Okay…think about it. Are you creative? I would think that the majority of lawyers would say… "Not so much." Well… there is good news in the Wall Street Journal, in an article by Jonah Leher entitled How To Be Creative. Recent research shows that creativity is not a gene we are born with, rather it is a skill we learn.

Imagine what a little creative thinking could do for your business development efforts. Granted business development isn’t rocket science, but if you are like some of my clients it’s hard to think of it from an innovative point of view. I think developing creative muscle could be the path to building a good solid book of business. Why not give it a try.

Learn how to be more creative… here are Jonah Lehrer’s 10 Quick Creative Hacks

1. Color Me Blue – A 2009 study found that subjects solved twice as many insight puzzles when surrounded by the color blue, since it leads to more relaxed and associative thinking. Red, on other hand, makes people more alert and aware, so it is a better backdrop for solving analytic problems.

2. Get Groggy – According to a study published last month, people at their least alert time of day—think of a night person early in the morning—performed far better on various creative puzzles, sometimes improving their success rate by 50%. Grogginess has creative perks.

3. Daydream Away – Research led by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found that people who daydream more score higher on various tests of creativity.

4. Think Like A Child – When subjects are told to imagine themselves as 7-year-olds, they score significantly higher on tests of divergent thinking, such as trying to invent alternative uses for an old car tire.

5. Laugh It Up – When people are exposed to a short video of stand-up comedy, they solve about 20% more insight puzzles.

6. Imagine That You Are Far Away – Research conducted at Indiana University found that people were much better at solving insight puzzles when they were told that the puzzles came from Greece or California, and not from a local lab.

7. Keep It Generic – One way to increase problem-solving ability is to change the verbs used to describe the problem. When the verbs are extremely specific, people think in narrow terms. In contrast, the use of more generic verbs—say, "moving" instead of "driving"—can lead to dramatic increases in the number of problems solved.

8. Work Outside the Box – According to new study, volunteers performed significantly better on a standard test of creativity when they were seated outside a 5-foot-square workspace, perhaps because they internalized the metaphor of thinking outside the box. The lesson? Your cubicle is holding you back.

9. See the World – According to research led by Adam Galinsky, students who have lived abroad were much more likely to solve a classic insight puzzle. Their experience of another culture endowed them with a valuable open-mindedness. This effect also applies to professionals: Fashion-house directors who have lived in many countries produce clothing that their peers rate as far more creative.

10. Move to a Metropolis – Physicists at the Santa Fe Institute have found that moving from a small city to one that is twice as large leads inventors to produce, on average, about 15% more patents.

I love this list… Give yourself permission to dream, to THINK before you’ve had your cup of Joe, to imagine yourself as a kid and to laugh… laugh a lot! There is humor all around us… but we often miss it because we are MUCH to serious! Lighten up!