How to be (a) creative?

This is a question I find people asking and while there is the debate on you are born with it, it cannot be cultivated, one that I for one, believe in. Yes you have to be born a creative, and cannot be trained to be one. However that said every one of us tends to display creative tendencies as every one of us has had to make decisions all our lives. But then there are those of us who are creatives, those who gravitate to making while others gravitate to selling. There is a lot about it. For those who are keen on being creative and a creative, here are a few tricks of the trade that I have arrived at being in the creative business for 33 years 😉

  1. Sleep can make one more creative. With all the bodily processes taken care of, the brain can work on being a mind, giving preference to thinking and well, thinking different. Out-of-the-box can only happen when the box needs no repair and such.
  2. Sugar damages the brain. Well sugar damages every part of the body, eyes, liver, blood, you name the part and sugar can do great damage, but it does damage the brain greatly too decreasing memory and attention, worst of all slowing down cognitive function.
  3. Dress your creative up. While the Zuckerbergs and Cooks believe in donning a uniform, I found that a tad too constricting. Being a creative means making a ton of decisions, ever tried sitting in front of a white canvas wondering which colour to start with or a blank wall in a house interiors project? Making a decision require courage. The more you use your decision making ability, the more you can hone it. While it is convenient to have clothes that you can simply sink into when you cant decide, not making a decision is also a decision.
  4. Live the moment. It always is calming to roughly know what you would be doing at different times in the day, of having a routine, most people do swear by it. But for me, springing a surprise on myself makes me feel very free and hence very creative. When you are not bound by what you should be doing and embrace what you could be doing, it is very liberating in every sense of the word.
  5. Movement helps a ton. Exercise could also be used as a synonym for use. Movement whether it’s travel or simply dancing around loosens up the body and the mind. Physically moving the body metaphorically moves the mind. Takes it off its existing space and pulls out the constraints. A mind that is open and not rigid and tight helps. Screw loose and foot loose takes a whole new meaning! Reigning in is just very cloistering.
  6. Set a goal for everyday. For a writer, writing 1000 words per day is a wonderful goal, for an architect drawing up a sketch everyday is a wonderful goal, for the chef whipping up a recipe everyday is a goal, for the monk 4 hours of meditation everyday is a wonderful goal. Whatever you want to be good at, set a number to pursue it everyday. It could be in time or in output, it really sets a flag-post, a marker in an otherwise easy-breezy day.
  7. Tickle the funny bone. To be a creative, to truly be a creative one has got to find, nurture and tickle one’s funny bone. It helps to laugh for the average-joe, but it really really helps to laugh for a creative. Laughter you see is an instant vacation, it takes you from here to there, asking very little of you except for a change in perspective. Give the greatest of tragedies some time and they will certainly morph into comedies.
  8. Read. This is the single most important point on this list. Read everything, from magazines, to newspapers, to books, to novels, to the structural code, to the manual books, to Vinci’s A Treatise in Painting, Ruskin’s The Seven Lamps of Architecture, to the Confessions of a Shopaholic, to the room you are in , to the people you are with. Nunchi is the Korean word for reading the room that you are in, the unexpectant silent energy. Bury yourself in fiction and at other times non-fiction. Creativity is the work of the mind and reading is the fodder for the mind. While exercise provides oxygen to the brain to keep it alive, reading provides nourishment to the brain to keep it going.
  9. Leave no room for fear or for doubt. Being a creative is a lot like riding a tiger. If you stop riding it, it will eat you up. If you stop moving you lose. Hence ditch the analysis paralysis and make an attempt to keep going ahead, whatever may be the consequences. The naysayers are aplenty, not just in this imaginative world, they are plenty in the binary world too, but keeping everyone happy is a task for worry, being fearful of the consequences wouldnt allow one to move a muscle, firing up neurons is a far fetched idea then. Hence try not to entertain doubt or fear for that matter, it gets one nowhere. Know that doubt and fear are as persistent as ever. Know that every creative has a logic behind him or her, every decision has a preceding questionnaire, bury that doubt or fear behind the questionnaire, happily and merrily!
  10. Detach. The creative makes things and then things take a life of their own. It is untenably important to not want to micromanage or control things to be a creative. Creative people cannot manage people, there are enough compartments in one’s brain to manage itself. Managerial posts require a sense of engagement, a sense of control over another individual, though today most managers believe in hands-off approaches and setting the context to achieve desired results rather than dictating terms, either way they need to be manipulative. The creatives on the other hand need to be adept at rolling with the punches, making the best of things. Perfectionists work well in black and white worlds like finance or computing, where things are binary 0 or 1 but for creative people, even in finance to cook up numbers needs a ton of creativity and thats mostly to think outside the parameters. No rules, rules, most definitely.
