Scientists say we all have the potential for greatness if we learn to tap into our inner genius. Get your artistic juices flowing with these strategies.
Step 1: Sleep on it. Over the years, researchers have found that the REM sleep cycle boosts our creativity and problem-solving abilities, providing us with innovative ideas or the answers to vexing dilemmas when we awaken.
TIP: Keep a pen and paper by the bed so you can write down your nocturnal insights if they wake you up.
Step 2: Go for a run or hit the gym. Studies indicate exercise stimulates creative thinking, and the brainpower boost lasts for a few hours.
Step 3: Allow your mind to wander a few times every day. Far from being a waste of time, daydreaming has been found to be an essential part of coming up with new ideas.
TIP: If you're stuck on a problem or creatively blocked, think about something else for a while.
Step 4: Keep learning. Studying something far removed from your area of expertise is especially effective in helping you think in new ways.
Step 5: Put yourself in nerve-racking situations once in a while to fire up your brain. Fear and frustration trigger innovative thinking.
Step 6: Keep a notebook or PDA with you so you always have a way to record fleeting thoughts. They're sometimes the best ideas of all.
FACT: Author Robert Louis Stevenson said the idea for his 1886 book Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream.