September 1, 2010

5 Ways You Can Boost Your Creativity & Find Your Passion

Every one of us has the ability to creatively solve a problem or learn a new craft.  We can come up with all sorts of ways to make something better or more productive. Like any other skill, creativity can be developed. Here are 5 ways to feed your creative spirit and supercharge your internal idea machine. You may discover a new passion that gives you the spark you have been seeking.

1. Stretch Your Horizons. Stimulate your mind by doing things out of your comfort zone. Go to a museum you usually avoid. Listen to a type of music that normally isn't’t on your Ipod. Visit web sites that present a point of view you don’t agree with. Pick up a magazine that covers a subject you are unfamiliar with. Stepping outside your usual behavior will energize your thought process.

2. Expand Social Interactions. Leave the computer or Blackberry for a while and go meet real people. The skills required to engage in small talk force you to think more deeply, listen more intently, and consider your response more thoroughly. People are highly unpredictable and often full of ideas you don’t have. Tap into that flow and see where it may take you.

3. Visit Web Sites Designed To Provoke. Places like TED or Open Culture offer hundreds of free video and audio lectures specifically designed to make you think. Virtually every topic you can name is covered. Even better, choose a subject you don’t understand very well. Invest a little time and maybe discover a new passion. If you missed it, click here to read an earlier post I wrote on this subject.

4. Keep A Journal. Not a boring “here’s what I did today” recap. How about three things you are thankful for today in your Gratitude Journal. Make note of new software or computing tricks you’d like to try in a Techno Journal. A Nature Journal forces you to notice things around you in a new way. A sketchbook of things you see and draw works well. Adding to a journal on a regular basis works your mind. You may discover something about yourself you didn’t know. More Journal ideas here.

5. Use Everything Libraries Have To Offer. Most libraries now have e-books and videos you download right to your home computer, no Kindle required. CDs provide different music choices. DVDs make art or foreign films come alive for free. Try wandering the stacks until you find a topic you know nothing about. Pick a few books, take them home, and see what develops. Creativity comes when exposed to new ideas. Discovering a new passion may be the end result.

When you learn something new, or tackle a difficult problem, you feel alive. What you are feeling is the power of creativity.

How do you stoke your creative fires?  What are you doing to stay excited and engaged? Are you looking for something to give you that "I can't wait to get out of bed this morning"  feeling? Please leave a comment and share.


  1. It is too bad some of our libraries are shutting down because of the economy. I didn't know about the books you can get right to your computer. Would it matter if they are closed?

  2. I know what you mean about libraries closing up. The one near me isn't open on Fridays anymore. It takes more planning.

    No, the library does not need to be open. That is the great thing about downloadable library books. 24/7 you can get a book that might interest you.

    Just like a printed book, at the end of the borrowing period (3 weeks in my case) you are unable to open the file anymore. But, you can renew it if you need to.

    Good luck, and thanks for visiting the blog.

  3. Bob, great post. I really enjoyed it. #4 Keep a Journal. I've journaling for 15 years and love it. Have you ever heard of the Five Year Journal? That's what I use. It's sold at Changing Hands Bookstore.
    Great content!
    Thanks, Suzanne

  4. I have kept journals on and off for years. Truthfully, I always ran out of steam so I have a dozen partially-filled composition books.

    I am finding that blogging is filling much of the same need. The desire to write something everyday and to connect with other like-minded people has become very important.

    I have not heard of the 5 year Journal but love the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. Next time I'm there I'll check it out.

    Maybe I should keep a journal of my blogging experiences!

    Thanks, Suzanne for the supportive comments.

  5. Bob -- Excellent and interesting post, per usual. Speaking of books, I read 50 last year, which was part of my doing 50 things involving the number 50 for my 50th birthday (the most inspiring of which was a 50 hour silent retreat). In case other readers don't know this, many libraries participate in an inter-library loan system where they will get books from other libraries across the region, have them sent to our local library, then send me an email when they are in. This makes even the obscure titles available. Enjoy.

  6. 50 different things involving the number 50 for your 50th year...what a fabulous idea. Next May I start my 62nd year. I may have to "borrow" your idea.

    Thanks for pointing out the inter-library loan program. It is a tremendous tool to help get virtually any printed material regardless of where it may be housed.

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments and support of this blog.

  7. Thanks, I am sure, to the influence of Gran, Dad would constantly take Andrea and I to the library. I still borrow items from there all the time.

    They're a great underutilized resource, and I'm not sure why; you are paying for them anyway!

    I think her influence is strongly felt in your second point as well, as she likes to talk about how she and her brother would have to talk for an hour at the dinner table about their day.

  8. This sounds suspiciously like my nephew! I certainly will support his comments. His Gran, my mother, came from a family of librarians. She taught me, and my bothers, the value and tremendous resources available at the library.

    The second point Darren makes is interesting. My mom's family would spend one hour at the dinner table every night sharing a meal and conversation. The two children were expected to take part in the conversations for the full hour. This taught them social interaction skills, to be thinkers, and to be aware of what was going on in the world.

    I had forgotten about the dinner time rule, but that would be a great one to see make a comeback. Unfortunately, it is unusual for most families to even dine together every night, much less spend an hour together. Maybe we could aim for once or twice a month!

    Darren, thanks for your comments and participation. And, congrats on your recent wedding!


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