  11. Welcome them Interruptions. The truly creative people thrive on interruptions, disturbances, chaos, crazies and a whole lot of mess, its like thay cant see, hear or feel the mess, they are the lotus in the proverbial pond. Thats the only way with getting ahead with life, or rather inspite of life. There will be interruptions and if you let that get the better of you then you’ll just be a ball tossed about. Modern day technology distracts, people in person distract, urgent issues distract, the list never ends. When I was in school I always thought having a quiet environment helped one to study and imbibe better, this till I met a girl, topper in her school who studied at the dining table with the television on, maids walking in and out, people doing their thing in a busy household. I was intrigued, and I tried to change the way I thought and it worked like magic, or atleast worked. Same way I read in a book, one does not need a tranquil environment to meditate, one finds themselves in tranquility once they meditate. Focusing on the task at hand is a wonderful way to not be perturbed by the environment.
  12. Journal or simply keep a notebook on you. Its your pensieve. Yes, while the Harry Potter fans get it alright, its a pool into which your thoughts can go hence freeing up precious brain space. Its time taking, but its truly useful. Clarity in thought is precious. Clutter is the enemy in physical space, it is also the enemy in mental space. Let it go in life and let it go on paper. Great ideas too make a wonderful notebook entry, as you put it down on paper you can distance yourself from your own thought so as to be objective about the idea and then can weigh it’s worth without being tied down to it.
  13. Be an eternal grateful, positive, happy-go-lucky person. While we mostly attribute the dark, moody, creative thinker always surrounded by a cloud of smoke, puffing away to glory or being a left-winged activist, maybe even a depressed manic who cut off his own ear, think Van Gogh, the truly creative person is an optimist. Moreover one who is truly healthy afflicted by no disease of the body or the mind. Here’s an exercise, steer clear of the three cancers of the mind – Complaining, Comparing and Criticising. Trust me when I say this and try it for yourself, the worst possible emotion one can ever entertain is that of envy, not only does it cause unbelievable wreckage, it also is the least fun of all.
  14. Entertain music of your choice. Music has the power to heal, to depress, to repress, to call on the clouds, to cause rain and even to bring back memories or wipe them out as the need may be. Ever tried listening to the blues when you feel blue? It’s one of those cases where two negatives make a positive. It is relentless and fascinating. My go to music while designing, while happy or sad, is the Beatles, precisely the Across the Universe OST, it reminds me of college, of literally the most precious days of my life, a time when I literally transformed into a butterfly. I didnt know it then, but then well
  15. Walk with a bounce in your step. Now this one is inspired by Steve Jobs who not only was also always listening to music but walked with a particular gait. While every person’s gait is as unique as their finger print, Jobs gait particularly incorporated a bounce in his every step. He would be seen walking around the Apple campus with ears plugged and a gait that almost seemed like tiggering around. If breathwork can conytrol the body, peppy body language can control the brain and optimism is a requisite to creativity.
  16. Sport a happy smile, and be okay to guffaw every once in a while. While an avalanche type laughter would be ideal, a pretty little chirp or tweet will also punctuate your days with endless wonder. Laughter in particular boosts all the happy hormones like the Irish proverb goes like, a long laugh and a long sleep can cure almost anything. A happy smile is one that reaches from the stomach not just the mouth but even the eyes. And thats a sure shot way to turn all the downs, up! And up is the way to go to go creative.
  17. Try a new hobby, every once in a while, do something different, no jack, no master, just go with the flow of the task in hand and do it for the sake of doing it! I’ve been such a pro a trying out new hobbies that I own a piano, a flute, a yoga mat, tennis racket, swimming goggles, squash racket, table tennis racket, zumba membership, gym membership, an apron, acrylic paints, top of the line paint brushes, a travelogue, a pen collection, riding breeches, golf sticks, jewellery casts, oh well, talk about living a full life! Am no jack of all these, but certainly a master of architecture, and well, creative thinking!
  18. Get a new perfume act going. This works splendidly for me in particular, but I know people who would baulk at the thought of a scent. If you are one of them then well, try fresh flowers, they not just lighten up a space, they’d even indulge your nervous system. I for one love perfumes, something that I probably like just as much or even a tad bit more than books to collect. The whiff of a great smell is a neuron relaxer, just as an offensive odour is just as offensive as it sounds. But either way a bad odour stresses out the system just as a lovely smell relaxes one.
  19. Just go play a round of golf, or tennis, or croquet or whatever your singularly played sport fixation is. Singularly being responsible for the outcome of the point is very relaxing as is being both responsible and free for the outcome of the play. The more outdoor the sport is the more relaxing and affable it seems to me. It’s so much more fun too to be in the natural surrounds in case of golf.
  20. Play. Life is a game play it. Life is a dance, dance it. Do whatever it takes. Whatever works. Whatever, works. No rules rules. Be open to life. Let it happen and apart from just detaching, take the outcome in your stride and learn to build upon it. Dissect when necessary but learn to flush, get it out and move on. Like in a play, like in play, there are parts for everybody, the winners, the losers, nothing is final, it never will be. Even death is not final, things could happen posthumously, again ask Van Gogh, he could have never imagined. We are not supposed to be in control of everything. So well, whatever!

As my blog has gone, a no picture blog, though we acknowledge that a picture speaks a thousand words, here’s some hoping that a thousand words can concoct up a pretty picture!