Thinking creatively takes a sharp mind. And the best way to ensure your mind is and stays as sharp as it can be is to make sure you use it as much and as often as possible. That means leaning new stuff all the time. Not only does it help keep your brain cells active and firing fast, but studying a variety of topics over time also gives you new perspectives and new information that will pop up and be helpful in the most unusual and surprising ways.
Learning a new language will help you recognize and interpret patterns. Opening yourself up to new cultures teaches you that there are many different ways to do things. This in turn helps you think creatively about the problems you’re solving. It helps you think outside the box.
There’s a reason we spent so much time in school at a young age. It’s not really about learning about algebra, geometry, world capitals, and literature of Victorian England. It’s about learning how to make connections, how to think, and how to get good at processing new information.
The key to staying that way and even getting better and better is to take the time to learn something new each month, each week, and each day. The good news is that it’s now easier than ever before to continue learning. Thanks to multimedia and the internet, you have courses, classes, books, lectures, “webinars,” and the likes ready at your fingertips. Let’s run through some examples of how you can continue to learn something new on a regular basis and keep your mind sharp.
Start local. There are lots of fun and interesting continued education classes available through your community library or colleges in your area. You may also find some interesting opportunities through your job. Ask around and see if there are extra classes or courses you can take in your free time. Not only will they keep your mind sharp, they will make you a more valuable team and family member as well.
Reading is a great daily activity to sharpen the mind and learn something new. Challenge yourself to read one new book a month or even a week. Explore material outside of your typical genres. Read a piece of fiction one week, some non-fiction on an interesting topic the next, and then move to a literary classic. Changing it up frequently will sharpen your mind even further, and it does wonders for expanding your horizons. If you find it hard to read or to find the time to read, try audio books. You can listen while you commute or even while you clean up around the house and yard.
No matter how busy you are, you can make time for this. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Spending even 15 to 30 minutes per day on learning something new will do you a lot of good. Don’t think about just the mind either. Learn a new craft or pick up a new skill that will come in handy around the house. Mix it up and keep yourself on your toes.
Sign up for an online class, watch some YouTube videos or Ted Talks, and keep looking for opportunities to sharpen your skills and gain some new ones. Look into anything and everything that seems interesting. Keep learning and keep adding to this vast library of knowledge and experiences that you can draw from when it comes time to think creatively. Not only will it help you there, it will also enrich all areas of your life and keep you young at heart.