Fostering Creativity for Yourself

by David Clark

No matter how you look at it, creativity is a discipline. It requires being intentional.

But, what if you are trying to be creative in a not-so-creative space? What if you’re the lone creative, surrounded by people who aren’t so creative? How then can you be creative in an uncreative environment?

1. Start taking more risks.

This one is hard for me to include right off the bat because I am not a risk-taker by nature, so it feels a little hypocritical. But I believe in its value.

Risk-taking is not required for our creative juices to flow, but it certainly helps to foster new ideas and new thinking — Which can lead to new heights of creativity.

What kinds of risks?

That’s subjective. Try that new software you’ve been afraid to learn. Put a little extra cash towards that new piece of gear. Set up a meeting with that client you think is out of your reach. Go on a drive with no end goal. Try rock climbing for the first time. Do something that requires an element of risk to push you outside of your own creative limits and into new realms of possibility.

2. Learn to find creative inspiration outside of your workplace

Often WHERE we work can be a real creativity-killer.

Whether it’s the space itself, or the people in it—If your workplace isn’t conducive to your own personal creativity, you need to do something about it. Ask your boss if you can take an afternoon or two a week and work out of a local coffee shop. Go sit outside for a few hours and create. Take a walk around the building if you need a minute. Consider redecorating your office or cubicle with some calming colors or warm lighting. Listen to good music when you can. Remind yourself: It’s okay if your workplace isn’t very creative. Sometimes that is out of our control. But don’t let the space itself or the people in the space suck the life out of your creativity.

3. Don’t rely on others to fuel your creativity

Collaboration is often key to great creative endeavors. Sometimes it’s forced collaboration, and other times it’s collaboration we choose.

Regardless, when it comes to our work, collaborating with others is usually a necessary component to create something great. Just don’t become too reliant on it. What happens if those people leave? What if they’re sick, or they get fired, or maybe they’re just not pulling their weight on a project? You still have a job to do. You still need to bring your creative best. It’s a fine line. Learn to work well with others. Just don’t let it become something you need in order to be creative.

4. Find what works for you, and keep doing it\

Everyone reading this is coming at creativity from a different perspective. We’re never going to be able to do the same thing and find that to be successful in each of our unique situations. The important thing is to find what works for you, and to keep doing it. When are you at your creative best? Where are you at your creative best? How do you like to work? Ask yourself these questions often, and do what you can to make that happen for yourself. The truth is, we’re never going to be in a perfect creative environment.

Closing Thoughts

There will always be obstacles to our creativity. The important thing is that we continue to identify what we need to be our best, and seek that out consistently so that we can be our fully creative selves.