How to stay at your creative best at all times Here's how to keep your creative skills sharp, lean, and mean.

By Rajat Tuli

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One of the biggest strengths an entrepreneur can possess is creativity. After all, creativity doesn't mean just singing, dancing or painting. A big part of creativity means finding simple solutions to everyday problems. Here's how to keep your creative skills sharp, lean, and mean.

Be curious:

Having a child-like curiosity helps you stay creative and look at everything with a new perspective. Learn more about cultures, about things that are not connected with your work. Sadly, we focus only on what our work entails.

I need to know about sports other than cricket; I should listen to genres of music other than those that are my favourite. I try to find out what the most popular songs today are, and why they are so. After all, I have to sell to people who love these songs.

I might love movies such as Sholay and Andaz apna apna, but for today's generation, it might have all started with Gangs of Wasseypur; I need to be clued into what they like.

Observe, observe, observe:

Get off your smartphone and notice people around you. Observe things, patterns, buildings, and so on. One of our best-selling collections of tea cups for the past decade has signs such as "No sugar", "Two spoons sugar", "One-and-a-half spoons sugar".

The collection was a result from an observation that people have different preferences when it comes to sugar in their chai. We also talked of tea mugs when most people were selling coffee mugs. Another hit tea mug collection has cool prints such as "Paharon wali chai" (tea in the hills), "Pakodon wali chai" (tea with fritters), and so on.

Observation is also crucial for creativity because if you ask people if and why they do certain things, they might not have an answer. But when you observe, you notice a lot.

Travel a lot:

I don't mean just work-related work where you move from meeting to meeting and squeeze in a working lunch or a power dinner. I mean the kind of travel you do to find yourself. Visit places where they speak a language you don't know, and eat food you haven't tasted.

I also strongly recommend doing as little research about the place as possible -- let it surprise you. When I go for vacations, I just head out into the streets, get a sense of the people there, catch up on the cultural nuances, and come back with my head full of new ideas.

Know people different from you: Talk and interact with people whose lifestyle is radically different from yours. Talk to your auto chap or the taxi driver. We are already so homogenous in our approach that we need a heavy dose of all that is different.

In my office we often wonder how the movies we like sometimes don't well, and vice versa. This basically means there is a huge section of people who are different from how my colleagues and I think, and like what we don't. And these people include those who we want to create products for. To understand them, I need to know them better.

Follow creative people:

Follow people who are creative leaders; thankfully, social media makes it fairly easy to do that today. Follow musicians, world leaders, writers, poets -- people who speak their minds and can rebel against the system. Get to hear their point of view.

You also learn that you may not agree with someone but still like the person, or that you may not like the person, but still agree with what he says. In India, we have a tendency to trash an idea simply because it came from a person you don't like – this curbs creativity.

(As told to Prerna Raturi)

Rajat Tuli

Co-founder, Happily Unmarried

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