When you see a male model with a perfect six pack, although you know he was only posing for five seconds for that picture, but he had to stick to a strict diet, he had to run in the morning and do weight training in the afternoon for month, if not years.

Same goes for you as a creative professional. You only need to shine for five seconds a day to come up with a great idea, but that takes hard work from you outside of the working hours. You need to nurture your creativity.

Creativity comes from connecting the seemingly not connected:
The more you are exposed to, the more you can come up with. So, get out there and gather new experiences. Drive your friends car. Cut your hair drastically. Eat Japanese food (doesn’t apply to our friends from Japan). Wear different clothes. Listen to new random music. Make love in the park (check your local regulations first).

Creativity comes from insight that other don’t see:
You need to know your audience and you need to get a different perspective. Chat up with people in the shop while waiting for your girlfriend going through the new collection. Talk to the bus/taxi driver on your way to work. Invite an old friend for dinner. Join a club you thought you will never join.

Creativity is ideas recycled for the new situation:
You need to see what others did to solve similar situations you need to solve daily. Look at magazines, but not just the ones you are used to buy. Get a fishing magazine and a bodybuilding magazine. I can guarantee you will like the ads in there. Look at portis on the net. Watch channels with a language you don’t understand and see if you can figure out the commercials.

This shouldn’t be just a once off exercise. You need to do this every day. Even when you take a vacation. Before booking Cancun for the fourth year in a row, think what would be more creatively stimulating. Go to Russia in the summer. It’s probably most fun and creatively stimulating cities in the world. Go to Mongolia for the opposite, and get a great new perspective on life. Go to Iran for a culture shock.

Whenever you can’t think of a great idea, think of the six pack. Have you done your homework to build your creative muscle?

Here is a related previous post with comments about what inspires people.

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