What’s one way to start thinking more creatively? Pursue many diverse interests.
This probably sounds like routine advice, but it’s not. There’s a lot of power behind picking up a lot of varied habits or finding many different ways to spend whatever little time you have every day.
Let me give you one example of this from my own life.
About three months ago I started working on a little side project of mine, a game for the iPhone called Wordid. I put in a good two months of work to design and develop the app on my own. Friends I showed the game to were really interested in it, everyone said they liked the polish and thought the game would be a big success.
So I finally launch the game and what happens?
It doesn’t do as well as I’d hoped. In-fact, it did so poorly I felt like I had just wasted two months of my life on some silly project.
But then, today, I remembered why I do so many diverse things to begin with; and it has very little to do with the success of the projects.
Actually, the reasons I write, and make apps, and create silly videos for my projects, and why (for a little while) I tried my hand at making jewelry, has everything to do with failure, not succeeding.
You see, when you have many different pursuits like this, it allows your brain to develop new ways of solving problems.
When we spend our time so diligently focused on one type of work or a specific type of thinking, the part of our brains that deals with that work become stronger while everything else stays the same.
We basically train ourselves to think in only one type of way. Which is ok, if you never want to think creatively.
Having a lot of different side projects or hobbies that are different than your regular work or study allows you to kind of explore different types of problems in many different ways.
And because we can view these things as side projects, experiments, or “interests,” the pressure to do them really well is pretty low. We don’t have to worry about ever succeeding or doing remarkable work with side projects because we always have a day job to fall back on.
This freedom to explore and tinker only strengthens the value we get from thinking differently about the various types of problems we encounter.
It’s no real wonder Einstein was obsessed with learning to play the violin, or why Elon Musk prides himself on being an expert in not only electrical vehicles but also rocket science.
If you want a way to start thinking more creatively today, start pursuing some really different things that might interest you.
And if you aren’t sure about where to start, browse the internet (sites like Kickstarter or Etsy are good starting points) and find people who are doing interesting things, then ask them how they do them.