“I can’t give a good presentation; I’m not creative enough.”
“I could never paint/draw/pitch/speak/photograph/write/design/build/code like she does; I’m not creative enough.”
“I just don’t know where to get good ideas; I’m not creative enough.”
Want to do interesting things? Here’s how.
The 5 Phonetic R’s of Creativity
Read — Creative people notice the world around them. Be a sponge: pay attention and absorb everything. Books, blogs, magazines, audio, and video. Your daily commute, the little things your friends and spouse and children say and do. Everything is fair game. Specifically for presentations, see what others are doing on TED and Slideshare. Make connections between the things that happen in your life and the stuff that feeds your mind.
Write — Keep a swipe file. Write things down in notebooks or journals. Personally, Evernote is my favorite tool. Take pictures with your phone. Make drawings. Write a blog. Don’t wait to write until you think you’ve gotten things figured out. In fact, writing is a great way to figure things out. You’ll see your ideas unfold as you write.
Rest — Your mind needs time and space to process, which means you can’t work 24/7. Sleep. Turn off the computer, take a walk, exercise. Take a bath or a shower (actually, you should do that anyway–not just to be creative). Get out of the house. Pray, reflect, be still. UPDATE: This article on Lifehacker explains some of the science behind rest and creativity.
Restrict — Creativity needs constraints and boundaries. Try the pomodoro technique (Dan Pink does it when he’s writing a book). When you design slides, impose limits: try one color, one font. See what you can design in just an hour. Try slides with pictures, no text. Try just 20 slides. Limit your talk to 10 minutes or 3 minutes. Experiment and see what you can do by thinking inside the box.
Risk — Try something you’ve never tried – you might fail! But you can learn from that. Or you might succeed. Either way, you won’t know unless you try. And what’s the worst that can happen? They can’t eat you (see rule #4).
Notice something about this list?
Creativity has less to do with innate talent and a lot more to do with habits.
In real life, depth of commitment is more important than talent. It’s more important than beauty or skill, more important even than luck, because its produce is perseverance, endurance, tenacity. – Steven Pressfield