by Dr Brady Salcido
Have you ever heard somebody say, “I’m just not creative” or “I’m not a creative person.” People assume that creativity is talent gifted to the select few in the world and others are not capable of being creative. Of course, some people are more creative than others but to say that you are not creative at all, that’s just bogus.
Everyone can be creative, but I believe there are several critical factors in maximizing your creativity beyond what you were gifted with.
I won’t provide a full dissertation on what creativity is and what it isn’t, but essentially creativity is your ability to create new ideas, form original thoughts, and think outside the box.
For most of my life, I would always say that I wasn’t creative. I would dread any sort of art project that didn’t have a set way to do it. Just give me the blueprint to do it and I’ll get the work done.
During high school art class, we had to make our own box that had a specific purpose and theme to it. Some kids chose a box to hold their video games that was decorated with Mario and Luigi. Another made a box for his poker chips and it was decorated with cards and suits. I could not think of anything.
I began to panic as time went on and looked around the room for inspiration. I reached down into my pocket and felt my car keys and had a revelation. I’ll make a box for my car keys.
It was a complete disaster. The box was painted a glossy, awful black and decorated with stop signs, stop lights, and mile makers.
I got a “D” on that project. So I just assumed that I simply wasn’t that kind of person and that I would never be classified as a creative or imaginative person.
Boy was I dead wrong. Ever since embarking on creating the Neuro Lifestyle to provide people with practical pieces of lifestyle, health, and personal development wisdom to transform their brain, mind, and life… I’ve been a never-ending fountain of ideas and creativity.
It honestly gets annoying sometimes, especially when your trying to sleep and you get this idea for a Brain Hack Friday community.
Here are some helpful and practical strategies to help reframe your brain to become more creative and 10X your creativity:
1) Nourish Your Brain
In order for your brain to think outside of the box, your brain needs to operating without resistance from your diet. Resistance for your brain is called inflammation. Inflammation is your bodies natural response to a threat but when it becomes chronic and excessive, it starts to do damage.
Your brain needs the RIGHT nutrients to prevent inflammation from building up and creating resistance for our brain to work against. This resistance creates brain fog, fatigue, low energy, difficulty focusing, and will crush your creativity.
When inflammation builds up in the brain, it triggers a state of chronic sympathetic nervous system activation. Your sympathetic nervous system is your “fight-or-flight” mode. It’s our stress response and it wires us for protection, which makes it very difficult to think outside the box.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“You cannot be in growth and protection at the same time.”
— Bruce Lipton
You cannot grow when your stuck in protection or stress. Creativity happens in growth mode, but if your brain is stuck in stress, your creativity is going to suffer.
Long story short, provide your brain with the RIGHT RESOURCES to fuel the brain, while also reducing inflammation (resistance) on the brain to keep your brain in growth mode, not protection. Then you will see you creativity grow as long as this next piece is there.
2) Get Moving
Exercise is an important piece in activating the full capacity of your brain. Sometimes it’s not about finding new information as much as it is making a new connection to something you already know.
Exercises, specifically aerobic and high-intensity exercise, increase your bodies production of brain-derived neutrophic factors (BDNF). Think of BDNF as essentially brain fertilizer. It stimulates the production of new brain cells, the survival of brain cells, as well as promotes the connectivity within the brain itself, which plays a critical role in learning in memory.
Exercise also increases the production of norepinephrine, which is a very imporant neurotransmitter inyour brain that play a large role in focus, attention, and memory retrieval. Norepinephrine can help your brain retrieve precious insights that may be hiding in your memory bank.
3) Do Things Differently
Your brain doesn’t like change. It wants to repeat the same routines and patterns over and over because it’s safe. When you begin doing things differently, you start to train your brain to become more adaptable and also more creative. You stimulate new connections and pathways within the brain that can assist you in other areas of life.
How many times have we heard stories of people gathering inspiration while traveling, reading a book, or talking with a friend at Starbucks?
Do you work from home? Go to a coffee shop.
Do you write on a computer? Write in a notepad or journal.
Do you typically read business? Read fiction.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
If you want to be more creative, it helps to change the routine of other areas of your life to force your brain to start learning how to accomplish things differently. Then you will begin to see a shift in the tide of your creativity.
4) Be In Alignment
Think of this scenario when you were a child. Imagine when you saw your favorite candy at the top of a high bookshelf that was well out of your reach. You obviously want that candy REAL BAD and I’m sure you thought long and hard of different tactics to get that candy. Eventually, you likely stumbled upon a solution (most likely one that could send you to the emergency room) that allowed you to get the candy.
Now imagine if you were told you have to go to that same location, but instead of a candy bar, it was a box of tissues. Do you think you would be as creative as with that candy bar?
I know that’s not a great example, but you get my point. When the object of your creativity is in alignment with your values and what you desire, you can become extremely creative.
Find out exactly why you want to be creative and what that creativity is being used for. If money wasn’t an option and you’ve done everything on your bucket list, what would you do?
In my experience, externally driven creativity (money, fame, etc) never seems to produce quality creativity. Internally driven creativity (driven by values, passions, service) can create gold.
I believe that’s why I’m able to be so creative now compared to when I was younger. I have found a way to use my skills and talents that God has given me to serve in a way that’s authentic and potentially INCREDIBLY impactful.