“Creativity is not a gift; it’s a mindset that you practice” — Natasha Tsakos
In some ways, our lizard brains* are trying to protect us from dangers that no longer exist. Humans generally value routine and monotony because when something changes, it's easier to spot it and spot it quickly. That was great when there was a chance that a saber-tooth tiger could pounce out of nowhere and have us for lunch. Such dangers no longer exist in most societies today.
But we are left with the legacy of millennia of fear, still tied to methods of thinking and acting that are no longer relevant. You might recognize this as "sticking with what we know," but the two are intimately intertwined.
“The more we expose ourselves to the creativity of others, the more creative we become”
The problem is that if we open our senses to experience how others see the world, we can all too quickly become bogged with overthinking how we should do that. Excessive thought usually results in us getting bogged down, with our brains trying to shut down over expenditure of limited cognitive resources; in other words, the lizard brain gets in the way.
Trust the choices of those whose job it is to do the research for us
There are literally millions of books available worldwide written in all of the main language families. There is no way we could ever even find the time to look at all the covers, never mind read a few pages of what's inside.
This is where librarians come to the rescue. Their job is to curate all of the titles available down to the ones they feel are the best examples of their kind. This is true of art books, gardening books, and cookery books; every shelf in a library is replete with high-quality options in that genre.
Find the shelf you're interested in, close your eyes, and pick a random book
While there is no doubt that ANY book has the power to open your eyes to new concepts, a simple way to ensure a good outcome is to pick a shelf or section that you think has possibilities. If you're experienced in photography, a shelf full of art masters will probably open your eyes. If you're into cooking, a gardening section might surprise you with new produce possibilities. If you're into crocheting, then a shelf full of fashion books could prompt you to look at new color possibilities.
At this point, many of you are already thinking, "but I don't have the time." You'd be surprised at how often this is not as true as our stressed brains would have us think. You already take breaks during the day, so it's easy to take that break in your local library. All libraries have comfortable seating and reading areas, and some even have coffee available to help you relax into your newfound inspiration.
Creativity is a choice; expanding your creative influences is also a choice. A random book is as good a place to start as any.
Why not give it a try?
*The most primitive part of the brain; the brain stem. Any part of a person's psyche or personality dominated by instinct or impulse rather than rational thought.