Most people still think being creative is a god-given gift. It's not. And today you can take the first step to become creative.

The idea that creativity can be learned is not new. I'm no pioneer in that sense. Back in the 60's and 70's Donald W. MacKinnon published very popular researches that supported that creativity could be learned. From then on, the idea of learning how to be creative just kept growing.

But it never got big enough to become common knowledge. Even today, with information within reach of anyone, most people believe you're either born creative or not. And that's not true.

In this article I'll reveal the basic mindset for being creative, shared by creatives in advertising, artists, computer programmers, marketers, start-ups entrepreneurs and anyone who uses creativity in their lives.

Creative people just operate in a certain way. And that can be learned. Of course some people have a natural predisposition to operating that way (which I would call creative talent), but anyone can become creative.

It all starts with one simple step: You have to consciously try to be creative.

What does that mean, to try to be creative? Well, let's define "creativity" first to help us understand what is it we are trying to do.

Defining "creativity" can get complicated. You could define it in a hundred different ways and they'd all be correct. Creativity is a subjective thing, so should be its definition, right?

For me, though, the simplest definitions work better. This is how I define it:

Creativity is the process of bringing into the world something that did not exist before.

I like this definition because it can be applied to any field of creativity and is still deep enough to carry the grandness of the concept. Defined this way, creativity can be about writing, painting, coding, creating layouts, business plans, products, solutions, ideas – anything big or small, concrete or abstract. But to its core it's still about originality. You can't call something creative if it has been done before. If it already exists.

By "trying to be creative" we'll be effectively doing a conscious effort to not settle for anything that may already exist. That's where creativity begins. The constant search for something that hasn't been done is the single most important characteristic of the creative way of operating.

From now on, make sure you're trying to be creative. Write "think creatively" on a post-it and paste it on your computer monitor or desk.

Here are a few things to keep in mind and help you think creatively:

  • The first idea you have is usually the first idea everyone has. It's not creative. Move past it.
  • Make a point of knowing what's new in your field. To create something that doesn't exist you need to know what does exist.
  • Trust your guts: if it feels it's been done, it probably has.
  • When you think you got to a great idea, don't stop. Keep going. You might be surprised at how much better your ideas can get if you don't stop at the first idea you like.
  • Don't fall in love with an idea too early. Allow yourself to keep exploring.

These tips will help you come up with more original ideas and keep pushing yourself to be creative. But remember, this is only the first step. Leave us a comment and join the creative discussion! Did you ever think of "being creative" as something we need to be reminded of?