How to Become 60% More Imaginative in 3 or More Easy Steps

po8dsb2ayo1fc2pRecently I’ve taken up walking. I’m not going on walks or strolls–no time for that. Rather, when I need to think something through, I walk around my condo, cats at my heels. It helps me think.

Then, completely coincidentally, I read this article a few days ago, and I now have actual proof that walking makes me more imaginative.

The article cites a study in which subjects were told to do one of the following for a short period of time: sit indoors, walk on a treadmill, walk outside, and so on.

They then took a test to measure their ability to think of alternate uses for common objects. Regardless of the location or environment, the walkers were found to be 60% more creative on the test.

Now, I still contend that this is a misuse of the word “creative” (see this blog entry from 2 years ago). There are tons of self-help books and articles claiming to teach you how to be more creative. Really, they’re teaching you how to be more imaginative. If you want to be more creative, go create something. Anything. But that’s a whole different subject.

The point is, walking does something to your brain to help you think outside the box, generate new ideas, and refine existing ideas. And it’s healthy!

The study didn’t mention taking a shower to be more creative. I wonder if there are other activities that promote creativity even more. When do you have your best ideas? While walking? Showering? Driving? Right before you fall asleep? While you’re brushing your teeth?

6 thoughts on “How to Become 60% More Imaginative in 3 or More Easy Steps”

  1. Oh this is very interesting and explains a lot! I think my most creative times are while showering (5 minutes blistering hot then another 2 minutes freezing cold – starts the day off right and help blood flow) and I even sometimes shower in the middle of the day when I have a big decision and need to think.

    The other is while driving in my car listening to a podcast. If I need to get the creative juices flowing, I will listen to a podcast about the topic I am trying to make a decision about which usually helps to get my brain thinking “outside the box” but this is maybe cheating a little bit… Not sure if it is, but it works!

    • Sometimes I find that I’ll turn a podcast on, and something said on the podcast will send my mind spinning in a different direction. I’ll miss out on 5 minutes of the podcast, but the brainstorming is almost always worth it.

  2. I live down the road from a colleague of mine (we both work from home) and almost every day we meet up and go for long walks just for this reason. We’ve even talked about moving near the coast or somewhere less London-y so the walks will be more stimulating.

    • That’s awesome! I hadn’t thought about the impact of walking on collaboration, but I bet the same effects that promote creativity when walking alone happen when walking and talking with someone else.

    • @TapToWin – I love that idea! I have met with a few friends every Wednesday morning for coffee for many years now. After our coffee we will go for a walk (not a very long one because we have to get to work at some point) and discuss all the things happening in life. Some of the best new ideas come out of this and it’s always refreshing. Not to mention its great for your health! Cheers to working from home in London!


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