Knowledge and experience are the building blocks for ideas. They’re your Legos. When you connect them, creativity blooms and ideas blossom. And the more Legos you have—the more you know and experience—the more opportunities you have to create something spectacular. So learn as much as you can learn. Do as much as you can do. Explore. Take risks. Sing in the shower. Face your fears. Try quinoa. Fill your tub with Legos.
Do these things, too:
Travel. Go places you’ve never been. Across the globe or even just across town. Experiencing new places and cultures can immensely build your creative arsenal. Take designer Stefan Sagmeister. Every seven years, he closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to refresh their creative outlook.
Read. Read books, old and new. Take a break from Instagram. Enhance your vocabulary. Better your understanding of language. Reading helps you find inspiration and gain new knowledge. It even improves your intelligence.
Switch up your routine. Take a new route home after work. Listen to music you wouldn’t typically listen to. Turn on a show you wouldn’t typically watch. Find a new hobby.
Meet new people. More importantly, engage with people who are different from you. Old and young, from all walks of life. Talk to the person on the elevator. Make friends with people at the bar. Gain insight on the many different perspectives people have on life.
Keep a notebook. Or use the Notes app in your phone. Or start a Word doc on your computer. If you see something interesting, write it down. Emulate people like Mark Twain, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, George Lucas and Larry David. Fill your notebook with random, half-ass ideas. Then look back on them periodically. One day, your kernel of an idea might pop.
By filling your head with knowledge and your life with experiences, you’ll have a lot more to work with when generating ideas.
So you’ve got your tub overflowing with Legos. Now comes the hard part… organizing them.
(This is part 2 of a 3-part series on creativity. If you missed it, read Part 1)