What is creativity anyway? Well, let us look at the word. Creativity means the capability to build, create something. It does mean to build something new but not necessarily something unique. And here is the first trap many of us tap into. We tend to think about creativity as building something unique, something that has never been there before.
In fact, everything you create has never been there before anyway. Whatever you create, from making breakfast to writing letters, is something that has never been there before. Right? Ah, I can almost hear you say that is trivial.
Well, it might be trivial but creativity is trivial as it is a gift every human being is blessed with. What we need to do to unleash the power of creativity is to put it from the breakfast creating level to new heights.
Now how do you do that? You do it as you learn every skill. By practicing and exercising. Any skill you ever mastered you mastered through taking the steps needed and practice them over and over again. That's how we learn new things.
Think of your creativity as a muscle. That muscle can be strong or weak, depending on how much you have used it in the past, but no doubt about it that muscle is there. If you compare yourself with a body builder, would you say your body misses any muscle he has? Certainly not, only these muscles might be covered a little bit - or a little bit more- under some fatty tissue and are so weak that they do not show through.
Same goes with creativity. We simply have it but it is often our weak muscle covered by the fatty tissue of beliefs we have about our own incapability and about the superiority of others.
Once you take that metaphor as a given, you can start building your creative muscle. You can make it as strong as you like it to be. the only thing you need to do is constant excoriate.
So, how to build your creative muscle again?
Every creative process has 4 phases.
Like toning your muscles by going through certain steps in the right sequence you build up creativity by applying these for phases sequentially.
At first you might only do it once in a while. But the more you do it the stronger your creative muscle gets and the easier it is. it just becomes a habit. And a habit is something we do unconsciously.
Let us look at the steps a little closer.
This is maybe the most important step. Preparation is about gathering the data, the information. All Improvements start with questioning the current situation. Asking questions, and asking the right questions is key.
Asking yourself hard questions is not always comfortable. But, remember, starting to exercise is not always comfortable as well. Nevertheless it is a must.
What questions to ask? Here are some questions to start the process.
What am I trying to do?
How am I trying to do it?
What are my assumptions?
What if my assumptions are wrong?
By asking these questions you start the loop of creativity. Just do not start judging for now.
Once you have your data collected, you know the frame of the problem. Now, begin with the second step.
This is the easiest step in the process. Cerebration simply means to stop consciously thinking about the issue and turn it over to your unconscious mind. Because your rational mind has already clarified the frame of the challenge it is time now to tap into your resources.
How to do that? There are many ways but one works pretty well for me. I start thinking and doing something totally different after I told myself that I hand the issue over to my subconscious mind. No second thought on it. I actually deny myself to ponder over it. I do everything I can to not think about it anymore.
I think my unconscious mind becomes pretty upset of me ignoring it and usually starts acting like wild to get through to my conscious mind. The more I suppress this the stronger it tries.
Eventually my unconscious mind is so upset that it fires up ideas. Not only one or two, but because I consciously suppressed it from letting ideas coming out, it starts firing on idea after another. I never know when it happens, it could be hours or even days after I framed the issue. But I am sure it always happens.
And, this is my goal. Now I can go to the next stage.
This is where you take all the ideas your unconscious came up with and write them down. You realize them. You get aware of them.
In that critical stage we often start judging the ideas. Don't do that before you have written down every single idea that your mind came up with.
Writing the ideas down or even saying them out loud, gives them a new dimension. You create the idea literally by giving it a form (either written or by producing sounds we call language). This is a very important part. Let the idea emanate, become something that exists outside of your brain. No matter how silly it seems, if it was worth for your subconscious to come up with it is worth to be written down. Value the work of your subconscious mind.
After you have written down all your ideas, you can go to the next stage.
This is the last stage, where you evaluate the set of ideas and pick the one you belief has the biggest chance of being applicable. Make a Top 10 list of your ideas and sort them as long as it takes to find the right sequence.
Now you have done it. You can start to apply your idea to the problem. You will maybe find hundreds of issues that have to be solved but that is only an entry point to start the whole process over again until you succeed.
Creativity is a skill it is not a genetic gift to some. It is a gift you have too. Build your muscle using the sequence i gave you and you will start becoming a creative person able to solve problems and create the outcome you want.
2005 ? Norbert Haag. All rights reserved.
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Norbert Haag is a business consultant, entrepreneur and sought after speaker for more than 20 years.
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