The world is full of general advice on how to think more creatively. The challenge with general advice, even from a trusted source, is that it’s seldom exactly what you need. After all, no 2 people are the same.
There is a way to make general advice work for you, though. You need to adapt it.. to play with the ideas a little. That’s what this article is all about.
Here’s an example of how I played with a general idea, to find a super-effective way to boost my creative productivity.
I once read a book that said listening to classical music whilst working, made you more creative. It went into heavy detail regarding the impact of classical music on the mind. As a lover of funk, electro and punk, classical music just made me sleepy. I stuck with it for as long as I could. I listened to the great classical composers and found that I loved Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams.
However, the beautiful music just made me restful and unproductive.
Then, I decided to adapt the idea a little. I tried listening to my kind of music when working on a creative project. I immediately found that it DID work. It had a direct, positive impact on my creativity and productivity. Often when I find myself writing, I will listen to the same album over and over again. It helps me stay in the zone. It seems I’m not alone. Years later I read an interview with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. Mullenweg said that when writing code, he would often loop the same music track and listen to it over and over again.
So, whilst I didn’t find classical music helpful for creative productivity, it did inspire me to try working to music, which I have done for the past two decades. By playing with the general idea, I was able to adapt it into something that has been a huge help to me.
The next time you see advice from a source you trust, even if the whole picture doesn’t fit, have a play with the general idea. Steal like an artist. Look for elements, which have the potential to work for you. You may be surprised what you end up with!