A Simple Daily Practice to Boost Creativity

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein

Creativity is a skill, not some genetic characteristic you're blessed with from birth. Even more, it's a powerful one that gives you the ability to take the path least traveled or travel outside the box of ordinary altogether. It's an advantage; whether you're investigating unique solutions to life's problems or adding a dash of originality to old concepts, it's valuable.

Like every skill, if you practice and develop it, you'll gain competence in it. James Altucher, a multi-millionaire investor, author, and entrepreneur, swears by his daily practice of creativity. His exercise inspired me to start my own, and since then, I've discovered a couple of minor twists shared by Darryn Kruse and Edward De Bono.

Six Hat Thinking

Edward De Bono created an approach to problem-solving named the Six Hat Method. His strategy involves separating your approach to a problem into six thinking styles (each one as a different hat) to guide a group thinking session cohesively. Suppose an organization wants to restructure a manufacturing process. In that case, they might put on the process themed blue hat to organize and plan it and, once finished, then wear the data themed white hat to breakdown the numbers and evaluate the factual data. No one is actually wearing hats, but by everyone honoring one style of thinking, everybody's on the same page, and groupthink is enhanced. This method can also help individuals. Forcing your thinking into a narrow approach can reveal details you may miss with a wholly open and broad perspective. 

The Green Hat focuses on creativity - encouraging radical ideas, alternative views, and new possibilities. It's an opportunity to express concepts and abstract ideas without judgment. Whenever you imagine wearing the green hat, your aim should be towards a quantity of ideas, not quality. Judge the quality later. This form of vomiting every thought is a great way to discover new possibilities. 

The thing about great ideas is it may take twenty bad ones to reach a good one, but they show up eventually if you explore long enough.

It helps to remember that creativity is a skill, not some genetic characteristic. Like any skill, if you practice and develop it, you'll gain competence.


Darryn Kruse, a campus principal, and teacher created an exercise that blends well with the Green Hat Method of thought. It provides a little structure to the practice. It's called the ROPE method of brainstorming:

Record all ideas.

Original ideas are encouraged (there are no stupid ideas).

Put off evaluation (judgement can be done later).

Expand on ideas you already have or someone else's.

What can you do now

1) Pick a topic to make a creative list around. The list will be a minimum of 10 different ideas. The subject can either relate to something directly to your life:

Or something that does not affect you directly (or just right now) but you can still exercise creativity on:

2) Write down a minimum of 10 ideas using the Green Hat Method of thinking and ROPE approach. It's easy to come up with three-five, but you have to stretch your creativity muscles after that. 

3) Just like an exercise, repeat daily.  

4) Wait a few days, then review the list to evaluate and elaborate on the best items. Are there any golden ideas you want to execute on now or someday?

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