Creativity is a process that improves with iteration over time. The most creative people in the world have mastered their craft. They have developed their skills over a long period of time to become remarkable at what they do.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
– Scott Adams
No Two are Created Equal
There are two types of people in the world, left brained and right brained. According to the theory of left-brain/right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people prefer one type of thinking over the other. Traditionally, a person who is “left-brained” is often said to be more logical, analytical, and objective, whereas, a person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.
More generally speaking, the left side of the brain tends to control many aspects of language and logic, while the right side tends to handle spatial information and visual comprehension. You can learn more about this research here.
As programmers, we are left-brained people. Since childhood, we have been engaged in brainstorming and problem solving activities and therefore, our brains work that way. Most of us lack a creative instinct and the ability to understand art or other creative forms.
However, programmers can develop and train the right brain to be more creative at work. We have compiled some healthy and good practices of life to encourage your right brain and develop a good creative eye.
Have a Creative Friend Circle
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
– Jim Rohn
Yes! company matters a lot. When you have creative people around you, their energy reflects and influences your actions and decisions. Creative friendships are important to well-being and success. Creative people see the world with a different, carefree, and yet contemplative perspective. They never disappoint someone by letting him down with negative or pessimistic comments. Instead, they tend to practice constructive criticism and help others in redefining themselves and, in doing so, inject creativity in them. So, have some chit chat over a cup of coffee with your artist/designer colleagues and friends.
Avoid Negative Criticism
“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”
― Bob Dylan
Too much criticism is the biggest enemy of creativity. Criticism and creativity cannot live in the same place. Criticism destroys the seeds of creativity in your mind and makes you an over-thinker. An over-thinker can only complicate his problems by thinking about every possible aspect of the problem before implementation. He ends up being a pessimist full of negative thoughts. Always encourage others and admire their work no matter how small or how basic. Admire them wholeheartedly and point out their mistakes in a positive manner. The journey through life is so much easier when we approach it with optimism and admiration.
I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.
– Robert Browning
Nature is logical and creative at the same time. Look around you, everything created by God Almighty is so beautifully creative but seems logical and thoughtful also. Look at ourselves – we human beings are created so magnificently beautiful yet have the most complicated logical nervous system. Have you ever observed the beautiful green leaves or flower petals in your flower pot? Colorful, fabulously arranged, and yet following the Golden Ratio, Fibonacci series of numbers, aren’t they? All it takes is to have a keen observation, a voracious curiosity and a thoughtful mind. Always find some time, apart from tough deadlines and sticking in an office chair, to spend with mother nature. Go for a walk, lie down on the grassy ground and observe the sky, observe the birds chirping around you as they wander in the sky in flocks, go deep sea diving and free up your mind. Spending some time with nature and yourself is a great creativity booster.
Creativity is the residue of time wasted.
– Albert Einstein
Do you know that you do your best work when your mind is wandering. A new study in the journal Psychological Science shows that allowing your mind to wander might actually be good for your creative thinking. When you allow your mind to wander, it unconsciously processes all of the information you pushed into it. As result, you will be more imaginative when you’re not be focusing on anything in particular. If you have a boring job or have to complete tedious tasks, daydreaming can help you deal with boredom, which can often be mentally taxing. Eric Klinger, a social psychologist, suggested that 75 percent of workers in “boring jobs” use daydreams to help them deal with their work.
Simulation is Fun
All laws are simulations of reality.
– John C. Lilly
If you are good in mathematics, you can simulate natural patterns using computer programming in various languages and packages. Simulation is a great way of understanding the logic and creativity of nature. I myself came from a simulation background. I found programming quite fun to understand in my bachelor days because of the chance to simulate natural patterns and phenomenon we study in physics, chemistry and biological sciences. As a kick-starter to learn simulation, read the book, “Nature of Code” by Daniel Shiffman and learn to combine JS, ProcessingJS and mathematical concepts by subscribing to this simulation course by Khan Academy which is a practical walk-through to the original book. From Newton’s laws to chaos and fractals, many natural phenomenon are discussed in this book. Simulation helps you to understand nature and its creativity in an interactive way.
I learned how to draw from being bored in school. I would doodle on the margins of my paper.
– Kevin Nealon
Doodles are simple drawings that can have clear representational meaning or can be composed of abstract lines. People doodle when their attention is occupied somewhere else. In short, doodling means to draw and sketch aimlessly. Feeling bored in a long client call or a meeting? Just doodle about what you are hearing or seeing. Along with a great time passer and a boredom killer, doodling is also useful in thinking through problems, memorizing information, and generally being more creative. Take meeting notes in the form of doodles. And if you like what you doodle, odds are good it will engage you emotionally, which means you’ll be more likely to remember things you doodled, thus, opening the creative doors of your mind.
Play Video Games
Some people say video games rot your brain, but I think they work different muscles that maybe you don’t normally use.
– Ezra Koenig
Playing games boosts your creativity and makes your reflexes strong. Linda Jackson, professor of psychology and lead researcher on a study of nearly 500 12-year-olds, found that the more kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories. This study has found a strong correlation between video games and creativity. Moreover, playing games with headphones will enhance your auditory along with visual perception.