How to be Creative (Even if You Don’t Think You Are)

I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of studies about creativity like beer makes you more creative, etc.

While you might just pass it off as lame pseudoscience nonsense, there is truth in the original studies.  What I’ve done is to pull together a number of studies about boosting creativity and combined the results into a regimented creativity ritual of sorts.

Why did I do this

Because I like to take action, but after reading posts about “9 ways to enhance creativity”,  my reaction is simply, “oh cool.”  9 different ways is overwhelming and it never ends up improving my life because I don’t know when or where to start.

So instead, I’ve combined a few different creativity boosting techniques into one process you can try. I’m sure there’s some problem in your life right now requiring creative thought – this will help you with that problem.

And it’s something you can do today.


1) Choose one problem to solve.

I use the term “problem” loosely here.  It’s just important that you pick one thing to focus on.  This isn’t about completing a task, it’s about thinking in new ways and coming up with new solutions.

How to Increase Your Creativity

1) Wait until the evening when it’s dark.  Keep the room you’re in dark.

2) Have one or two alcoholic beverages. Don’t get drunk. No coffee.

3) Put in your headphones and put on some ambient sounds.  Try Coffitivity, Rainy Mood, music without vocals, or a combination of them.

4) The problem you’re solving, you have two years to do it.  It’s also not your problem.  There’s someone in Fiji (a friend of a friend) you’re doing this for.

5) Before you move on to a solution, reconsider whether you correctly addressed the right problem.

That’s it.

Even though it would work for you, I’m guessing no one in their right mind would just copy that list and go for it.  So here’s the reasoning behind those six steps.

 1. Darkness increases creativity

We feel more secure and comfortable in the dark. From a study by the Journal of Environmental Psychology, “…darkness elicits a feeling of being free from constraints and triggers a risky, explorative processing style.”

This explorative processing style produces more creative thought and outside-the-box ideas.

2. Alcohol increases creativity

Our working memory keeps certain thoughts at hand and blocks out other stuff we don’t want to focus on. Alcohol essentially decreases our working memory.

This would be a problem if you were really trying to get something done, but since you want an influx of different ideas, it helps because you become less capable of keeping out other thoughts. Mixing ideas together is basically the root of creativity.

3. Ambient sound increases creativity

A quiet, near silent environment will improve your focus. However, the goal here is not focus, it’s creativity.

little ambient sound like the chatter and click-clanking of a coffee shop is enough to pry away your focus a bit and free your mind.

4. Psychological distance increases creativity

You can probably sense this one happening if you concentrate on it right now. Basically, you limit your own creativity when solving your own problems, but with more psychological distance, it becomes easier to be creative.

This means if you have a long time to solve it, if it’s someone else’s problem, and even if that person physically further away from you, this makes it easier to think abstractly about the problem and potential solutions.

 5. Re-conceptualizing is a habit of the creative

This isn’t so much a way to boost creativity, but more of a gateway to productive creativity. Spending more time on the problem itself will help you identify what really needs solving, and lead you to entirely different and more creative solutions.

As Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

Go Try it

The whole process is laid out in 5 easy steps, so give it a shot and see what happens.

P.S. The first step said that you should do this in the evening. You don’t have to, it’s just most likely the time when you can relax, or have a drink, or be in the dark .

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