habits to have is to carry a small notebook everywhere you go. When you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down or doodle about it. It can be surprising how many things you begin to notice. Take photos or take notes of interesting things you see, hear, or experience and these captured thoughts an become the seeds for new ideas in the future. An important piece to everyday journaling is to read your notes again in different places and at different times. Revisiting these seeds is an importnat part of the evolution.

2. The Discipline of Curiosity.

We all have a list of things we hate (like...the dentist and Mizzou). The idea is to try to look at those things in a new light. Start with a list of ten things that you hate most and would never consider doing (like wearing a Mizzou shirt). Then write them down why you hate them and force yourself to think about one reason to try them (Black and gold are somewhat appealing colors). This is where curiosity is rekindled. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore new things that you thought you would never try and see how that opens you up to brave new worlds.

3. Practice Problem Framing Improvisation.

Surround yourself with questions. Put them up in your workplace or home office. But they have to be questions that you find interesting. Each day, improve upon them (not the answers, just the questions) and try as many different ways to frame them as possible. In our efforts to solve many different kinds of problems, we tend to apply creativity at the bac end of solutions and often forget that creative framing on the front end is often more critical.

4. Deposit Positive Energy.

The National Academy of Sciences published a report on how positive modds can increase your ability to think creatively. According to Dr. Adam Anderson, senior author of the study, "If you are doing something that requires you to be creative, you want to be in a place with a good modd." This is very true; in my experience I have never met a creative person that is full of negative energy. You need to learn to avoid people that are pessimistic (like Eeyore) that may impair your ability to nurture creative skills.

5. Avoid Creative Brain Drain.

Stop watching mindless TV. If you feel yourself sinking into a state of numb acceptance, where you are not thinking or engaging in what you see, gather the strength to turn it off. Content is key but if it just washed over you, no one benefits. The key is to be aware of and engage in your surroundings, which includes what you watch, read and hear. Creativity can come from anywhere - you just have to be ready for when it sparks.

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