How To Become A More Creative Person | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

How To Become A More Creative Person

Moments of creative inspiration can be difficult to seize, let alone generate. But musician and author Peter Himmelman thinks anyone can tap into their creative potential -- with a little work. 

Himmelman talks to Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia about his new book Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind And Bring Your Ideas To Life, which presents straightforward techniques for accomplishing your goals and leading a more productive and innovative life. Here are some highlights. 

Unlearn Your Assumptions About Who Can And Cannot Be Creative

Himmelman said he believes too many people operate under the belief that creativity belongs to a particular type of occupation or person. 

“It’s the absolute worst idea in the world,” he said. 

Individuals in roles we do not usually consider creative -- like actuaries or consultants or mortgage lenders -- can exhibit moments of intense creativity in the way they confront problems or draw conclusions based on data, Himmelman said.

“Whenever I hear somebody say, ‘I’m not creative,’ I know that they have taken on this false sense of what that word means.”


Break Free From Elephant Ropes

Himmelman said an old story about elephants helps articulate how we are likely to hinder ourselves. 

The story goes that a trainer ties a baby elephant to a post with a heavy rope, conditioning the elephant to believe the rope is too sturdy to be broken. As the elephant grows older and stronger, she holds onto that belief. Even though she is strong enough now to easily break free, the belief is so ingrained that she never tries to escape, Himmelmann said. 

“We have so many tiny things in our lives that keep us from doing things,” Himmelman said. “The thing that makes these elephant ropes so insidious… is because we hardly take notice.”

Himmelman said identifying and dismissing ingrained, negative assumptions about ourselves is an important part of creativity.

“You have to unearth them so that you can shine a light on them, and once you do they disappear pretty much immediately.”


Lean On Inspirational People In Your Life 

Creative pursuits can be difficult when done on your own, Himmelman said, so look to people who can inspire and motivate you during a time of creative need.

“Who do you have in your corner? Who do you have as a sounding board?” Himmelman said. “If you don’t have those people, there’s no possibility that you will get anything together.”

Many people have no one or they’re surrounded by yes-men or yes-women, and that’s a problem, Himmelman said.

“The highest creative endeavor, I believe, is human interaction, one with another,” Himmelman said. “We human beings are spiritual, magical, mystical things, and when we communicate with each other, there’s no higher level of creativity.”


Click on the ‘Play’ button above to listen to the entire segment.

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