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“If you think of the universe as a vast electrical sea in which you are immersed and from which you are formed, opening to your creativity changes you from something bobbing in that sea to a more fully functioning, more conscious, more cooperative part of that ecosystem.” – Julia Cameron

In a business world where less than 25 percent of people think they’re living up to their creative potential we all have to ask: How do we unlock our inner creativity?

We asked our THINK 16 and Twitter audiences what blocks their creativity. The responses: 18 percent claimed that nothing can block their creative juices; 10 percent laid the blame on executive management; 28 percent gave the responsibility to their work environment. The largest group — 44 percent of survey respondents — answered “Me, myself and I”.

Humans were born to create. Creativity feeds the soul and the body. It’s imperative that we find ways to unblock our creativity. Today, we will focus on how we can unlock our creativity through changing our mindset and thinking. In follow-up posts, we will explore ways to unlock creativity through changes in the work environment and to ensure executive management acts as a partner in crime, not a stumbling block.

When we get too close to the forest of our own work, it’s often challenging to see the trees clearly. That’s when you feel like you are in a creativity slump. No worries. There are some simple strategies for sparking creativity:

  • Read. A lot. At minimum, you should read anything that serves your ability to better serve your members. But you shouldn’t stop at the non-fiction bookshelf. There are various research studies indicating that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to muscle memory in sports. 
  • Disconnect. Completely. The idea of disconnecting from work is enough to send most executives into therapy. However, when you take time to disconnect from work, that’s when the floodgates of creativity open. This includes your connection to electronic devices. Put them on airplane mode and stash them away. There is something very powerful about creating space between our work and ourselves. It almost feels like magic. 
  • Do something routine. Get lost in the activity. Many people find that creative ideas happen when they are engaged in routine activities – like showering, exercising, driving or cleaning. When you hit a creative block, change your activity and try doing something routine. Give your mind a rest and get lost in the activity. Before you know it your thoughts and ideas will start flowing again. 
  • Think long-term. Looooong-term. In 60 years, what is going to be on your tombstone? What are people at your funeral going to say about you? Think long-term about the business impact and message you’re trying to create. Often challenges that seem insurmountable today are little mole hills a few months – or years – later. 
  • Be. Here. Now. Find happiness in the moment you’re in right now. Learn to be happy in the present moment instead of wishing you were somewhere else. “If your presence doesn’t make an impact, then your absence won’t make a difference.”