Fun Changes Boost Creativity

by Barbara Martin

in How to Tips

A few weeks ago I suggested making small changes to your daily life to help your brain practice thinking in new ways. You can open your mind to new thought patterns by purposely setting yourself up to adapt to change. How did you do?

(Here’s the list of suggested mind expanding changes.)

Did it put you off balance? Was it fun? Could you feel your mental agility improve when your creative thinking kicked into gear? I hope you tried it because I’ve had some interesting results.

My Mind Bending Experiment Results; Three Examples

    I made a change to my key ring by adding a toy: a hard-sided mini-business card holder full of tiny cards from Moo. This compact little case slides open sideways to reveal the cards. The hinged lid design is ingenious and utterly unintuitive, like an inside joke. For unknown reasons I ordered it in shall we say “eye-catching” hot pink, which makes me smile and shake my head every time I pick up my keys.

    I might also mention that these cards come in sets so I did not have to limit my choice to one single design. Picking just one out of hundreds of possible designs is too hard! And what if you have second thoughts later?! Normally, I hate the whole selection process and dither and delay. But this civilized option was such a relief. Ten different designs! In a hideous pink case!

Here’s the interesting observation: I find myself far more willing than usual to offer my card.

Is that a more creative thing to do? Probably not, but introducing the aspect of play is totally a creativity enhancement.

    Let’s try another one. I made a small improvement to the interior of my car. I have a plain vanilla basic white Scion xB. Nothing distinguishes my slightly aged goofy milk truck car; I never pimped it out with sound equipment or flashy decals. But it is roomy inside, so in anticipation of possibly driving carpool, I stopped by the car wash. I always decline the “free” air freshener. This time, I snapped up a snazzy purple hang tag.

    After I hung it up locked it in the glove compartment to control the stink scent I discovered that the occasional wafting odor of ersatz lavender reminds me to notice and appreciate riding around in my trusty little car. It brightens my day. How odd.

While I can’t say this has made me more creative in a direct way, I can say being more aware of my surroundings definitely enhances my “well-filling” so I have more to draw on when I do create.

    One more example. Super simple mind game: I moved the salt. If you cook at home often, you probably move your hand automatically to grab the salt to add to a recipe, season food or salt the water to boil pasta. When you are working in a fast paced environment and reach for a frequently used tool and it isn’t there, it is beyond annoying. It drove me nuts.

    But it also made me look around the cabinets with a sharper eye so I noticed some other seasonings I could be using when I made the same-old tried and true dishes. So we moved beyond the typical family dinner rotation into slightly more exotic fare made up on the fly. Some dishes were successful, some less so. But a lot more creative and interesting than the norm, definitely.

I believe there is always spillover from one creative activity to the next, so this is a worthwhile experiment in simple ways to enhance creativity.

Can I say this series of experimental small changes has had a dramatic impact on my life? Probably not, at least not in the short run, but who knows going forward. Big things begin with small steps.

I have laughed at myself more than once since starting the experiment. Have you made any silly little changes? Did you fool around with making changes to small day to day activities?

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