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Many people believe that creativity is a trait that some are simply born with and others are unable to learn. And while some individuals certainly appear more creative than others, research shows that it is, in fact, a trait that everyone has within them. Rather than being an innate quality, creativity can simply be learned and harnessed like many other skills.

As explained in Business News Daily, the ability “to look at problems from different angles, to connect and combine concepts, and [..] to challenge traditional assumptions” are at the heart of creativity. As such, at its core, you could argue that creativity is simply a form of problem-solving. This is why many jobs are far more creative than they first seem.

One example is the legal profession. Lawyers need to be creative when making arguments on behalf of their clients. Then they apply case law to back up their reasoning.

Another unexpectedly creative job is as a translator. Texts cannot simply be translated word-for-word to convey their full effect. The translator must also consider cultural differences in order to come up with something that conveys the spirit of the original. “Ultimately, it’s a skill which requires a great deal of problem-solving, particularly when it comes to determining how much social context should inform their work,” translation agency Global Voices explains.

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As such, creativity can be hugely beneficial to most jobs and businesses. This is why it’s always worth trying to develop this skill further in one way or another. If you’re looking to stimulate your own creative side, here are three tips for getting started.

1. Exercise Your Creativity

Creativity doesn’t just emerge from some magical section of the brain. It’s ultimately developed using the same tools used for other cognitive tasks, but applying them in specific ways. The more you engage in these kinds of activities, the more creative you’ll become. Think of it like exercising your creativity like a muscle. As Canadian psychologist Donald O. Hebb famously said: “Cells that fire together, wire together.” Practicing will make the connections between the relevant brain cells stronger, so you’ll become more creative.

To achieve this, it’s key that you make time to be actively creative. This typically means getting away from your phone and laptop. When you do, let your mind wander. This will help unlock your imaginative side.

Try to avoid bringing devices to bed or to the bathroom, and switch off notifications for social media and email apps. It’s also good to dedicate a specific period of time to creative thinking, like when you first wake up or during your lunch break. Try activities such as mind mapping or storyboarding your ideas. Even a simple stroll can improve brain function and boost your creativity.

2. Switch up Your Surroundings for More Creativity

Another easy way of getting inspired is to change your surroundings. Just going somewhere with a different color scheme can give your brain the added stimulation it needs. For example, green has been specifically proven to encourage creativity.

Other factors like lighting, tidiness, and the presence of plants can also bolster brainpower. In fact, the detoxifying effects of plants can improve creativity by 15%, while good lighting can increase alertness, mood, and productivity.

Your setting doesn’t just relate to your physical surroundings either. Who you’re with can also have a huge impact on your creativity. Sometimes shifting to a busier environment can get your creative juices flowing, and talking to others may give you the spark of inspiration you need. So, instead of sticking to the same work spot in your office, you could be better off spending more time in communal areas, sharing ideas with your colleagues.

3. Never Stop Learning

When was the last time you learned about a completely random topic, like why seasons changed or how feudalism operated? Well, if creativity is what you want, now could be the perfect time to do your research. Absorbing unfamiliar topics and broadening the horizons of your knowledge can help you think more expansively. After all, in some way, every new idea stems from what we already know.

Consider taking a course in something you know nothing about. (Sites like Future Learn, Open Learn, and Alison are great places to do this.) Alternatively, dive down an Internet rabbit hole about a particular subject that interests you, or simply ask friends in different industries what exactly they do. While it probably won’t be immediately obvious how this will benefit you, these bits of knowledge could prove surprisingly useful during future brainstorming sessions.

About the Author

Syna Smith is head of SEO at a top SEO agency, with eight years of experience in the digital marketing field. She is a dynamic problem-solver and an expert in blog outreach.