How to Become Creative: Tips

Become Creative

Yum Yum…

Become creative, it is the quickest way to reach personal happiness and success.  Creativity is the fuel that advances humanity. Without it we are lost; without it we are simply skin-bags of organic matter; a fluke of biological evolution.  Our creativity is what makes us godly to everything else.  Amidst these lofty facts, although we all comprehend them on some level, most of us are creatively impotent.  We can’t get our creativity up.

Life is simply better when in a creative state. The complexities of the world jump out at us in a fascinating, non-oppressive manner; we view things more as a child does.  This is a good thing.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could go into outer space?  We did.  Why don’t we play thousands of individual pictures in a row?  We have movies.   Let’s give hundreds of mentally handicapped people the chance to become pop stars!  So was borne American Idol.  Creativity is the link between the present reality and the future could-be.  Creativity is not art, its abstract thinking made figurative.

So with all this in mind, I present to you a few useful ways to get your creative boner raging.

Become Creative: the Tips

Write down ten ideas every single day.  One of the best ways to become creative.  It doesn’t matter if you throw them out afterwards, just write them down.  It doesn’t matter how good they are, just write them down.  It doesn’t matter what topic they are on, nor how flushed out they are, and it definitely doesn’t matter if they are feasible (to anyone).  Ideas tend to roll into one another like pool balls.  The chain reaction occurs below the surface of your consciousness, but eventually you will pocket a good one, or several.  I find that writing down my ideas before I start my workday helps me stick to this commitment and kick-starts my brain before the real day begins[1].

Keep an idea journal. This could be a great place to keep those ten ideas you write every day, or however many you come up with.  I prefer to keep mine digital, because as a finance nerd I prefer to organize my ideas.  Your preferred system may be a paper notebook,  post-its, or writing all over yourself like some Prison Break super fan.  Sometimes keeping organized is a predicate to become creative.

Flip the script.  Pick an ideal or topic people hold dear and flip the script.  Be a contrarian, if only to yourself.  There are many, many ingrained beliefs instilled within us due to our upbringing—if only for a moment, pretend it’s all a bunch of crap.  Become creative at contradicting yourself.  Always thought real-estate is a good investment?  What about college?   There are no perfect shoes in which to walk through life; I bet you have been wearing yours for a while.  Try another pair.

Write every day.  I write every day, and not just for this site or others.  Sometimes I just practice; practice makes perfect when trying to become creative.  Do you think Conan O’Brien or Tina Fey became successful comedy writers after they were hired at SNL?  They practiced… a lot.  You may never be the best at anything you do, but you can sure be better than you are now.  What do you think William Hung would do?

Read.  Text messages don’t count.  Read anything.  Comic books (I recommend Watchmen), cheesy romance novels, classic literature, blogs, the newspaper, whatever.  Your mind will subtlety pick up on sentence structure, word choice and other stylistic flourishes various authors use and meld it all into your own unique voice.  It will be you, but better.  This is one of my favorite tips to become creative.

Debate a lot.   I was going to suggest “listen” and “talk” separately but I realized that both skills can be combined and exercised productively through debate.  Debating is different from arguing, although most people aren’t able to perceive the difference (simple solution: don’t practice with those people, their perceptive deficiencies will hamper their creativity but it doesn’t mean it has to hamper yours ).  Debate involves both listening and speaking.  One must listen carefully to catch the implications and exact words being used, and speaking effectively afterwards depends entirely on rapidly processing the heard words into a thoughtful counterargument, build, or aside.  As the debate deepens you will be forced to think of new ways to present or extend ideas, or you may lose in which case you are blessed enough to have learned something in full.  It’s likely some dots will connect and you will become more creative.

Become a creative by being a world citizen.  This does not require a visa and a boat load of time and money.  It requires you to step out of your comfort zone and learn about other cultures.  This can be achieved by eating out at a restaurant specializing in food you’ve never ate, or visiting a part of town you don’t normally.  It can be achieved by hopping in your car, or on a bus, train or plain and going somewhere.  This opens up your mind to new viewpoints and ideas.

Steal another person’s idea.  This sounds unethical and it may be pending on the idea you are stealing, but in all likelihood you won’t have the opportunity to steal a new, unimplemented idea.  The ideas I am talking about are those already out in the intellectual marketplace.  Did you like In-N-Out burger when you were out in California?  Maybe you can steal the operating model and, with only a few small tweaks you got an In-N-Out burger clone… in Ohio.  You become creative through the reapplication of an idea, not in the stealing itself.

Learn a new subject.  I personally think that theoretical physics and astronomy are the coolest stuff in the world, but obviously my life took another route.  Although it may be too late to contribute to that field it is certainly never too late to learn about it.  It helps be become creative by spurring my imagination.  It gets me thinking about bending light, alternate universes, relativity and the wedgies I would receive if I wasn’t a 200 pound athlete.  The point is that learning a new subject instigates your mind and allows you to view the world from yet another angle.

Embrace chaos. Many people live their lives in day to day routine.  I am guilty of this at times.  Try to shake things up.  Do you always go to the same bar?  Mix it up.  Are you afraid of hitting a jump on your skis? Don’t be a pussy.  Introduce a little bit of chaos into your life, whatever excites you enough to feel inspired, stimulated, or free.  Don’t put on clown makeup and do your best Heath Ledger impression, although I’m sure it will be dead on.

If you don’t have a raging creative right now, consult your doctor immediately.  Do you have other tips to become creative?

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[1] Some ideas are expansions or details to a another idea.  Sometimes they are colony-on-the-moon scale brain farts.

About Mitchell Pauly

Mitchell Pauly is a humorist, financial professional and entrepreneur. Follow him @Snarkfinance, and be sure to check out his website- You can learn more about him by visiting his Google+ profile.


  1. What a great collection of tips! The one called “Flip the script” sounds so interesting that I’ll give it a try. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I have my idea journal on a clipboard filled with bond papers. It comes very handy and I also written my goals on the first page, so that I would be well-informed on things that I muct achieve before the year ends. Great tips by the way.
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  3. My “idea journal” is my drafts page. It would probably be a good idea to actually have a journal I can bring with me anywhere in case I don’t have access to WordPress when I come up with something.
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