Have your ideas ever felt stale? Do you keep coming up with the same solution for the same problem? Over and over again? Not working, is it? That’s because how you see a problem reflects your creativity.

What Do You See?

Do you look at a hole in the ground and only see something that needs filling? Or a crack in the wall as something that needs fixing? What about a pencil? Is that something that you can only write with?

But what else could you see? Can a hole in the ground be the future location of a plant? Or can you create a putting green to practice your golf skills? A place you put a sign or a post for a fence? How about using it with your children for shooting marbles?

That crack in the wall could be something that you fix with putty or Spackle. But what if you decided the crack looked like a vine and painted flowers and leaves around it?

And that pencil? Well, I hope you already know that the lead can make zippers run a little smoother. You can also use it as a spindle that holds thread or ribbon rolls. And my father used to decorate cakes with a pencil. He would take a brand new pencil and use the eraser to help him make buttercream roses for cakes. These days, cake decorating tools are ubiquitous but back in the ’60s and ’70s, it was much harder to find the tools he needed, so he improvised.

Practice to Be More Creative

The great thing about creativity is that if you practice, you can increase it. If all you ever do is just keep doing the same thing, then it won’t.

Currently, I’m reading the book Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius by Michael Michalko. One of the suggestions in his book is to shift or change your perspective. One way to do that is to look at a problem from someone else’s point of view. For instance, if you’re a woman, try to look at it from a man’s perspective (or vice-versa.)

You can also try looking at it from a Critic’s point of view or even from a buyer’s point of view. Someone who is far older or far younger than you. Or even from the perspective of someone who loves your project and someone who hates it.

Think about how the other person would interact with your project. What they might love or hate about it. How they might use it. What drew their attention? Was it something positive or something negative? What would make them walk away from your project or what change do they wish to see?

I like these creative practices because it reminds me of brainstorming with colleagues at work. Without this type of actual creative input, I have to create it with my imagination and take on the roles of different people. Have you ever tried a process like this to expand your creativity?

For more ideas on how to change your perspective or how to look at things different, you can check out my other posts that focus on this subject. How to Generate Ideas on Your Own and Use Your Imagination.