4 Foolproof Steps to Boost and Drive Creativity

There’s not a single professional or entrepreneur who wouldn’t benefit from more creativity. Most people associate creativity with poets, artists, musicians, photographers…etc. but the truth is nobody and no career has a monopoly on the creative process.

Whether you’re in product development, research, marketing, customer service, human resources, legal or whatever---you can be more productive and solve tougher problems with a little creative boost. Ironically, creativity can be practiced and learned according to bestselling author Frank Viola.

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Consider that over the past eight years Viola has written 25 full-length books -- 12 for traditional publishing houses and the rest self published -- of which seven reached bestseller status. He's also written more than 900 unique blog posts over the same period, and he's produced more than 125 podcast episodes that have pushed his weekly audio cast to the number two spot on iTunes.

In addition, he writes bi-weekly newsletters to his subscribers and has spoken to hundreds of audiences.  

During a recent interview, Viola shared with me several tactics and techniques he uses to drive his creativity, here are four foolproof steps he takes to ensure optimal creative efforts.

1. Relax and Recharge

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Viola says one of the most important factors affecting his creativity is relaxation and recreation, because that’s when your brain is recharging.

“It’s a bit counterintuitive because most people believe that the more they think, the more they work or the more they brainstorm, than that’s going to make them more creative---it’s actually the opposite,” said Viola. “That doesn’t mean abandon work. It means you need focused periods of times of relaxation and recreation to help you work better.”

2. Identify Your Creative Catalyst

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Inspiration is everywhere. For some people inspiration might be found while walking along a beach, hiking a trail or in a beautiful park. Others might experience it at an art gallery, reading a novel or listening to music.

Viola says he watches movies because they’re seedbeds of creativity.

“I watch many genres of movies because they affect me and my thinking in different ways. The reason why most people aren’t more creative is because they’re stuck in a mental rut. They read one kind of book, listen to one kind of music or only watch one type of TV show, hindering their ability to identify and make novel connections---which is the heart of creativity,” said Viola.

Bottom line, a creative catalyst can trigger new waves of creativity within you.

3. Schedule randomness in your calendar

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Viola says that creativity is fueled by randomness, but he paradoxically stresses the need to intentionally make time for randomness in your daily schedule.

“I plan for randomness. I’ll plan to spend an hour outside or driving to a place I’ve never been before, then just walk around and get the lay of the land. The truth is, the more you can randomize your life---the more fertile an environment you establish, which enables creative connections,” said Viola.

4. Seek out contrarian viewpoints

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Lastly, Viola says he routinely engages with individuals who hold different beliefs and think differently than he does. He’ll expose the various projects, ideas and concepts he’s working on to this diverse group of thinkers, which tends to produce a better end product.

“While I don’t agree with these individuals on everything, I do trust them. In the course of our discussions, they’ll share insights and perceptions that open entirely new ways of thinking that I would have never reached on my own. They help me break out my own echo chamber,” said Viola.

He goes into much greater detail regarding additional creativity tips in a course he developed, which he says can help anyone improve their creative output as well as boost their productivity. 

"Each of these factors might not seem like much on their own but combined together they can have a significant impact on individual creativity," he said.

ByTor Constantino

Tor Constantino is a former journalist, speaker, best-selling author, entrepreneur and current public relations executive with an M.B.A. degree and more than 25 years experience as a communications professional. Constantino views are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer or any other organization.

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