Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not a talent given to a select few. It is a process and a set of learnable skills. Creative thinking often starts with different thinking. There are ways you can purposefully open your mind to a new perspective to see if it changes the way you think about and approach tasks at work and at home.

For example, boiling something down to a six-word summary is one technique to steer your thinking in a new direction. You can see an example of this method in the six-word memoir, created by Smith Magazine and popularized by the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers.

Six-word memoirs are meaningful self-definitions. But you can try this for other categories such as food, education, love, or your own business. The process of distilling a big idea into a six-word description can often be a catalyst for creativity and new perspectives.

To Get You Started, Here Are Some Examples of Six-Word Memoirs:

  • Cadavers played an unexpectedly large part. (Mary Roach)
  • Oldest of five. Four degrees. Broke. (Kaitlin Walsh)
  • Never should have bought that ring. (Paul Bellows)
  • Arty dad, rocker mom, crazy childhood. (Summer Pierre)
  • Learning disability, MIT. Never give up. (Joe Keselman)
  • Wife: one; Degrees: two; Arrests: seven. (Patrick J. Sauer)
  • Fearlessness is the mother of reinvention. (Arianna Huffington)
  • Struggled with how the mind works. (Steven Pinker)

What six-word description can you tackle to jump-start your creativity?