Train yourself to think creatively with three exercises

Creative thinking is like physical fitness: Consistent exercise keeps your mind in shape. Train your mental muscles with these creativity workouts:

  • Choose four or five objects from around your office or home. Set them on a table and try to think of different uses for each object. A spatula, for example, might be useful as a paintbrush; a hat could be used as a planter. Try this exercise with your co-workers to see what outlandish ideas people can come up with.


  • Argue both sides of a question. Take a simple statement, like “Broccoli is good for you.” Come up with two reasons why it might be true. Then think of two reasons why it might not be true. You’ll get better at viewing ideas from different angles, and seeing advantages and disadvantages, to each position. This will lead to clearer thinking and better decisions.


  • Look at a famous painting like the Mona Lisa and brainstorm at least five explanations for her mysterious smile. Look at photographs or images on the Internet and create a quick story for them—what are the people doing? This teaches you to look beyond the surface for causes and reactions.


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