03/08/2016 08:26 am ET Updated Mar 09, 2017

7 Simple Secrets to Being More Creative

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As a professional speaker and book author, I often teach programs and coach executives on how to be more creative and innovative. Everyone that I work with wants to know what the secrets are to be more creative. The reality is simple, it's just about making small changes. The good news is just by changing or adding small things to the buffet of your life, you can almost immediately be more creative at work and at home. Here are 7 simple secrets to being more creative.

1. Acknowledge and embrace the fact that you are creative
One of the pitfalls that many people face is they deny their creativity. They actually will say out loud "I am not creative." Not True! Have you ever been around five-year-old child? They are all creative. The reality is if you think about it, you were also very creative as a child, and came up with all sorts of wild colorful and zany ideas. The reality is this -- you're still the same person, so you still have the ability to be creative. Everyone is born creative the system just wants to discourage us from using it. Every well-meaning teacher, parent and authority figure as we were growing up (although they are well-meaning), discouraged us from being creative by insisting that we color inside of the lines, followed the rules and not question anything. You had it and you still have it.

2. Make a list of all the things that stimulate your creativity
Yes, you do know the things that get your wheel spinning that stimulate your creativity and get your neurons firing. What is it? Is it a trip to a local museum? Is it going for a swim? Is it going to one of your favorite websites? Is it cooking, yoga or hiking in the mountains? Discover and schedule the activities that you can do on a regular and consistent basis that stimulate your creativity. It probably doesn't take a genius to figure out if you do them more, you be more creative.

3. Read and study creativity
It seems counter intuitive but one of the ways to get more creative is to actually study creativity techniques and approaches. There are 32,532 books listed under the category of creativity on Amazon. Each of those books have tools and techniques and ideas to help you learn more about being creative. I believe that there are two kinds of books you should read about creativity; books that teach you how to be more creative, and books about creative people. I believe reading those different categories of creativity books can lead to great insight into creativity and innovation. You can also look at wonderful websites like this one,, Ted, You Tube, and many others. There is a universe of information available on the Internet for free.

4. Decide to design in "different" for your life
What does that mean? what that means is to make sure to design your life to do things that are different in order to stimulate your creativity. Eliminate the "same old, same old". For example, when you are driving home from work instead of driving home your regular way, drive home a different route just to be different, and to see different sites. When going out to eat, instead of going to your favorite restaurant, go to restaurant you've never been to before. When going on vacation, instead of going to the same old place go somewhere you've never ever been. Go fly a kite. Take up knitting. Learn how to play the bagpipes. Try to discover new experiences that you've never done in order to enhance and stimulate your creativity.

5. Be around more creative people
I recently read a book called A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer, the famous movie producer. What I found most fascinating about his book was the fact that he regularly schedules conversations with people that he finds fascinating, and people that he is curious about. He finds this to be tremendously stimulating to his creativity as a movie producer. Figure out what people you can be around who are more creative, and that think differently than you, and maybe even challenge your way of thinking. This can have a tremendous impact on your level of creativity.

6. Take time off
It seems as if in our society today we are all working twenty/ four /seven. The advent of amazing technology has made it easy between email and text and phones to do that. In order to be more creative every now and then you do have to unplug, and take a break from the technology, and not answer email when you're at the beach. Often by getting away from all of the world's buzzing and busyness, you can come up with some great ideas.

7. Keep an idea journal
When I mention a journal to most people, they roll their eyes and think of it as a book that they would write in every single day. I'm not talking about that kind of journal. What I'm talking about is a book or a binder that you have somewhere nearby, and when you have creative ideas, creative thoughts, and random musings, you can reach over open up your little book and write the ideas down before they get away. Great creative thinkers throughout history have done this. Another great advantage of keeping a journal is you can go back and look at ideas from the past and remember what you forgot that you thought about. Ideas can be like the inside of an old pinball machine- they can bounce off each other and create new ones.

Try these ideas regularly and consistently and I guarantee you can reconnect to the creativity you have always had. As Edward de Bono once said, "creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."