How Small Changes Increase Creativity

by Barbara Martin

in How to Tips

Ultimately, whether creative ideas are large or small, they are firmly rooted in the details we process through our minds. Every new idea, regardless of scope, begins from a small detail, something that catches our attention and holds us rapt long enough to think outside the immediate. All it takes for this to occur is being able to think from a new perspective and make new connections. Unfortunately, for many of us it’s not an easy thing to do consistently.

New and Exciting Fuels Creativity
We know we get great ideas when we’re on vacation, relaxed and alert and open to experiencing the new. All that newness is engaging and stimulating and keeps our brain firing on all cylinders, while at the same time we are enjoying an out of the ordinary experience, and we are relaxed because we are away from the stress of day to day life. So how can we maintain that level of enjoyable engagement once we get home?

Make Daily Changes to Enhance Creative Capacity
It seems counterintuitive, but making small changes in your day to day existence leads organically to bigger changes in your thinking and in your life. Small changes of habit and in your daily routine keep you mentally agile, gently jolting your mind to stay open to constant change. This open mindedness to small inconsequential details enhances your receptivity to new ideas in general, including those new connections in your brain where creative ideas pop up or percolate through.

Treat Yourself to some Creativity
With a little practice, you can train yourself to be more receptive to those new angles and new perspectives where creativity happens. Basically, you start to change it up with your daily habits and throw yourself off kilter.

Making minor adjustments or adaptations in your daily routine can propel you forward in unexpected directions. This is especially true if they are pleasant or playful changes. In other words, it works better if you have some fun with it. Maybe consider it a way of playing (good spirited) tricks on yourself or messing with your mind in silly but positive little ways.

How to Open Up to Creative Ideas
As you begin to enjoy actively making small day to day changes, your mind begins opening to new possibilities. This receptivity to new ideas is similar to a muscle. As you strengthen your new idea muscle with small steps, its enhanced power will carry over to your other creative endeavors – sometimes in surprising ways!

By interfering with the things you do every day on autopilot and by re-engaging all your senses, you begin to shake up your thinking and force your mind into paying attention. When you pay attention, you also tend to see things from a new perspective and discover new patterns and juxtapose new connections. You build creative muscle and generate mental energy – energy you can use to be more consistently creative.

What could you change to shake yourself up just a little bit and have a little fun? If you need specific concrete examples of what to change, see Easy and Enjoyable Ways to Increase Creative Thinking.


Everything Counts September 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I really appreciate the point that small things can make really big difference. Thanks for the insight.

Barbara Martin September 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Let’s hope we’re right — I just ordered a teensy notebook pc with nine hour battery life for better agility on the road. I guess I must have “small” + “change” on my mind these days.

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