I’m sure you must have heard people throw around the words, creative thinking, or creative thinker, think outside the box, or think creatively. You may be wondering, what exactly does it mean to think creatively or to think outside the box.? Does it mean our thoughts are compartmentalized? Can anyone become a creative thinker? Or what do I have to do to become creative with my thinking?

To start answering these questions, you must first recognize that your brain is a powerful thought producing factory. The brain is always engaged in different kinds of thoughts every second of every day. When we allow our brains to perform their full function, it can help us in countless ways. The brain can help a stay at home mum find creative ways to engage her little toddler at home and keep her sanity. The brain was what help scientists and doctors to come up with cures for various kinds of diseases that infect humans. By creatively using the brain’s power, engineers and technologists have developed new and improved ways to do multiple things that have improved our collective standard of living. An employee who started a successful business after being let go from his old job created his company because he engaged his brains. The salesman who came up with new strategies to boost the company sales and profits has learned how to harness the powers of the brain productively.

As powerful as the brain is, not many people use their brains productively. While some use their brains to figure out solutions to their problems, so many others use their brains to create problems for themselves. Some have used their brains to see opportunities in challenges, while others used their brains to tell them to run away from the challenge. A leader can use his brainpower to rally his followers towards a cause, while so many others will fail at achieving the same objective.

If we must fully utilize our brains’ power and get what we desire in life, we must learn how to think creatively. Here are five ways to become a creative thinker.

1.Believe it can be done

What is the important goal you are working on? Everything must start with your mind. Do you believe you can accomplish the goal? When you believe something can be done, your mind will become engaged, and you will find creative ways to do it. Believing opens the brain factory to start endorphins that will pave the way to a solution. That is creative thinking.

On the other hand, if all you can think of within your mind is that you cannot accomplish your goals, you are invariably disengaging your brains from thinking. You are telling your brains not to bother, that you are ready to accept defeat, and you are not looking for any solution. Do you want to become a creative thinker? You should start by getting rid of disempowering words such as – “impossible,” “It cannot be done,” “It won’t work” from your brain factory. Replace those words with “Possibility,” “It can be done,” “It will work.”

2. Watch your company

When it comes to the people around you, there are dream enablers, and there are dream destroyers. Guard your thoughts, protect your mind, and make sure that only the only things you let in are those things you actually want in your life. Our brain is like a computer; what you let in determines what it pours out to you. If you are surrounded by naysayers, people that do not believe in possibilities, they may rub off on you and indirectly limit the chances that your brain could potentially explore.

The company that you keep can either pollute or nourish your brainpower. Having the right people who can share ideas, words of encouragement, and motivation will provide nourishment to your brainpower and, in turn, will help boost your creative thinking ability. On the other hand, the wrong set of people will dampen your brainpower, and in effect, they will hinder your creativity. To be creative, you must ensure you are surrounded by the right people.

3. Don’t be a conformist

There are two major groups of people around you, those that conform and those that challenge the status quo. The conformist is traditional thinkers, while those that challenge the status quo are creative thinkers. Yes, there are times when it is always ideal to follow the norm and do things the way people have been doing things, but occasionally, it is okay to challenge the “usual.” It is often by challenging the usual that progress is made.

Elon Musk put his money where his mouth is by taking challenging the concept of a fuel-powered vehicle. He went all in and started Tesla – an electric-powered vehicle. Twenty years later, more people are now driving electric vehicles. Today, Tesla has become the most valuable car company in the world.

A few decades ago, almost all financial transactions took place right inside the banking halls. Some non-conformist thought of automated teller machines (ATM) to reduce the foot traffic in the bank and allow people to still carry out their transactions, but now instead of human interaction, they do it with machines. Many years later, with modern technologies, more transactions are now performed online, eliminating the idea of driving to the bank. The introduction of digital currency is poised to disrupt the financial institution ecosystems. A traditional thinker will resist this idea, while a creative thinker will be more receptive to learning about the new concept.

4. Ask empowering questions

When it comes to figuring out how we confront difficulty, we can either ask empowering or disempowering questions. When we ask such questions as – why did they treat me like this? Why don’t they want my ideas? We will not be able to move forward; we will only succeed in finding faults in others. By asking questions that empower our brain, we can supercharge it and help our brain become more creative to figure out solutions to our issues.

So instead of finding faults in others, you should ask yourself – “How can I do better?” “How can I solve this issue?”, by tasking your brains with these questions, you will be able to come up with answers and smart ideas that will help you to move forward.

5. Stretch your mind

An outside the box thinker is someone ready to stretch his mind to look for ideas and solutions beyond his immediate bounds. Stretching your mind allows you to bring all options to the table, and guide you through evaluating possibilities and eliminate options that are not feasible. Creative people are open, let themselves be inspired by others, and are receptive to using ideas that have worked for others to figure out solutions to their own issues.

To be creative, you have to be open-minded to test new concepts before you pass any judgment about whether an idea will work or not. When you are open-minded, you will not allow your biases or assumptions to dictate your reasoning; you will be willing to evaluate new ideas and concepts and look at problems in a new way.

Anyone can become a creative thinker by following the recommendations in this piece. Do not buy into the dogma that creativity is reserved only to artists, designers, or musicians. You can become more creative in your thinking; you just have to empower and utilize your brain effectively to work productively for you.

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