Creativity: Flow & the Psychology of Discovery & Invention

Chapter 14: Enhancing Personal Creativity

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Recommendations to enhance personal creativity, as a personal and professional development exercise.

Curiosity and Interest

  • Try to be surprised by something every day.
  • Try to surprise at least one person every day.
  • Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others.
  • When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.

Cultivating Flow in Everyday Life

  • Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to.
  • If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable.
  • To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity.

Habits of Strength

  • Take charge of your schedule.
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation.
  • Shape your space.
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life.
  • Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.

Internal Traits

  • Develop what you lack.
  • Shift often from openness to closure.
  • Aim for complexity.

Problem Finding

  • Find a way to express what moves you.
  • Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible.
  • Figure out the implications of the problem.
  • Implement the solution.

Divergent Thinking

  • Produce as many ideas as possible.
  • Have as many different ideas as possible.
  • Try to produce unlikely ideas.