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October 24th, 2009 · 24 Comments · Creativity, Habits, Productivity


Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs.

Do you think that you are not a creative person? Let me tell you something: you are wrong. Creativity is not reserved to poets, writers, filmmakers, musicians or any other professional artist but is inside of each one of us. Everyone is creative. In fact, you have enough creative potential to become an innovator in whatever you do.

There’s no limit to human imagination. Please, remember those days when you were a child, remember that keen on discovering new things; that child was able to create a new imaginary world just for the fun of it. Why an adult can’t be like a child? Life circumstances locked up your creative potential, now I ask you to let your creative side run free. It’s ok to be like a child; it’s ok to be an artist. So, rediscover your spontaneous free nature and your independent self and keep your mind open to new ideas.

Next, I will share with you 10 effective ways to boost your creativity for life:

1. Define clearly what you want to do

Vague intentions produce vague results. So, the clearer the initial statement of intent is, the more likely you are to get what you want. What do you want to accomplish right now? Define your purpose or problem in detail and work focused on it.

2. Avoid distractions

In order to maximize your creative potential you need to be focused on your task. It’s unlikely you will create something of value if you are not in a state of deep concentration. My advice: work where you feel comfortable and with no distractions (like Internet or TV). When I need to be creative to solve a problem sometimes I need to turn off the computer. It will depend on your ability to concentrate.

3. Are you having a mental block? Take a break

Are you stuck? Do you feel tired? Your mind is blank and you are lost? Please, take a break from what you are doing and give your mind a well-deserved rest. If you can’t think properly it’s better to take a break. Go for a walk, listen to some good music for a while or eat a light snack. It never fails to grease the gears of the mind. A change of atmosphere will keep you awake and will help you to generate new and fresh ideas.

4. Become an expert

If you want to develop your creativity on a specific topic you should become an expert in it. Read as much as you can about this topic because it will allow you to make creative connections and find related ideas.

Leonardo Da Vinci

5. Be curious

Curiosity is a good thing. Be curious about everything around you. Ask yourself lots of questions and look for the answers.

Some of the questions would be: why is it effective?; how does it work?; is there another possible solution?; what’s the reason for…?; what if it…?; why?; and a long etc.

Think like Leonardo Da Vinci.

6. Put aside some time for your creative tasks

This is what I call my “creative moment”. Creativity takes time. You should schedule some time each week to think in a creative way. I suggest you to keep a creative thinking habit at the same general time every day, or at the same time every week. Repetition and perseverance are the keys in developing any habit.

7. Creativity loves constraints

This is one of my favorite. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. The concept is based on a well known principle: freedom inhibits creativity. So, you have to add some restrictions in order to force your brain to overcome them.

8. The power of free association

Every day you should think of 5 different ways to combine 2 things with no relation in order to produce something new. For instance: a rocket and an apple; a pencil and a guitar; a philosopher and a dictator, and a long etc. You see what I mean, don’t you? So, think some unconnected elements to let your brain to use its power of free association because it will give you countless new fresh ideas.

9. Ask you the magic question

Human brain is similar to a computer‘s central processing unit (CPU). No matter what question you ask yourself, your brain will always search for an answer (whether it is right or wrong). Yes, ask whatever you want and be sure that it eventually will give you an answer to your question. When you finish a little task you should ask yourself: Can I be more creative? Am I satisfied with the result? Can I do it better? How can I improve it? I always apply this technique to solve problems and to maximize my creative potential. Ask yourself the right question and your brain will give you its best answer. If the answer was wrong then ask again, maybe you asked the wrong question. Think carefully what you ask because is the key of having the right answer.

mind idea

10. What do you think is the best way to boost creativity?

What do you do to boost your creativity? When you have to write an article what things and practices do you think help you to be creative?

Use the comments section of this post as a forum to post your own experiences, opinions and thoughts on this subject.

A week or so from now I’ll compile your best comments into a new detailed list of “Creative Thinking: 10 Ways to Boost Your Creativity (part 2)” and publish it on here for everyone to see. Every commentator selected to be part of the list will be rewarded with a link to his blog and to his twitter page. So, leave an insightful comment and get rewarded for it.

And remember, share your ideas and enjoy what others share with you :).

Written by: David Cantone

My Twitter: @DavidCantone


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24 Comments so far ↓

  • Justin- AlittleBetter.netNo Gravatar

    Another great rule for boosting your creativity is from the Dalai Lama

    “Know the rules well so you can break them effectively.”
    .-= Justin-´s last blog ..Lets Play a Game =-.

  • RyanNo Gravatar

    Great tips David.

    I meditate for at least 20-30 minutes. After sitting still creative ideas usually flow to me easily. Stillness helps to remove my blockages.
    .-= Ryan ´s last blog ..Ryan Biddulph Quotes: Purpose =-.

