Creativity: How to Unlock Your “Right Brain”

Growth

January 2018
Left vs Right Brain
Image by HealthLine.

Do you ever wonder how your brain works and why you exhibit more of one personality trait than the other? Although it’s only a myth, the idea that certain cognitive processes function more dominantly in the right half of the brain over the left half (and vice versa) is an interesting take on an answer to these questions. According to the myth, right-brained thinkers are more creative and left-brains are more logical. While logic is a very important aspect of decision making and problem-solving, especially in your career, I feel like creativity is sometimes underappreciated. Creativity is a crucial tool for both decision making and problem-solving but even more, creativity is pertinent to express individuality.

So how do you become more creative? 

The following practices are tried and true. Do them regularly to unlock your "right brain." 

How To Be More Creative:

Expose yourself to other creatives and their works:

Read. Listen. Observe. Inspiration is a big part of creativity. In The Metalogicon, John of Salisbury quotes French philosopher Bernard of Chartres’ famous metaphor: “We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” Books, films, music, museums, exhibits, Ted Talks, even nature—all of these are created by great minds, so they are also great resources for the developing creative mind. The more you discover, the more you can grow!

Find your style:

You might also recognize this to mean “find your aesthetic.” What appeals to you? As a photographer do you prefer saturated colors or muted tones? As a painter do you prefer photorealistic portraits or impressionist depictions? Of course, there are tons of creative styles within each realm of creativity. Once you figure out your style you can curate your studies, guide your interests, and put your individual mark on your creations.

Try new things, try everything:

I don’t know if I can say I was born a creative, but I definitely think I was bred to be one. My parents put me in art classes and piano lessons which exposed me to my first taste of the arts. My extended family was very musical and spurred my interest in singing and playing guitar. I’ve always loved fonts and somehow that made me want to try graphic design. Films and books are big parts of my life and the inspiration behind my own storytelling. One of the best ways to be more creative is to try more creative things. Sign up for a painting class, learn how to play an instrument, or write a simple poem. Be open and spontaneous too! Don’t get trapped in doing the same “creative” things. See new places, observe new cultures, study new subjects and let it all inspire you.

Practice problem solving:

After joining the Red Door team I’ve learned that escape rooms are a great way to engage your creativity (among many other benefits) since they challenge you to think differently about solving puzzles. Whether it’s an escape room, jigsaw puzzle, or that riddle your uncle just asked you about—take the opportunity to challenge the creativity of your thinking process. Come up with every possible solution. Open every door.

Keep a list of your ideas and inspirations:

One of the worst things I’ve experienced as a writer is coming up with a great idea only to forget it because I entrusted the thought to my memory rather than a piece of paper. I now keep a list of writing ideas in my Notes app or in a pocket-sized notebook that I keep in my backpack. This list is your space for a free-play of ideas. Anything you think of, any odd dream, even an interesting thing you heard a random person say on the sidewalk—write it down. Every idea on this list could be a seed waiting to grow into something much bigger.

Set time for creativity every day:

Like any other skill, creativity needs to be practiced regularly to flourish and bear fruit. If you’re a writer, write every day. If you’re a musician, make music every day. If you’re an inventor, build every day. It takes daily commitment, so decide: morning, afternoon, or evening? Thirty-minutes or an hour? Then do it!

I don’t believe that any one of us is stuck relying on only one half of our brain at a time. We aren’t Jekyll and Hyde beings. We have the power to strengthen our minds, on all sides. Challenge yourself this week to commit to at least one of these creative practices and see how it affects the way you think imaginatively, innovatively, and differently.

Interested in more about creativity? Subscribe below for an upcoming article about applying and demonstrating your creativity on social media.

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