In building your creative muscles, it is important to learn to expand your thinking BEYOND the obvious.
When speaking on creativity, I sometimes divide the audience into 3 groups. I will then ask each group to think of potential uses for a simple household object - say a chair or a piece of paper or a spoon.
I will ask Group #1 to stop at 3 ideas, Group #2 to stop at 8 ideas, and Group #3 to come up with 13 ideas. Now, here is what is interesting: Group #3 often has the best and most creative ideas.
Why? Well I am sure that they say to themselves (perhaps unconsciously): "Hey, we have to come up with 13 ideas for a spoon … that's nuts … we'd better let our minds go totally crazy." And the result is often amazingly creative.
When boosting your creativity, you need to break from convention and from what is called convergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the type of thinking you need to respond to a need or problem with the most logical or reasonable idea. It is what helps us survive - we have an issue and we deal with it as logically as possible. But, convergent thinking also stifles creativity.
The opposite of convergent thinking is divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is when you let your mind flow (go crazy) - giving it license to explore all the nooks and crannies of your imagination. It is divergent thinking that sometimes leads to super creative ideas.
Our minds are programmed to think by convergent thinking. That is OK. We need that. But, when in a situation where you need to think creatively (13 uses for a spoon??), well then take off the reins and let that bronco in your head run free. You never know!!
"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea . . .
when it is the only one you have."