  • Jonny | thelifething.comNo Gravatar

    Loved reading your tips on creativity.

    I work as a designer, writer and entrepreneur and so creativity is incredibly important to me.

    My best tip is to always carry around a notebook (or Ipod as I do) so that ideas from nature, conversations and other aspects of life can be easily jotted down in a sentence to be returned to later on.

    I find that my best business ideas, article posts and product designs come from this method as it is not forced and allows the mind maximum scope for making connections.

    I also find that around 3am is the best time to develop creativity, at least for me anyhow.

  • Alisa BarryNo Gravatar

    Here are some creativity booster tips that have worked for me:

    1. Show up- no matter what.
    Don’t wait for inspiration to arrive. The muse lies in waiting for us to show up. Set aside a specific day or time of day that will create a routine that you can count on.

    2. Ritualize your routine.
    When you show up to do the work, make it a sacred ceremony. Light a candle, say an incantation, do anything that signals to yourself that you are there to do your holy work.

    3. Dedicate the merit.
    This is a traditional Buddhist offering to honor the process- for having showed up, for the gifts that have been offered, for the process of it all.
    It’s a celebration of the simple way we can create our lives + work anew everyday.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share.

  • ileaneNo Gravatar

    Il Cantone,
    Thanks for the post.

    I practice yoga and I find that some of the core concepts can easily be used by anyone to boost creativity. If you can find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably, it is very importanat that you relax and pay attention to your breathing. Start to take nice slow, long, deep inhales and exhales. When you think you have exhaled all of the air out of your body, exhale just a little bit more and then slowly begin to inhale again.

    The breaths should be very intentional, slow and controlled. This creates a positive flow of energy, fresh oxygen and blood throughout your body. Practice controlling your breath like this for about 3 – 5 minutes and you just gave yourself a mini power yoga session that will help open your mind and stimulate your creativity. Please try it and let me know how you feel afterwards!

    I am going to go do some yoga now. Thanks again.

    .-= ileane´s last blog ..Do Twitter Backgrounds Attract New Followers? =-.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi Justin, Thanks for your comment.

    Dalai Lama is an inspiring person, we all can learn so much from him…

    The lesson learned would be… My attempt: You have to be an expert on your chosen topic if you want to go far beyond the rules currently defined in it.

    Justin, what do you think this phrase means?

    Thanks for your contribution 🙂


  • MarkoNo Gravatar

    You are absolutely right that everyone is creative – most people just don’t tap into their creative potential due to the false belief that only musicians, writers, poets, etc… have that special ability.

    The funny thing is even the artsy types have times when they don’t feel especially creative or need some strategies to get out of a creative drought.

    Many of my artist friends (and myself) have some sort of list with reminders and proven strategies to pull out in case of a creativity block.

    I just added your dictionary idea to my personal list. 🙂
    .-= Marko´s last blog ..The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick — Review =-.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    RYAN: Yes I agree with you. If we want to be creative we need a quiet workspace and time to sit there and relax in order to have a state of deep concentration; only then, we give the muse a chance to appear :).

    In other words, we have to try hard to concentrate on the task at hand if we want to be creative, and it won’t be possible if we don’t have a comfortable atmosphere to work.

    Thanks Ryan for your comment.

    See you.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi Jonny, glad to see you.

    Thanks for sharing your own experiences.
    3:00 am? Wow, I guess you have stayed up late (or all night) many times :). I have the same “problem” Jonny. My creative potential usually is at its maximum between 11pm & 2am. We heard the voice of the muse at night, when everybody is sleeping and dreaming we are working on our dreams (wow! this is very poetic indeed).

    Thanks Jonny for your contribution.

    Regards 😉

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi Alisa and welcome to I hope you feel comfortable here :), I will do my best to make it happen.

    You’ve stated above some great points. I especially like your second point about “ritualizing your routine.” I do the same when I have to write a short story or a poem for a writing or poetry contest. For example, I light two or three aromatic candles to create a magical ambiance of peace and tranquility, listen to soft music, etc. Maybe in the coming month I will write a post about my favorite songs to to induce specific emotional and psychological states. It’s a very interesting topic.

    Alisa, I didn’t understand very well your third point “dedicate the merit” and its relation to creativity. But it’s sounds interesting, could you clarify this point to me.

    Thanks Alisa for your great comment.

    See you soon 😉

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi ileane and welcome to Glad to see you here :).

    Wow, thanks for sharing your knowledge in yoga.
    I’ve never tried yoga but I’d really like to do it at home. I meditate early in the morning, as you said, to clear and open my mind. Sometimes I do it late afternoon as well, to relieve the stress of the day.

    I will do your mini power yoga session today and I will tell you how it was.

