Your Creativity Muscle

All humans have muscle mass. If any of us hit the gym and started pumping iron, our muscle mass would increase. This is a simple fact. We also each also have a natural genetic predisposition of how much muscle we can grow. I, for example, would never end up on the cover of a muscle magazine no matter how much I hit the gym. But I certainly could build muscle mass and increase my strength.

Creativity is no different. I want you to think of your creativity as a muscle, something that can grow when exercised. Each of us has the ability to grow our creative capacity and can increase our abilities in this area. In the same way that I won’t likely be on the cover of Muscle & Fitness Magazine anytime soon, this doesn’t mean you will automatically become the next Mozart or DaVinci. However, nearly every person can grow their creative capacity by 20, 30, or even 50 percent. Imagine how much more effective you could be at your job or in your family.

The best athletes practice the hardest. LeBron James and Tiger Woods are known to work relentlessly at their craft. Why, then, are we are expected to have instant creativity with zero practice or development? Everyone has creative potential, but it needs to be developed in the same way that Michael Jordan worked on his free throw.

Since most of us have ignored our creativity muscle for years, those skills may have become dormant. Muscles reach a state of atrophy when not used, and your creativity may have reached a similar state. Now it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and begin to develop your creative capacity in order to reach your highest potential.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” The key takeaway here is that we need to nurture and develop our creativity regularly, just like an exercise program. You may be thinking, “That sounds good, but it doesn’t apply to me. I’ve never been creative. I’m just not a creative person.” Roger von Oech, the legendary author on the topic of Creativity, says, “Studies have shown the main difference between creative people and others was ‘The create people thought they were creative, and the less creative people didn’t think they were.’ Everyone has the spark of creativity in them.” Now we need to release that spark.

The building blocks of creativity are innate human characteristics that we all have:

• Curiosity
• Imagination
• Synthesis (making connections)
• Awareness
• Memory

If you think of these like muscle groups, we can start to break down specific exercises to develop each attribute. For example, one exercise to build curiosity is to spend an entire day questioning everything. Ask these three questions at every chance you get:

• Why?
• What if?
• Why not?

Why does ice cream come in a cone? What if we lived to be 200 years old? There are no electrical outlets on airplanes, why not? This is such a simple and powerful exercise to tap in to your own natural sense of curiosity. If you do this on a regular basis, you will be amazed at all the fresh ideas you generate.

For more exercises to build your Creativity Muscles, visit .