If you’ve been operating under the assumption that you’re either a creative person or you’re not, it’s time to correct this faulty line of thinking.

While it’s true that some people are naturally born with a predisposition toward creative thinking, the reality is that creative thinking can be cultivated.

Creativity: A Muscle in Need of Flexing

It’s easy to look at creative people and think, “It must be nice to be born that way!” But if this is your underlying view, you’re incorrect. Creativity is a skill that can be acquired and improved. More specifically, it’s a muscle.

Like any muscle, your creativity needs to be pushed and trained in order to become stronger and more dominant. You have to put it through hard work, friction, and thousands of reps. You can’t just conjure it up when you need it – it must be trained daily.

“Creating great ideas is a function of creating lots of ideas and connecting them together. It is not magic — it is just a lot of hard work,” university professor Fahri Karakas writes. “To avoid mediocrity, we need to go beyond obvious and conventional answers. We need to practice generative thinking and open up the solution space as far as we can.”

In other words, creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised day after day after day. As it becomes stronger, it becomes a more dominant force. And over time, you’ll have to work less to reap the rewards of creativity. It’ll become a natural part of who you are.

How to Boost Your Creativity

Shifting your view of what creativity is and how it’s shaped is a start.

But the real challenge lies in cultivating it.

1. Collaborate With Others

Data scientist and entrepreneur Andrew Ng is widely known as one of the most innovative thinkers in the tech industry. However, he wasn’t always that way. For many years, his creativity would rise to the surface in quick flashes of genius. It wasn’t until he embraced the value of collaboration that everything changed.

"In my own life, I found that whenever I wasn't sure what to do next, I would go and learn a lot, read a lot, talk to experts,” Ng explains. “I don't know how the human brain works but it's almost magical: When you read enough or talk to enough experts, when you have enough inputs, new ideas start appearing."

Want to boost your creativity? Stop isolating and start collaborating. You’ll start to see, hear, and think differently.

2. Record Everything

Your brain filters through thousands of thoughts and ideas per day. And if you aren’t conscientious enough to flag the good ones, they’ll quickly disappear.

Never assume you’ll remember an idea later. Instead, become religious about recording and documenting everything. You might even want to download a note-taking app to help organize your thoughts.

3. Change Up Your Environment

Sometimes all you need is to change up your environment. If you’re working 40-60 hours per week in the same office or cubicle, it’s virtually impossible to operate at peak levels of curiosity. You need to switch things up and move around. Even something as simple as working at a picnic table outside for an hour each day could shift your brain into an entirely new gear.

4. Unplug and Sit With Your Thoughts

As 21st century modern Americans, we don’t do a good job of spending time with our thoughts. We’re tethered to technology, news, screens, and notifications. As a result, we don’t have the breathing room to think creatively.

If you want to amplify your creativity, we recommend unplugging and sitting with your thoughts for at least 30 minutes per day. It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll eventually come to appreciate these moments of solitude. You might even find that you have your most creative thoughts during these distraction-free periods.

5. Get More Exercise

Research shows that exercising on a regular basis acts as a cognitive enhancer that promotes creativity. This is likely due to the fact that exercise encourages nerve cells in the brain to bind to one another (which is the cellular basis for learning new information). For best results, get at least 30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercise per day.

Put Your Creativity Muscle to Work

You might feel like you’ve used up all of your best ideas and thoughts, but that’s simply not true. Creativity is a dynamic thing – a muscle that can be trained, flexed, and utilized in a thousand capacities. The more proactive you are about using this muscle, the more powerful your results will be.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.