“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” – Richard Branson
What are creative instincts? And how can you exercise them when you have convinced yourself that creativity is for the cool group always walking into the coffee shop as you walk out? Creativity seems to have so much pressure attached to it. The pressure to create something revolutionary. To create something better than what is already out there. The pressure can become so paralyzing that it is easier to not to try.
Creativity is defined as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns,relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality,progressiveness, or imagination.
Go into any kindergarten. Is there a lack of creativity when the teacher hands out construction paper and paint? Of course not! Children are not tied to the outcome, they just start painting and let it happen from there. The toughest part of any creative process is getting started. Once that first splash of color hits the paper the juices start flowing. In order to be creative you must have the courage to start.
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh
Another trait that inhibits creativity is perfectionism. If you get too deep in the details too quickly the spark of the idea drowns in the realism of practical thinking. Be an unpractical thinker, think big and then make it work later. I love looking at Leonardo DiVinci’s sketches. This was creativity! It was a raw idea put on paper without the limiting factor of whether it was possible.
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London
People who express creativity on a regular basis think differently. The think about how something can be done rather than it can’t be done. Creativity is not reserved for inventors and artists. Creativity is the realm of business people, construction workers, politicians, teachers… Creativity is a reality for anyone who is open to receive it. The key is to be curious and fearless.
“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett
Being creative means paying attention. Be curious, listen, watch closely. Go out into the world seeking inspiration. If you go looking, it will find you.
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw
Creativity takes courage. Creativity is not always rewarded. In fact, there are many people out there who would prefer that you stay within the box. They are like snipers who want to shoot you down just as you separate you with the pack. So your inspiration is not always recognized or celebrated. You must have the inner confidence to keep on creating.
Creativity takes humility. Just because you have had some measure of success you can’t get cocky. It takes humility to recognize that the ideas that work are a gift. Humility and gratitude are necessary to keep you receptive for the next inspiration.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw
Creativity is your birthright. There is an endless fount of ideas pouring forth at all times. Unfortunately so many of us have closed ourselves off from this supply. Being open and not prescribing the outcome is a good first step in availing yourself to the creativity that is already yours. Define the problem and let the universe come up with the answer. You can’t define it you can only be the conduit. Take the first step. Doors will open up that you never knew existed.
So in summary here are my Top Six Ways to Enhance Your Creativity:
- Create like a child – Start fast and don’t worry about what others think.
- Don’t get caught up in the details. Think big and then make it happen.
- Be curious and fearless. Think in terms of how and why not can or cannot.
- Have the courage to keep going when your creativity is not rewarded.
- Have humility and gratitude. These qualities allow you to be receptive to new ideas.
- Creativity is your birthright. Remove your self-imposed limitation.