When I was a child, I had a teacher who was a stickler for certain rules – no one could turn in an assignment that wasn’t stapled together, for instance. If you used a paperclip or handed in loose sheets of paper, your grade was penalized, and it didn’t matter how much begging or pleading you did to get around it.
One morning, I panicked when I realized that my paper was at risk of being made an example of, as I had forgotten to staple it. Quickly, a friend of mine rustled through her backpack for an old assignment, pried the staple off, used one end to poke two holes in my papers, pressed the legs of the staple through, and then folded them back onto themselves – and just like that my problem was solved.
I will always cherish that moment because it was the first memory I have of noticing someone else’s creativity. Her adaptability and quick thinking in that situation rescued me from a marked-down grade, and I clearly remember that – in that instance – I resolved to try and be more creative from that moment on. Creativity is responsible for turning imagination into reality. It actualizes the impossible, makes something out of nothing, and responds to problems with elegant solutions.
However, you can’t just decide to be more creative one day and have that quality materialize in your personality overnight. Creativity comes from both nature and nurture – there certainly are people who have a genetic predisposition towards an interest in creative pursuits – but the nurture side can be learned. It takes some mental training and lots of determination, but you too can become a creative person with a little help. Here’s how.
The most creative people out there are also the most curious – they want to know about the world, other people, reality, the nature of space and time, and any and everything in-between. Being curious is the first step towards living a more creative life.
If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself some big questions. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Is there a purpose to my existence? Furthermore, it helps to get curious about how things are made or why they are constructed in a certain way. It’s like pulling a thread; the more you unravel the mysteries of the universe, the more you can’t help but keep tugging.
Fill Up on Resources
Creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. One thing that will help you become more creative is understanding that creativity is fueled by resources. Without any kind of bedrock of knowledge or information, it is impossible to apply creative principles to your life because you simply don’t know how – it’s never been demonstrated for you before.
One of the most important things I’ve learnt about the creative process is to fuel myself with other creative works. In fact, right before Fashion Month kicks off, I pay a visit to the art museum because other people’s creative work feeds me, gives me energy, and makes me see connections between human life and the fashion world. Whether it’s listening to Beethoven, visiting a museum, attending an artist’s lecture, or diving into fashion archives, it is important to nourish yourself with all the resources you can get your hands on.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
You will never be a more creative person if you always stick to the same routine. Allow yourself to flourish into a multi-dimensional person by engaging with a range of pursuits. Sign up for a cooking class, learn a new instrument or language, pick up a sculpting or figure-drawing class. The possibilities are endless and, the more you learn, the more dexterous and flexible your mind will become.
Creativity, as a skill, offers endless experiential learning opportunities. One way to become more creative is to learn from people who have the very properties you want to acquire. Whether it’s watching TED Talks, listening to podcasts, attending lectures, finding a creative mentor, crowdsourcing a problem, or other practices, it never hurts to ask others to teach you their ways. If it weren’t for my professors, editors, mentors, and peers, I wouldn’t possess a fraction of the creativity I have today.