    Thanks a lot for your contribution.

    See you soon.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Marko, nice to see you.

    It’s a pleasure to have an artist among us sharing his own experiences on the topic.

    I’m really curious about your list of strategies to boost creativity. Marko, if you some day want to share it please let me know, you’re very welcome to write a guest post on the subject whenever you like.

    Thanks for your comment Marko.

    Regrads 🙂

  • ZXTNo Gravatar

    Really great tips David. I think this is just what I need. Stumbled this.
    .-= ZXT´s last blog ..Undelete Files from formatted Flash Drive and Memory Card =-.

  • Jim HardinNo Gravatar

    There are days that I feel creative and there are other days that I don’t feel creative. I think what gets me thinking creatively is to first clear my head of all thoughts. Sometimes this is difficult, but if I find a quiet room where I can spend some time alone that helps. Another way to clear my head of all thoughts is to work out. This tends to releave the stress and pressures from the day. Then take a nice shower to get relaxed. After that my mind seems to open up and I can begin to think creatively.

    Honestly Dave lately I felt down. Your post has brought me up again. I havent been working out lately and I really miss that in my life. I think the stresses of life have started to build up and I need to excersise to releave some of the stress and anxiety.

    Thanks Dave for the help and making me realize that!

    .-= Jim Hardin´s last blog ..How Often to Post to Your Blog =-.

  • JohnluffaNo Gravatar

    Wow, these are deep stuff you got here – Espercially the power of association… if I think long on this one, God knows what I would come up with it 🙂

    Lately, I tend to discuss future topics with someone – you’ll be surprised how much extra stuff you come up with.
    Listening to music instrumentals works for me also.

    Fantastic post David – Thanks for sharing
    .-= Johnluffa´s last blog ..New eBook Survey =-.

  • InternetHow BlogNo Gravatar

    Hi David. I just cam across to your blog and I think you have really nice articles.

    I usally take long walks. That help me refresh my mind.
    .-= InternetHow Blog´s last blog ..Competition: Free Advertisement For Top Commentators =-.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    JIM: You have mentioned some really good points.

    I agree with you: It’s important to be in a quiet place to maximize our creative potential. However we also have to learn how to be creative in a noisy world. Nowadays, most people work in an office environment and have to coexist with noise and stress, whether they like it or not. Maybe in the coming month I will write a post about this subject.

    Yes, excercise is really important to a healthy lifestyle and, of course, to clear our mind and to make the creative process easier.

    Glad it could cheer you up! 🙂 And remember, this too shall pass, because there’s no permanent continuance of anything.

    Thanks Jim for your great comment.

    See you soon.

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi John.

    I use a lot the power of association it really works.

    Yes, you’re right, some music boost creativity. Soon I will share with all of you a list with my favorite music to boost creativity. I like to listen to some music when I’m writing short stories, poems or articles for the blog.

    Thanks John for your comment.

    Regrads 🙂

  • David | ilcantone.comNo Gravatar

    Hi Internet How Blog and welcome to, I hope you feel comfortable here :).

    By the way, what’s your name? I can’t find it on your blog.

    I love taking long walks to clear my mind and to reflect on my situation and prepare for my next step.

    Thanks for your comment.


  • Antti KokkonenNo Gravatar

    I like to keep track of all ideas I get and write everything down (I carry a notebook and pen, and save all ideas to Google Docs when I get online). When I need to “turn on” the creativity, I dig into my idea-pile and just reading through all the ideas gets me going.

    After that I like to form mindmaps and take the ideas a bit further. In the end I might work on a related idea that came from that mindmap, but as I save the mindmap, I can always go back and work on that original idea.

    So in a sense, for me, creativity is a process I follow. It’s perfect when I’m not feeling particularly creative, as the process gets me in that creative mood I need to be, because I see all the ideas I’ve written down and worked on before.
    .-= Antti Kokkonen´s last blog ..Analyzing the State of the Blogosphere 2009 =-.

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  • AlexNo Gravatar

    thanks for the post, being a pan flute player I find these concepts so true and of enourmous value to myself, but do not be deluded into the trap of thinking that you have to be an artist or play something, you can be as creative as any if just by being simple and applying what you read above, one thing I like to do is…I imagine I have i can’t speak and have been given a panflute , just a panflute to express what I think about something, can be a picture or just looking at the landscape, I imagine I can’t describe in any other way, so then I start to play and creativity just comes out. Nice post thanks again

  • Danial PiraniNo Gravatar

    In my opinion “Creativity is a person’s hidden power”. Every one can explore it. And it should not matter that if you are weak in some task or some work. You are surely an expert in the task of your own intrest. So a person should go for his field of intrest and surely his creativity will come out in a much better way than he had ever thought.

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