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6 ways to harness your creativity (and make money too!)

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Creativity isn’t just for artists or kids. It’s an essential skill for people of all ages at work and in life. Research shows engaging in creativity boosts our immune system and lifts our mood. While a study by Adobe found that people who think of themselves as ‘creative’ enjoy 17 per cent more household income that those who don’t.

As the world turns upside down in response to Covid-19, why not flex your creative muscle, enjoy a daily natural high and make a little extra cash by trying these fun ideas.

  1. Consume content outside your comfort zone

    – We all have our favourite TV shows and insta accounts but if we want to ignite fresh ideas we need to find fresh inspiration. The more we vary the content going into our brain, the more original the creativity will be going out. Do you always read non-fiction? Make your next book a novel. Love a Hollywood thriller? Go for a foreign film instead. Are you a country music tragic? Then make a playlist of pure 80s pop! (bonus points for dancing)

  2. Walk your way to wonder

    Research tells us a simple walk stimulates up to 60% more creative thinking than sitting. From Einstein to Edison, Beethoven to Steve Jobs, many brilliant minds have used walking as a way to induce breakthrough creativity. Feeling stuck in a creative rut, get up and out of the house. Let the fresh air fill your lungs and stimulate your imagination. You could even build a business like Chuck McCarthy’s who takes lonely people on walks around LA for $7 a mile.

  3. See between the scenes

    – Creativity is about finding new connections by seeing something extra in the ordinary. If you own a smart phone, you already have a high quality camera at your fingertips. Try taking photos of more than just friends and family. Look deeper at the world around you for interesting patterns, textures and changes in the light. And while you’re filling up hard drives full of fabulous photos, why not sell them to stock websites. With commission rates averaging at 25%, you might not make millions but you could earn enough to buy a new camera. Start with Getty Images, Shutterstock and Dreamtime.

  4. Pay to learn then get paid to teach

    – Thanks to the internet, we can learn just about anything, anytime from anyone. Companies like Udemy, Masterclass and Skillshare offer online courses on creativity that are as diverse as how to write a graphic novel to how to build an adventure canoe. Once you’ve mastered the basics in a topic you love, what’s stopping you from charging someone else to learn what you did. You could setup a profile, create your own course and start making money by sharing what you know.

  5. Pump up the tunes

    – It was Nietzsche who said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Music affects us in countless ways. It’s essential for every wedding, road trip or pre-game pump-up. But recent studies also confirm it amplifies our creativity by enabling more divergent thinking in the brain. Want to boost your ability to think different, turn up the volume. And better yet, you could even get paid to listen by jumping on Slicethepie.com. They pay you to review unsigned artists and bands.

  6. Sleep more and sleep often

    – By far the best way to improve our creativity is by doing nothing. Tucked up in bed or curled up on the couch, scientists tell us that sleep is a powerful tool for unlocking breakthrough ideas. By giving our conscious brain a rest, we let our subconscious mix and match all our thoughts in new and novel ways. But not all sleep is created equal. According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you really want the benefits, you need around 90 minutes of sleep before it has any significant effect on your creative ability. In other words, take longer naps!

About Mykel Dixon

mykeld@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Mykel Dixon is the author of Everyday Creative: A Dangerous Guide To Making Magic At Work (Wiley $29.95). He is a musician by trade, gypsy by nature and prolific anti-perfectionist moonlighting as an award-winning speaker, creative leadership advisor and event curator. Mykel works with leaders and teams of fortune 500 and ASX 200 listed companies to unleash breakthrough creativity. Find out more at www.mykeldixon.com

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