How to Ignite Your Creative Genius

BY Cheryl A. Russell        August 10, 2016

It’s a misnomer that only children are naturals at using their imagination or that some people are creative while others are not. Really.

Just as you exercise your muscles, you have the ability to exercise your imagination and get those creative juices flowing. And not just for art projects or sprucing up your kitchen, couch covers, or backyard. Nope!

Imagination solves everyday problems big and small. Creative thinking improves health, boosts career potential, and even attracts that special someone. How?

With this formula: Imagination + Knowledge = Creative Ideas

In this equation, knowledge is what you already know. To get beyond the facts, tap into your imagination with an acronym for the word STOP and See The Other Possibilities.

You’ve heard the phrase, “thinking outside the box.” Seeing the other possibilities is how to get there. Sometimes the answer could be in the box. The key is not to rule anything out. STOP helps you every time you get a “no” or feel stuck in any way.

How to STOP and See The Other Possibilities:

This is where it gets fun. With three simple questions, you have the keys to unlock your imagination anytime, anywhere, and for anything. They are:

  1. What if?
  2. What would it be like?
  3. Who wrote that rule?

Here’s a brief explanation of how to use each question:

What if?

Positive “what if?” questions often lead to “WOW” answers. They let you roam the uncharted territory of your mind, or more correctly, your imagination. Without filtering the answers, fresh ideas easily emerge. The key is to be curious, let your thoughts go wild, and give the new ideas a try.

What would it be like?

The answers help you to personalize the potential, how the results of a new idea could feel, for example. This question lets you visualize something and make it more real. Without judging or putting limitations on the possibility, you are free to engage any and all of your senses, which gets the creative idea out of your head and into your body in some way.

Who wrote that rule?

The intention of this question is moving past the infamous comment, “That’s the way it’s always been done,” frequently expressed by others or yourself. Just because one particular way has been the habit or routine does not mean there isn’t room for improvement or for going in a new direction.

Each time you use what you know and activate your imagination to generate creative ideas, you have the tools to solve problems with greater ease, uncover new opportunities, have fun, be adventurous—and much more. Even with some kind of restriction, the formula works well under pressure. Think Apollo 13 when the Houston control center had to find a solution with limited time and tools to avert disaster and save the lives of its crew. Or how about the practice of writing your memoirs in ten words or less? Ernest Hemingway wrote his in six: For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

Yes indeed… whatever you want to accomplish, you have the choice to stop and see the other possibilities with three simple questions. That’s how you ignite your creative genius today to fuel your brilliant tomorrows.

Ready. Set. Go for it!

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Cheryl A. Russell

Cheryl A. Russell is a writer, editor, and speaker. As an author, blogger, newspaper columnist, and magazine contributor, her favorite themes are gratitude and imagination along with motivating musings about this, that, and the other thing. For her clients, Cheryl is a Word Ninja who makes every word earn its right to be on the page. In 2012, she established the nonprofit, Imagination Now and serves as its Executive Director. For more information visit or

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