The first step to greater creativity is believing that you are creative and you can become more creative. Many people have had their creativity beaten out of them. Schools and workplaces rarely reward creativity because creative people are disruptive in the classroom and often fail because they are trying something new. Creativity is attacked on two levels: the imagination and the actual creation. If you think you have no imagination, read on to improve your imagination.
One Little Spark
Dreamers aren’t particularly well-loved in America. They are told to get their heads out of the clouds and keep their feet on the ground. When a child makes up a story, he or she is often told, “My what an imagination you have,” and it’s rarely said in an endearing way. It’s as if the adult hearing the story is fearful of what the child is creating. However, without imagination there can be no creativity or innovation. If people have tried to tamp down your imagination, you just need to think back to childhood to find the times when you imagined something, anything. Use those times to motivate your move to greater creativity.
Hot Lava Monster
One game we played as kids we called “Hot Lava Monster.” Maybe you had another name for it. The outdoor version would take place on a warm spring or hot summer day. All of the kids would climb onto the playground equipment and the tanbark (or barkdust) would become hot lava. If someone fell off the equipment, they became the hot lava monster and could turn the other kids into hot lava monsters, too.
Of course, someone would always “fall” off the equipment, usually in a way that was loud and long. “I’m slipping! I’m slipping! Heeeellllp!” Down they would go into the lava to become the monster. They would chase the other kids on the equipment until everyone was a monster.
We’d usually play the indoor version on the furniture with the floor being the hot lava. We could only play this version when the parents weren’t at home, and it could include using throw pillows as stepping stones to the safety of the kitchen or bathroom. Generally speaking, the fun in this game was climbing on the furniture, so no one really wanted to become the hot lava monster. What did you call your version?
Improve Your Imagination
So, how do you improve your imagination? The same way you would improve any skill – use it. Reading books, especially fiction, is a great way to start. The words will help you create pictures in your head; that’s your imagination at work. Keep a dream journal. By writing down your dreams, you tell your mind that the stories it creates are important. Look at the clouds, what shapes do you see. Your answer should be something other than cloud unless your trying to do some sort of inception thing; it’s a cloud in the shape of not a cloud that looks like a cloud. Start with these exercises and sign up for our blog notifications.
If you want more ideas to improve your imagination and creativity, join our Patreon. We’ll build a program together that will help you become more creative. If you want more on creativity, check out “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” for research-backed principles, and “Penguinate! Positive Creativity” and “Penguinate! The Disney Company” for stories, essays and exercises.