Creativity is one of the most undervalued attributes that we can possess. On the other hand it is one of the most incredible attributes we can have. It seems that some have it and others do not. Yet when we look closely at creative thinking we all inherently have it, we just need to tease it out, nurture it and not be afraid to let it hangout.
You know some, if not most, of the successful people throughout history have risen above the rest because they went beyond the thinking of the time. They allowed their creative thinking to resolve problems and issues that baffled others.
Creativity uses many approaches to resolve a problem and the way people tackle the problem is just as diverse. Two people can paint the same scene very differently; and two jazz musicians can play the same piece of music with completely different creative nuances.
Creativity is not just for the artists who create beautiful paintings and music that touch the inner core of our soul, but also for those who have garnered great advancements in all aspects of our lives. Creativity moved the great leaders and inventors of the past and of our time. Just think of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, to name a few.
Yes, creative thinking produced massive movements in social and technological change.
Sometimes we think we lack creativity, but creative thinking is an attribute we can learn through effort and hard work.
I’m reminded of a quote from Albert Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
This quote forms the basis for this discussion. Here are a few ways we can nurture our creative juices when we are faced with mystifying issues or problems.
Different Results Require Different Approaches
Many of us are on a treadmill, so to speak, repeating the same mistake without even realizing it. Often, this leads to frustration and even anger and then we find that we are treading towards giving up. In fact many do just that. Before this occurs, we need to stop and think about what really is happening to us. It’s time to stop and reflect on our process of confronting the problem.
If you want to move towards resolution about something that has blocked you from going forward than it is time to attack it in a different way. The operative word here is ‘stop’ – stop and pull away from the approach you are using. Think about how else you may approach it, talk to a coach, mentor or trusted friend about it, brainstorm your approach with others, or draw a mind map to isolate other alternatives.
Once we realize that there are more ways than one to solve a problem we begin to dawn our creative thinking cap. We open ourselves up to new opportunities and learning. We begin to grow and develop and in the process we strengthen our ability to think creatively.
Throw Away the Cookie Cutter Approach
There are many things in life and at work where we can follow a recipe and achieve a predictable result. Baking cookies or following predicable procedures are like that. Follow the recipe and enjoy the cookies. However, there are times when the recipe or the procedure just doesn’t work, and we need to do something out of the ordinary. We just can’t use the same method to address the same obstacle.
When we are faced with more difficult issues that others have tackled unsuccessfully, it’s time to create a new recipe. We need to come up with a new solution. When others are using the same tools and consistently not getting anywhere, the tool probably won’t work for you either. It’s time to create a new approach and step away from the crowd and do something different.
Be Confident When You Try To Do Something Different
You may be one of those people who posses all the creative ability in the world, but your fears stop you from acting. It’s taking action that moves your creative thoughts to results.
Sometimes we are afraid to act because of what people might say. This has blocked many from taking a worthwhile idea to making it fly. It seems that human nature prods us to avoid something new or different and when we don’t take action on creative ideas we fall into the same avoidance trap.
So dare to be different – if your idea is worthwhile others will be inspired and follow. It not, you will have gained a tremendous learning experience to advance your next project. After all Edison attempted to make the light bulb 1000 times before he got it to work.
Take a Break
There may be times when you are faced with an issue and you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or your computer. The ideas or what you want to write are just not coming to you. Your creative juices are dead. If this is the case, then it is time to take a break. Get up from your chair and get some exercise - go for a walk, run or whatever you like doing - look out the window and enjoy the view e.g. watch what the people are doing, watch the vehicle traffic, look at the trees blowing in the wind - if at home go wash the dishes, take a shower, play with the kids, talk to your significant other. The point here is do something that takes you away from your creative dead zone.
During your break, ideas often come and when they do it’s time to get back to solving your problem.
Thank you for reading.
Talk to you again soon. Take Care, Keep Well and Stay Safe.