Sunday, November 24, 2013

To Create or not to Create, that is the Question

Some research I read recently showed that over 80 % of children under the age of two test, out as creative. Yet when those same children reach the age of ten, only about two percent of them still test as creative. What happened to all those creative people? Is our society robbing them of their creativity? The truth is that all those people remain creative; they just lose their confidence and ability to trust their own inner creative self. Are you one of those people?

As Thomas Edison so aptly said “To have a great idea, have a lot of them” In other words creativity is not something you occasional engage in, but should rather be the way you are. When you learn the art of always looking for new ideas and you allow yourself to explore those ideas, consistently looking for new better ways of doing or being, you will begin to uncover your hidden creative self. It is time to unlock your creativity and to allow yourself to be creative once again.

In today’s ever changing world and marketplace, I believe that anyone who works with their mind is required to be creative on a daily basis. We are constantly called on to solve challenges, design and develop new strategies and assemble and sort massive amounts of data, into something, which is actionable. All of which are highly creative acts, although very few people actually see them as creative activities. Imagine how much more dynamic and successful your business could be if you invested the time to develop and hone your creativity. I want to share a few simple ideas to get you started.

Become Childlike once again

I believe that it is never too late to have a wonderful childhood. Do you remember as a young child, how your imagination roamed freely and you could imagine anything you wanted. Then after starting school, rules and facts began to gradually edge your imagination out, making it harder and harder to be creative. Allow yourself to be childlike once again. Allow yourself to do some of the things you loved. Colour, draw pictures, shoot hoops, build blocks, etc. Try to reawaken your inner child, uncover that incredible imagination, which has been lost.

Make Creativity one of your success Habits

Creativity can be improved and developed, if you make it a part of your daily routine. When creativity becomes a daily ritual, it eliminates the question of “Why am I doing this” and it becomes habitualised. This makes creativity repeatable and effortless to do. In fact developing a success habit for achieving your goals, or overcoming challenges, makes taking the daily action you need to take, feel almost effortless and allows you to sustain the activity long term.  

Flex your Creativity muscle regularly

Challenge your mind with thought experiments as often as possible. While performing rudimentary daily tasks, like brushing your teeth or driving your car, ask yourself thought provoking questions. Ask questions like, “How would the world be without motor cars”? or “Is it possible for people to fly, without wings”? As Albert Einstein said, when he proposed these experiments, allow your mind the freedom it needs to travel into new areas, new places and to think about things in a different way. Thinking this way allows your imagination to start working and reanimates your everyday world, which gets you into the habit of creative invention.

Start to pay attention

Look around the room you are sitting in right now. See through open eyes and notice twenty things you have not seen before. When you learn the art of paying attention to everything going on in your surroundings, it helps you sharpen your power of observation, all of which is a key component of creativity.

Do different Things

Try to read books on subjects you may not normally read. Try to read a poem or two and visit the theatre once in a while. Go and watch a dance performance, even if you think you don’t like dance. Experiment with different foods. Try to travel somewhere new. The more you expand your world and allow yourself to be inspired by other people’s creativity, the more you will awaken your own creativity.
Do things differently 

Once you have established a few creative habits and feel like you are getting into a rut. Shake things up for a week and do the opposite of what you would normally do. Take different routes to work, go to the gym in the evening instead of the morning, have sushi instead of a sandwich for lunch, and do a puzzle in the evening instead of watching TV. When you shake things up a little, you break out of the place where you get the same responses or solutions. When you do things differently, this experimentation leads to new ways of thinking.

Use your Left Hand

Try writing with your non dominant hand. 90 % of people are right handed. The right hand is connected to the left side of the brain, which is rational and analytic. By switching and writing with your left hand, you are connecting to the right side of your brain, which is creative, emotional and intuitive. 

Steal Ideas

Look around your world and try to discover existing ideas and improve on them. It is common knowledge that Picasso was a genius in three areas, self-promotion, taking ideas from others and improving on them and taking existing ideas and recombining them in unique ways. To be creative does not mean you have to re-invent the wheel every time. 

Schedule time to be Creative

As you know, time is the currency of productivity. The secret is to be both efficient and effective. Dedicate a portion of your day towards idea generation and other activities, which will allow your creative juices to start flowing. As you know, very few, if any people come up with ideas, whilst sitting at their desk. Make time, every day, to get away from your desk, go for a walk, make paper airplanes, do anything which puts you into a more creative place. 


When you are trying to improve an idea, make it better or determine whether it is workable or not, you can use a creativity tool called SCAMPER.
S – What can you substitute?
C – What can you combine or change?
A – How can this idea Adapt to the circumstances at hand?
M – How can the idea be Modified? What parts can be magnified or minimised?
P – How can you put this idea to different uses?
E – What can you eliminate?
R – What if you reverse the idea?
This creativity tool will help you to improve, hone and polish any new ideas you may have.

Ask Questions

Great new ideas come from everywhere. Constantly have an enquiring mind and ask for ideas and support from as many people as possible. The more people you can poll and ask for input, the greater will be the input you will get and the better your pool of ideas will be.
As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than Knowledge” If you truly want to thrive in the new world, it is imperative that you invest the time to reawaken your creativity.

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