The Calculated Creative

5 Secrets of Creativity

Bypass the silly myth of creative genetics - anyone can nurture their creative spark through simple contrary actions.

Creativity is often seen as some mystical force - a gift bestowed upon a lucky few.

But the reality is that creativity is very much a skill that can be learned and nurtured by anyone.

Here are 5 secrets to unlocking your inner creative genius:

1. Quantity Over Quality

The standard advice is to focus on producing your best, most polished work. Spend hours crafting a masterpiece. However, studies show the most creative people tend to take a volume approach, generating a high quantity of ideas without judgement. They understand that:

  • More ideas means more raw material to work with and more chances for creative breakthroughs. Set daily idea quotas rather than obsessing over a single work.
  • Editing and refinement comes later in the creative process. First comes a prolific flow of concepts.
  • Judgment early on blocks experimental risk-taking. Draft messy and free.

Trying to produce one perfect work often causes creative paralysis. The path to innovation lies in churning out piles of unfinished notions to then build upon.

2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

We're often told creativity lies in mastering our chosen craft or sticking to what we know best. But familiar territory, though safer, limits imagination. To spark new creative connections, you need to step outside comfort zones and explore:

  • Unfamiliar subjects far removed from your expertise that simply intrigue you. Zero experience needed.
  • Places well outside your daily rituals and norms. Changing physical space changes mental space.
  • People very different than you who can expose you to provocative new perspectives.

This discomfort brings discovery. New conceptual collisions manifest breakthrough ideas. Venture from certainty into the unfamiliar.

3. Limit Your Tools

Today's unlimited creative tools, from advanced editing software to the internet itself, can paralyze rather than liberate. Consider instead:

  • Returning to basic tools like pen and paper to trigger unrestrained thinking. No distractions.
  • Artificial digital limits to spark improvisation and new ways of doing things.
  • Strict creative boundaries set around projects to discover rather than just discuss possibilities.

Sometimes better creativity arises from working around restrictions rather than enjoying endless options. Limitations can actually expand, not restrict, creative thinking.

4. Take More Breaks

Long intense bursts of focused work may not always be the most fertile creative times. Studies show ideas often flow more freely when you step away and:

  • Take regular breaks from projects to activate different parts of your brain.
  • Exercise, nap, walk in nature without an agenda - open space for unexpected new connections.
  • Let your mind wander rather than forcing creative effort. Loosening your grip releases, not stops, fresh thinking.

So don't just work relentlessly on one thing. Alternate focus and rest to generate whole new realms.

5. Invite Messiness

We equate creativity just with structure, neat efficiency and order. However, a degree of physical and mental messiness helps spark:

  • Bumping into things from different projects triggers random new associations.
  • Surrounding yourself with unsorted ideas encourages unexpected connections between them
  • Too much organization limits spontaneous breakthroughs

So step out from linear lockstep. Embrace chaos as the potential predecessor to creativity. Leave things unstructured and watch creative magic emerge.


The Takeaway

Bypass the silly myth of creative genetics - anyone can nurture their creative spark through simple contrary actions.

Ignite yours now rather than waiting for inspiration to strike.

Begin playing with ideas, break patterns, reveal the creative secrets.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

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