Why curiosity is the key to creativity
When I was young, my mom said I was one of those babies who stared at everyone and everything. Constantly observing and taking it all in, I was fascinated by the simple things and was in constant awe of the world around me.
In some ways, I’m still like that. As a psychology major, I’m technically a professional people watcher. At parties, I’m notorious for throwing out random nerdy stats like, “Did you know that 90% of people text things they could never say in person?” My friends and family love that one.
But in all seriousness, I’ve always been curious about human behavior and learning why people think and act the way they do. Of course, it goes without saying that this includes understanding my own thoughts and behavior. When I’m upset or anxious, I want to know why and I want to fix it.
It was this curiosity that led me to study both journalism and psychology. The more I read and learned, the more questions and ideas popped into my head. Researching and writing about human behavior is more than my job; it’s a hobby.
When you’re curious, you’re enthusiastic about learning. Your passion to explore and embrace the unknown opens your mind to new possibilities. This is where true creativity is born.
Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not always a skill that comes naturally – and it is not strictly reserved for writers, artists, musicians and people in creative professions. While creativity comes naturally for some of us, we all have the ability to tap into our creative potential.
Ready to unleash your inner creative genius? Here are three scientifically-proven ways to boost your creativity:
- Adapt an explorer mindset
You know that rush you feel when you’re traveling? Visiting new places and meeting new people is energizing. You’re seeing the world through a different lens.
The good news is you can adapt this mentality in your day-to-day life. Research fun activities in your city, pick up a new hobby and challenge yourself to check out something different each week. The point is to broaden your horizons.
Not only will this make you a more interesting and well-rounded person, but it will also help you tap into your creative side.
- Create a supportive environment
The fear of rejection and being criticized by others prevents many people from speaking up and expressing their ideas. Surround yourself with people who encourage and inspire you.
“Kids are awash with creative energy in part because they have not yet learned to fear the criticism of their peers or experienced embarrassment from failure,” says Larry Kim, Founder and CTO at WordStream. “This is now why failure is lauded in adults-it reflects creative, risk-taking endeavors.”
Think about it: If your boss encourages participation in meetings and creates a collaborative work environment, more people are likely to speak up and voice their opinions – which leads to greater productivity and brainstorming more creative ideas.
3. Get moving
Did you know the movement of the body affects the movement of the mind? According to a study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology, physical movement has a positive impact on creative thinking.
“For almost every student, creativity increased substantially when they walked. Most were able to generate about 60 percent more uses for an object, and the ideas were both ‘novel’ and ‘appropriate,’ ” writes Stanford researcher Dr. Marily Oppezzo.
In other words, if you’re looking to get mentally stimulated, get active. This doesn’t require an intense hour-long gym session; just a simple walk is enough to get your creative juices flowing.
Photo credit: Brandon Woelfel