Practical Ways to Find Creativity When You're Feeling Uncreative

Practical Ways to Find Creativity When You're Feeling Uncreative
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It was a tough day in the trenches at The Travel Hacking Cartel, a business I run with friends.

We'd launched a new feature and the support inbox was blowing up with requests to test it out. Just when I'd worked through the backlog of support tickets (yep, I still do the support tickets), one last message comes in from Nora, a longtime member:

"Hi, I'm checking my credit card statement and it looks like I'm being billed twice every month."

Hmm, haven't seen that one before. Sure enough, though, two accounts had somehow been created, and she'd paid twice for a long time.

Looking back, there are lots of ways to solve this problem but, in the moment, I was tired and uncreative. I couldn't see an easy answer to the problem. So, I do what I do every time I feel burned out in the middle of the day; I head to the coffee shop. I order kombucha and hand over my credit card. The barista starts to pull the tap and, halfway though, it starts to fizz out. She moves to the second tap and tries again. Nothing. Kombucha's gone.

The barista looks at me with a frown and apologizes. I've already paid, but there's no kombucha and she can't run refunds from her terminal. She thinks for a second and comes up with the perfect solution: "If you want to order something else, I'll give you a gift certificate for a kombucha. Come back tomorrow and it'll be ready for you." I happily took the offer and was on my way.

When I sat down with my revised order and opened my laptop, I knew exactly how to respond to Nora:

"Hey! You're right. I'm so sorry about that. What if I take what you've paid so far and credit your account so you don't have to pay again for a long time?"

Nora was perfectly happy with that, and the problem was solved.

Neither of these scenarios are what you probably think of when you think of creativity. [1] No one wrote a song, drafted a book, painted a mural, or designed a product. But they were creative. They were unique solutions to a difficult problem.

Creativity is all around us but, for so many, it remains invisible -- hidden in plain sight -- because we've conditioned ourselves to look for it in only a few places. There are so many places you can draw new ideas from to improve your work if you look just a little harder.

When you have a problem to solve or need to create something new and keep coming up short, try these practical ideas for finding inspiration and upping your game.

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