1) Live with awareness. There was a resounding consensus that inspiration is in everything and everywhere. Some of the artists I talked to draw their inspiration from contemplating nature, some from reading history books or reminiscing about their childhood, while others from observing and playing with architectural designs, shapes, and colors. The bottom-line: creativity does not happen in a vacuum. Picasso, for example, is known to have drawn inspiration for his Young Ladies of Avignon from roaming the hallways of the Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro.
2)Make space for your unconscious mind.Artists pointed out that they can best tune into their creative spirit when their critical, conscious mind is at rest. Some achieve that by meditation, some by hiking, while others by drinking a glass of wine or listening to music. The connection between our unconscious mind and creativity has been vastly supported by research, which found that we are most creative during our ‘non-optimal’ time of day (i.e. evening for morning people and morning for evening people), when we are more inclined to see unlikely connections; or when we distract our conscious mind with puzzles and other mentally challenging activities, thus making room for our unconscious mind. The old adage, “sleep on it” can in fact do wonders.
3) Exercise the creative muscle. Most artists agreed that just like any other skill, great creativity comes with practice. Of the artists I met, many admitted they often started with one idea and end up with a totally different one. Creativity is not just a spark of genius; creativity is also a process. So why wait, start today! You may be surprised with the outcome.
Linda Peia has worked with Ashoka in Mexico, Brazil, and currently D.C. An economist by training, she loves to explore the intersection between behavioral economics, neuroscience, and entrepreneurship.