Becoming creative is not as difficult as some people think it is. Creative people are ordinary folk, like you and me. The first basic step towards becoming more creative is to believe that you are intrinsically creative.

The human brain is the most powerful, portable and flexible computer ever created. Use it to bring out your creativity.

Experts can be wrong

Trust your own instincts. If you believe in your idea, pursue it until you have achieved what you set out to do, or until you have gathered sufficient evidence to move in another direction. While it is important to listen to other experienced individuals, do remember that even experts can be wrong.

In 1899, Mr Charles Duell, the Commissioner of the United States Office of Patents said: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” He proposed to President McKinley to abolish the Patents Office.

In 1927, in defence of silent movies, Mr Harry Warner, president of Warner Brothers Pictures, said: “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

In 1962, Decca Records turned down The Beatles, reasoning that “groups with guitars are on their way out”.

In 1981, Mr Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, said “640K ought to be enough for anybody”. We know today, it’s hardly enough.

When?

When are you at your most creative? Some people work best at the crack of dawn while others like to burn the midnight oil.

Knowing when your creative juices flow allows you to be highly productive in your creativity exercises. For example, Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime minister, worked best at night; Emile Zola, a late 19th-century French novelist worked optimally during mid-day; and American poet Robert Frost, penned his best poems at night.

Where?

Where is the best place for you to be more creative? Some people require a quiet, formal environment such as an office space, while others get inspiration while walking the dog.

Knowing where you are more likely to think creatively helps to bring forward creative ideas. For example, Mozart needed to exercise before he composed music; German philosopher Immanuel Kant liked to work in bed with blankets arranged in a special way; mathematician Archimedes solved problems in a hot bath; and supercomputer inventor Seymour Cray dug a tunnel beneath his house when he had his creative blocks.

You don't have to be an expert

The best thing about creativity is that it has no boundaries. Some people believe that you need to be an expert in a specific field to creatively invent new products within that field. However, this is not true.

What you do need is to be passionate about what you are inventing and be driven for a solution to a problem. For example, the Wright brothers, who invented the airplane, were bike mechanists; the Kodak camera was invented by a bank clerk; the pneumatic tyre was invented by a veterinarian; the ball point pen was invented by a sculptor while the parking meter was invented by a journalist.

Mistakes and failure can be good

Both making mistakes and failing can be good teachers in encouraging creativity. When you fail, it forces you to think creatively from other perspectives.

Many innovative ideas are born from mistakes, accidents or failure. For example, Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he invented the light bulb. Werner von Braun made 65,121 mistakes before he developed the ballistic missile.

In the 1950s, Philip Knight conceived Nike shoes when he wrote his thesis for his MBA and got a C grade. John Pemberton first invented Coca-cola as a medicine, not a soft drink. Viagra was originally invented for hypertension. When patients returned asking for more, doctors became suspicious. Now, it is a popular cure for erectile dysfunction.

Being creative should be a joyful experience, something that enriches your life and leads to better things.

Next: How to leverage nature to become more creative