Being creative and getting into a creative space isn't always easy. Opening up your mind and letting it wander can be a huge help to coming up with those BIG ideas. We’ve come up with ten provocative questions to get those brain cells creaking. When you're ready to start using them, find a calm, quiet space and get ready to write, or better yet - record yourself talking through these questions and your answers.
1. If anything’s possible, what’s important?
We’re often told you can do anything you put your mind to… But if you really, actually, could how would you prioritise? It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities, but by having clear goals, when you need to prioritise, it’ll be easy to know where to start.
2. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
They say that it’s through mistakes and failure that we learn some of our most important lessons in life, but what if you could learn those lessons without the ego bruising? What would you do? Would it be as exciting without the risk of failure?
3. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
We place a lot of importance on time, but remove some of those markers of time and what are you left with? Does it matter how old you are? Is it how old you feel that matters? Is that just something people say to make themselves feel better?
For businesses, age is often an advantage, so why are we so averse to aging? A few wrinkles are a small price to pay for experience, surely?
4. Will people remember you in a million years? Do you still want to be famous?
It is said everyone gets their five minutes of fame, but what if you were one of the few who got a little longer? How long would you want that to last? If it didn’t last that long, would you still want it?
In the grand scheme of things fame should be the result, not the goal. Do something remarkable well and it’s hard not to leave a lasting impression.
5. Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?
People hate failure. But fear of failure may be worse than the actual experience, according to Seth Godin. How do you learn to fail better?
6. How do we know that pleasure is good and pain is bad?
While I’m sure scientifically there must be an answer out there for this one, it raises an important point and feeds off the age-old question: can you experience happiness without ever having known sadness, or the good without the bad?
Sometimes you need to embrace the bad if you want to experience the good, and a little analysis is needed to figure out what isn’t working; without knowing where you’re going wrong, how could you possibly fix it?
7. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make them?
Nobody likes to be wrong, but is this aversion to ‘wrongness’ actually doing us a disservice and stopping our development? If so, why are we standing in the way of our own progress?
Mistakes are inevitable, but fear of them should never stop you from evolving. Instead you should be analysing risks, because in business, as with life, sometimes you should feel the fear, and do it anyway.
8. Which is worse: forgetting everything or never remembering anything new?
Any form of amnesia is undesirable, but if you had the choice would you say goodbye to everything you’ve ever known, or never learn anything new again? What makes this question so difficult is that memory is so important, and too much unbalance with it can be problematic; remember too much and you can stultify progress with too many rules; remember too little and you never learn the lessons from your past.
9. Do the right thing? Or do things right?
Ideally both right? But which is more important? Without doing it right, is there any real point in doing the right thing? Equally, doing something perfectly is amazing, but really don’t you want it to be for the right reasons?
In business no one likes to feel they’re working for the bad guy, but no one revels in half-hearted effort either. There’s a line to tread here if you want to motivate people, but which side should you be veering towards? How do you create a happy company that is a force for good?
10. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Being in business is a constant battle against nothingness, but nonetheless, I guarantee you that if you spend too much time thinking about this one, your head WILL explode.
There are so many questions out there that help you delve into the deepest depths of your creative genius. We've listed our top 10 but don't stop there, write down a list of all the questions that get your brain juices flowing and try to ask yourself at least three a day. Being genuinely curious is a fantastic first step on the road to magical creativity.