How to Let Others Inspire Your Creativity
In the previous lesson, you discovered a great creativity tool, forced association. You can further boost your creative results by thinking of one particular type of person.
Who Are You Going to Call (to Mind)?
As recounted in the book, Psychology: An International Perspective by Michael Eysenck, researchers found that people answer questions correctly 20% more of the time if they first think of someone they consider intelligent. This also worked for increasing the creativity of solutions to problems.
In that study, researchers had some participants think of a typical punk and others think of an accountant. The ones who thought of punks scored significantly higher on creativity tests. Sorry, accountants. (Then again, accountants who are too creative, especially with tax returns, are in danger of going to jail.)
However, thinking of someone so creative that you know they are totally out of your league (Leonardo di Vinci, for instance) is actually counterproductive. Probably that’s because thinking that your solutions could never be as brilliant as theirs makes you feel it’s not worth trying to come up with any.
Match Your Imaginary Mentor to the Task
If you are about to write a short story or a novel, try thinking of an author you consider intelligent and talented. Again, it’s best to avoid the classic superstars of all time, like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen, but how about Stephen King, Danielle Steel, R. L. Stine, or even just the most talented person in your writing group? Pick someone who is writing the same genre of fiction or type of nonfiction as you.
It’s easier to think of people when you have their picture in front of you. So, use images to make the process more vivid. The next time you want to give your creativity a boost, decide whom you’d like to have inspire you and search for an image of them via Google.com/images.
As you look at their picture, imagine you have the same kind of intelligence and creative qualities they do, and get started on your creative mission. A similar method worked for the most famous self-help guru of all time. In his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill described a similar technique:
“Long before I had ever written a line for publication, or endeavored to deliver a speech in public, I followed the habit of reshaping my own character, by trying to imitate the nine men whose lives and life-works had been most impressive to me. These nine men were Emerson, Paine, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Burbank, Napoleon, Ford, and Carnegie. Every night, over a long period of years, I held an imaginary Council meeting with this group whom I called my Invisible Counselors.”
Of course, you can choose your own group of inspirational women and men to consult. Pose a problem or challenge, and imagine what advice or ideas each of them might suggest.
In this lesson, you’ve discovered how to let others inspire your creativity. In the next lesson, we’ll cover how you can use your own mind and dream your way to creative success.
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