Are you a creative person? Not particularly?
It’s time to reimagine creativity. What if it isn’t something that you have or do not have, but a resource that you can tap into whenever you want?
For those of you who grew up with others saying that you are more of a scientist than an artist or more of a lawyer than a painter, it can be a struggle to recognize yourself as a creator.
Many of us don’t see ourselves that way, so we identify as uncreative or analytical, believing that they are mutually exclusive. Or we ridicule our ideas so much that they hide away – deciding that risking the shame isn’t worth it.
While embracing your creative strength is partially about softening and surrendering into it, it is also about lessening your fear of judgement, from others and from that incessant inner voice. This is where resilience comes into play.
Whether you are an accountant, a mathematician or a barista, you’ll directly benefit from acknowledging that you are creative and then using it as a tool to tackle whatever challenge lies in front of you.
1. Resilience to “Weird”
Nobody wants to be labeled strange, out-there, or off. Most strive to toe the line and appear just like everybody else. Sadly, the result is that we never reach our creative potential – we stay quiet during team meetings and don’t want to be the first to suggest a new idea.
As Jim Morrison would say, “Where’s your will to be weird.”
New, innovative and cutting edge implies an offbeat element opposite to ordinary.
Not only are we hesitant to think outside of the box in public, but also at home. Next time you’re brainstorming an idea by yourself – whether it is how to pay off your mortgage five years sooner or achieve a promotion at work – let your mind roam freely.
Write down whatever comes up, no matter how wacky. Chances are, one of those ideas will inspire a more feasible solution. Take it to the next level and do something that has made you self-conscious or uncomfortable in the past: sign up for an improv course or jump on stage at open-mic night.
Slowly, you’ll lose the fear and stop criticizing the weird in you.
2. Resilience to “Wrong”
The fear of being wrong is so prevalent that society needed a word for it: Atychiphobia. Its effects virtually cripple individuals who do not learn to overcome it. While most cases are not that severe, we can all relate to where this fear comes from.
The world of creativity breeds plenty of anxiety for those whose aim is to be right, something the world has conditioned us to pursue.
Take a traditional brainstorming session, for example. Idea development is a form of pure innovativeness. If you wait to voice an idea until you’ve found the perfect one, then you’ll never get there!
Innovation grows from hundreds of possibilities and proposals that never come to fruition. But all that matters is that that great idea rose from among them.
Try fear mapping: what’s the worst that could happen? Voicing 40 ideas that lead to that one nugget of inspiration is far more helpful than saying nothing at all for fear of “messing up.”
Or, give yourself specific challenges, i.e. come up with five solutions to a current hurdle in two minutes, or invent five app concepts in five minutes. The quality doesn’t matter. The goal is to get to five without crippling yourself with judgement. You probably won’t come up with anything earth-shattering, but you’re setting the stage for bright ideas to feel welcome.
The next genius idea can come from anyone – yes, that includes you.
3. Converting Creativity into Professional Success
Whether a team member or a team leader, training yourself to be less judgmental during the ideation and creation process opens the floodgates to new ideas.
By judging your own thoughts less, your mind can relax and flow. In turn, you will be less critical of the abstract ideas put forth by others, understanding that these are all simply stepping stones to the final concept.
Coming up with the best ideas hinges upon coming up with lots of them. Initially, think quantity over quality and refine later. This process gets easier as your aversion to judgement for being “weird” or “wrong” diminishes.
10 Tips for Creativity
Here’s a list of points to consider in the pursuit of creativity, including what we’ve already mentioned:
1) Be “weird”
2) Be “wrong”
3) Initially, choose quantity over quality
4) Remember that there is no one right answer
5) Keep asking questions
6) Work in groups
7) Get quiet
8) Move (walk, run, etc.)
9) Always carry a notebook
10) Label yourself as creative
Next time you hear about “creatives” – on tv, in an article or on the radio – know that they are talking about you. Sure, maybe you were just hired to be your firm’s data analyst.
Whatever you do, creativity is your biggest ally and always within reach.
What keeps you from being creative? What helps you? Share with us by commenting below!
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Omozua is a Certified Emotional Mastery & Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach who empowers & prepares clients’ hearts & heads to take the journey from where they are to where they want to be by bravely accessing their own potential.