I mentioned in “How to Think Creatively: Part 1” to change up your environment and to seek new experiences and opportunities in order to not be stagnant with the same ideas and information. That’s what I’m going to talk about now.
We adapt to our native environments and learn to use certain skills and personality traits for each environment. We’re on mental auto-pilot, which is comfortable and familiar. However, think of when you travel or do something new, that new environment is forcing us to adapt to new people, a new culture, and a new way of thinking or behaving. We might begin to discover new aspects about ourselves, like new strengths, fears, and prejudices. It can be scary, but we become less frightened when we arm ourselves with knowledge about the unknown. And then we can master the unfamiliar to become a better-rounded individual. What other way is there to grow spiritually, mentally, physically aside from going off of auto-pilot and diverting from the usual?
Stimulate creativity by doing something different and possibly out of your comfort zone. You will create new connections and leverage those things around you. It will inspire new ideas, challenge old ideas, and draw into areas of your life that remain hidden in routine. Challenge yourself to do one of these things once a week, or every other week. It’s up to you to decide how often to engage yourself with new information and stimuli. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Visit a gallery or museum
Read a magazine you’ve never read (you can borrow tons of well-known magazines from the library)
Watch a foreign film
Write a poem
Eat an ethnic meal you’ve never had before
Talk to someone from another culture (visit ethnic grocery markets)
Think of a subject that interests you, go to the library, and check out books related to that subject
Go to your local Chamber of Commerce to see what’s going on around town and surrounding area
Go for an hour drive out of town on a route you’ve never taken (take your GPS just in case J)
Go for a walk in a neighborhood you’ve never walked in
Rearrange your furniture
Eat at a restaurant by yourself
Go to a movie by yourself
Get an account with StumbleUpon.com and stumble away
Make a meal you’ve never made before
Write a letter to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
Get a penpal (Google “penpal”)
Listen to a radio station you don’t ever listen to
Visit someone in a retirement home
Visit someone in a hospital
Volunteer for an organization
Go to a coffee shop, mall, large bookstore, etc. and people watch
Some of these will make you feel uncomfortable. Some of these will intrigue you and inspire you. Good! That’s the goal here. If you don’t want to do some of these alone, do it with your significant other or a friend (except for go to a movie and restaurant by yourself). Broaden yourself. If you like mundane, being stagnant, and not challenging yourself, that’s fine. But I imagine that if you’re still reading, you’re not like that all the time. The world, your very own city or town has so much to offer you if you would just let yourself go. Honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
If you missed the other How to Think Creatively parts, you can find them here:
Let me know in the comments about how you intend to grow as an individual in 2013. Or tell us some of your ideas about how to get out of your native environment.
Have a great January, home philosophers!