Creativity is utilized in every part of our lives, whether we know it or not. Most people don’t really understand this. It’s a skill—one of the most powerful skills we can possess but more importantly, a skill that can be learned and put to good use. So why is this skill so important?
With the art of being creative, many people think of it as creating something new, but that’s not all it is. Technically, yes, creativity is about creating something new but there’s more to it than that. When I think of creativity, I immediately think of problem-solving. By being creative, you have the powerful ability to look at any issue from multiple points of view and create a solution to the issue at hand.
How many times have you had a problem or a situation in which you were simply stuck and couldn’t move forward? We’ve all had this in many areas of our lives, but the difference between those who succeed and those who remain stagnant is simple; it’s how creative they are and how they can creatively change their situation.
Imagine being faced with a dilemma and in minutes, being able to analyze it and instinctively come up with a solution with almost no effort. That’s the power of creativity—being able to assess a situation and coming up with a solution by creating a different angle of attack, not just one angle but multiple angles of attacking the situation at hand and coming up with the solution.
I heard a story from someone a long time ago about a fly. This person was sitting in front of a window and there was this fly on it. The fly was banging its head against the window repeatedly, trying to get through the window to get outside. No matter how many times the fly banged its head or how many times the fly seemed positive it would work, it wasn’t going to work.
Positivity just isn’t going to get you there. All that fly had to do to get outside was simply look to the right, because there was another window beside the closed one which was open. The fly could easily have flown out that window.
How many times in life are we just like that fly where we’re banging our heads repeatedly against the window, when in reality if we’d have just sat back for a moment, looked at the situation from a different angle, and found a solution with a simple change in the direction of what we were doing? That’s a classic example of creativity.
Creativity is really nothing more than alternative endings for your problems. The more alternatives we have, the more choices we have to choose from. The beautiful part of creativity is that it gives us choices as to what we could do.
So, take a moment to breathe and look at your particular situation. Then create several possible outcomes for whatever issue you are facing. Choose your path wisely and escape the head banging that so many people fall prey to.
CREATIVITY IS IMPORTANT
Some people use it more some less, but nonetheless, creativity is an important trait we need to harness to become more successful in our lives. The question is, how do you increase your creativity?
I’m going to tell you something that you’ve probably never heard, and it will sound strange. My suggestion is to start by rambling. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s one way I find solutions to the problems that I come across. While it sounds funny, it truly is an amazing way to increase creativity if you do it right.
Start by talking out loud about what you want to accomplish. The important thing is to do it out loud. You need to actually hear what you are saying and thinking. Verbally go through what you know about your project or essentially what your objective is. Start at the very beginning saying step one, I did this. Step two, I did this. Step three, do this and go through an entire process to the point where you get stuck.
The key to making this work is asking yourself a simple question. “In a perfect world, how should this work?” Remember, you are talking out loud. This can be done alone or with others. The purpose of this exercise is so you hear what you’re saying.
The “perfect world scenario” is something I came up with a number of years ago. It’s a world where anything and everything is possible—nothing is limited. Money, time, or skill limitations don’t exist in a perfect world scenario like they do in the real world. It’s almost like an alternate universe. This is a powerful visualization technique that I talk about in my book, Success Leaves Traces.
If there were no limitations on what you could do, then how would your solution or problem work for you? You can’t do this wrong; you can only succeed.
Hearing yourself talk out loud will force you to think more clearly about the situation. Doing this will cause your brain to naturally start to wonder. It starts to think of possibilities and that’s just what we want—the “what-if.” What if I did this or what if I did that, what would the results look like? The brain starts to visualize this; we are almost tricking our brain into thinking in a different way and that will get you thinking more creatively.
Curiosity builds creativity, and that’s what we’re doing in this exercise. As your brain starts thinking of alternatives, it becomes curious of the outcome. The more alternatives we have, the more choices we have to choose from, and that’s the beautiful part of creativity.
Successful people are creative people. This doesn’t mean that they’re smarter. It just means they can assess a situation and look at the various alternatives and make an educated choice of which one is best for that particular situation.
Another way to be creative is to relax. Too many times we’re going through a problem, and we get tense and as our body freezes up, so does our mind. Physically relaxing is always a good thing, but you really need mental relaxation. Don’t think about anything; just let your brain go on a mental vacation so it can recoup and ultimately regroup. Another way to say this is to simply get away from the situation.
How can you mentally relax? Music naturally lets people wander because music brings back memories, and it causes you to visualize what the music is about if there are words and even with no words, your brain just wanders a bit and relaxes.
Something that’s been proven time and time again when talking about the brain and how it works is getting back to nature. Nature naturally causes your brain to relax, so if you like walking, whether in a park, in the woods or hiking, then nature is something you can use to mentally relax.
For some people, doing nothing is a great thing, whereas, for some, it’s complete torture. But just sitting with your eyes closed, thinking of nothing, and letting your brain wander is perfect. The hard part for many people is not to focus on a single subject.
Physical exercise is another way to mentally relax because we’re not thinking about a situation, we’re thinking about exercising, and most people think of exercising as “me time.”
I love going to Vegas to sit in front of a slot machine and not think of anything else because I’m focusing on the wheel spinning, looking at combinations, and I’m not thinking about anything. I can do this for hours!
Any one of the ideas I’ve mentioned will work. Choose one, but mentally relax and give yourself time to do this. You’ll find that talking out loud and allowing yourself to see other alternatives and taking an occasional mental break from reality will give you that creative jump start you might just need to move your business forward.
JOG YOUR CREATIVITY
Successful people know how important creativity is. There are some simple things you can do to jog your creativity such as looking at other people’s solutions, ideas, or things that other people have created. We critique before we admire. This is important to know. Whenever you look at someone else’s handiwork, we critique it first. We look at what’s wrong with it, and we immediately look for improvements of how we could make it better, and then we admire it.
I know I do it. When I’m thinking about someone else’s work, it naturally forces me to become creative. It’s something I can’t help; I have to do this. A good place to concentrate on doing this is at museums, because you’re looking at other people’s creations.
I find myself critiquing commercials as to how it could be made better and looking for alternatives, so in all these various places I look at other people’s work and critique it, I am actually getting the juices in my brain flowing.
Brainstorming sessions are another classic way to find solutions. Get with a trusted group of individuals and go around the room with ideas of how to solve the problem you’re experiencing, and you’ll notice after a few minutes of everyone focusing on it that something happens.
We can call it the synergy effect, which is the point where one idea becomes many ideas. It starts with one idea and then someone ups the idea and improves upon it, which then causes someone else to think of another improvement, which causes someone else to think of another one, and it continues on. In the course of just a few minutes you have something completely new and unique, compared to what you started with.
If you’ll utilize this tactic, you’ll become more creative. Remember this, the brain is a muscle that you have to work and exercise, so as with anything you want to accomplish, the more you do it, the better you become. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with practice it will happen.
Creativity is a skill that can be learned, so exercise your brain, hone the skill, and use your creativity to generate your successful future!