Some of us let our minds become extremely pragmatic as we grow up.
Why am I saying this?
As we study and learn, we’re taught tools or methods that are useful and are supposed to solve almost every problem that we face. With this, I’m not saying that we are always navigating basic things or methods, but 90% of the time we are learning how to apply preestablished rules to solve a situation. Some of these methods are really basic, while others are pretty complex.
When I think of those who came up with the rules we use nowadays, I can only imagine them as extremely creative people. I’m thinking of Tesla, Touring, Coulomb, Joule, etc. They all had “crazy” ideas – using “crazy” as a synonym of “creative” – and they somehow found the way to make them real. Surely they used preestablished concepts, tools, and stuff, but they created new things, new theories and new methods using their crazy imagination.
Having said all this, I’ll focus on engineers.
In an ideal world, we engineers should all be creating new things or coming up with solutions for every single problem. This does not always happen. I mean, we usually find solutions based on some rules or formulas, but we often forget about our own capacity of creating new stuff from scratch, causing us, in several cases, to miss good ideas. Occasionally, we discard great ideas and finally, once in awhile we miss an AMAZING IDEA.
In order to prevent this from happening, here are some tips that might be useful to train your creativity:
Spend Time by Yourself
Think and improvise in your head. Take any problem you have and practice at least three solutions in your mind—three ways to get where you want. Do it alone, at first. Take into account and analyze every step you’re imagining. Take notes if it helps. At last, if you feel satisfied with what you’ve created, share it with someone you trust. Ask him/her what he/she would do. Explain why you’ve come up with that solution. Listen.
Focus on the context; don’t leave out any details. A detail may lead you to a creative idea. Strive to get the big picture. Abstract yourself from the particularity and try to see the whole scenario.
The “easy” solution or the first one you come up with is not always the best. Change the point of view (or analysis). Don’t stick with the first thing you thought would be a good idea for a solution. Don’t forget it, but keep thinking. Try to get to the goal by creating new paths.
Find Moments and Places
Identify those places or moments where you feel relaxed, where your mind is calm enough to think clearly. Some moments that work for most of us are while we are walking in the park, taking a shower, listening to music, or those 10 or 15 minutes before we fall asleep.
Feel confident. Believe in yourself. You need to know you’re creative. You can create, just like everyone else can. Don’t be afraid of failing. We all fail. But success is about trying. Sooner or later you’ll get awesome results.
In conclusion, I’m convinced that we should always encourage ourselves to be creative above all. Creativity can be developed, unleashed or strengthened by focusing on the tips I’ve shared with you. Just don’t forget to be creative!