10 Tips and Tricks to Become More Creative

Creativity isn't a gene -- it's a skill that can be learned.

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By Rose Leadem

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Many people think that being creative is something you're born with, but the truth is creativity is a skill that can be developed.

Related: 9 Reliable Ways to Cultivate Creative Thinking

If you want to be creative, you can make it happen -- you just have to put in the time. For starters, being open to new opportunities, pursuing creative activities such as painting and creating mood boards and changing up your diet are all good places to start.

Here are 10 tips and tricks to become more creative.

Stop believing in the “right brain” and “left brain” myth.

We've long been told that people who are "right brained" are more creative and artistic, while people who are "left brained" are the analytical types. However, these long-held beliefs may be less credible than originally thought. A 2013 study, which examined brain scans of various types of people, found that cognitive activity was similar on both sides of the brain, and no one side was more creative or analytical than the other.

Explain things to yourself.

What did Albert Einstein, John Coltrane and Georgia O'Keefe have in common? Knowledge. If you want to be creative, you've got to develop and expand your knowledge. Today, it's easy to do a quick Google search for something you don't know, but this ultimately takes away from actually learning and figuring out for yourself what something is or how something works. Because hey -- if you forget, you can just Google it again. Next time you want to figure something out, take the time to actually listen, learn and then, explain the entire concept to yourself to make sure you've fully absorbed it.

Go for a walk.

Sometimes you need a change of pace to get those creative juices flowing, and a simple walk could be the perfect remedy. According to a study conducted by Stanford University in 2014, walking -- whether that's on a hiking trail or on a treadmill -- increases a person's creativity significantly.

Related: Science Shows How Creativity Can Reduce Stress

Become open to new experiences.

Many psychologists believe there are five basic personality traits, often labeled as "The Big Five," consisting of extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Of these traits, "openness" is most highly associated with people who are creative. Creative people are open to ideas and experiences, as its these new experiences and events that allow them to explore new possibilities in unfamiliar environments.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Creativity and curiosity often go hand-in-hand. According to research, eating more fruits and vegetables can make you both more creative and curious. One study examined the food intake of 405 participants over a 13-day period, ultimately finding that people who ate more fruits and vegetables reported higher levels of creativity and more intense feelings of curiosity compared to people who ate less of these foods.

Create a mood board.

Whether you've got an upcoming project due or you're simply seeking some inspiration, mood boards can be incredibly helpful tools when it comes to creativity. And there's research to support that. One study compared the use and effect of mood boards between fashion designers and non-fashion designers, only to discover that there was a significant impact on both. In the end, both groups reported higher levels of creativity when creating and using mood boards.

Paint your room.

Here's a quirky hack that's bound to boost your creativity: paint your room. Of course, that doesn't mean just any color. In one study, researchers found that blue walls were ideal environments for creatives. Another study discovered that green walls also spurred innovation and boosted the creative performance of people.

Related: How to Train Your Brain for Maximum Creativity. (Here's What the Science Says.)

Write down your dreams.

Whether you're dreaming about winning an Olympic gold medal or meeting the partner of your dreams -- write it down. Research finds a direct relationship between our nightly dreams and daily creativity. In one study, half of participants were asked to write down their dreams every day for a month, while the other half didn't. The participants took a creativity test each day. The people who wrote down their dreams daily scored significantly higher than those who didn't.

Challenge yourself.

The fewer resources you have, the more creative you'll have to be with them. Just take note of the story behind Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Before writing Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss's editor bet him that he couldn't write a book that was 50 words or less. Putting his creativity to the test, Dr. Seuss came up with the famous children's book, which has a word count of exactly 50.

Keep others in mind.

Whatever you're working on, carry the mindset that other people will be using that work eventually. One study found that people who thought their work would be used by others came up with more novel ideas than people who were told that they would be the only ones using their work.
Rose Leadem
Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

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