How to inspire yourself to be innovative on a more regular basis
By Patrick de Kretser
Innovation is key, the phrase is as simple as that. It is perhaps not so simple to go about trying to unlock that special power in your brain from time to time, since the art of being innovative can be a stressful and time consuming task. We all struggle with being innovative from time to time, which is a struggle that even affects the greatest of minds.
Some of the best novelists often find themselves stalling on a new book or publication for weeks or even years, because they suffer through the dreaded “writer’s block” phase, a term used to coin a situation when a writer struggles to find inspiration and has nothing to show for all his planning. I too struggle with being innovative when I am writing articles, since trying to be unique with every passing week can be quite a challenge unless you find a method to keep the ideas flowing fresh week in and week out.
But inspiration and innovation are two different words with two distinct meanings. To innovate is to transform an idea from a simple thought to a practical reality, but getting that idea in the first place is where the struggle comes into play. And that is exactly where inspiration comes into play. To inspire yourself is to stimulate your mind in such a way that you feel inclined to think, write or do something meaningful and productive. Hence, I thought of a few different methods to go about with achieving that sense of inspiration for any readers who find themselves struggling to be creative in their fields of interest.
- Start from somewhere, but do not start from scratch
Starting from scratch is an extremely time consuming and often uneventful process, which ends up making you more stressed and yielding fewer rewards than you would have hoped. Try to look back on some of your older ideas and use that as a basis for your new one. Think about tactics that you have tried in the past and work out how you could improve on them. Have your drawing board already listed out with a bunch of ideas that you can attempt or tweak rather than starting with a blank slate every time, since it is more inspiring to be creative when you have a foundation compared to when you do not.
- Get out of that stressful environment and move around
We often associate our usual working areas with stress over time, since going back to that same room can be quite annoying after a while and becomes an activity you dread. I have written articles in the past that establishing a study space is a good thing, but if you are struggling with being creative then it is time to get on your feet and move around to other places. You do not even necessarily need to find a new study spot, just find a new space which you can move around in and seek inspiration from. For example, I often find walking on the Galle Face beach strip to be quite an inspiring source for ideas from time to time.
- Find yourself a study buddy
Motivating yourself can be hard at times, so why not add someone else to the mix who can help you find some inspiration? A study buddy can be quite useful to tap in to that extra source of inspiration which will be key to finding that innovative drive you require. Even if your study buddy is not someone who works in the same field as you or studies the same subjects, you can still have them around to inspire you with the occasional motivation and input on your ideas.
- Learn, learn and learn
Sometimes the best advice tends to originate from the most obvious of recommendations. After all, learn? We already do that as it is right? But the art of learning is not just trying to go that extra mile for your course by studying for an additional two hours every night. After all, we are often reminded a lot that the best strategy is to think outside the box. Whenever you have free time and you are not occupying it with anything productive, use it as an opportunity to research on anything you want.
It could be the craziest or the most irrelevant pieces of information at the time, but you never know if it could be useful later or serve as a foundation for your inspiration with something else. By constantly training ourselves to seek out to learn new things everyday regardless about what it may be, we also train ourselves to be more innovative and think outside the box.
Photos © codebreak, Dreamstime, Gates Notes, Mutualink, ChiefExecutive