C*R*E*A*T*I*V*I*T*Y is a process.
The Oxford dictionary defines creativity as follows, “The use of skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art.”
If creativity is the use of imagination, then we are all creative! We all have an imagination perhaps many of us have just chosen not to use it or believe in its possibility. What makes the imagination of one person stand out above the rest? Why are we not all labelled as creative?
Like anything, if you don’t use it, you lose it. This applies as much to creativity as to any muscle in the human body.
Having the ability to imagine, connect things together, make something new or even produce a work of art takes work. If you want to be creative and be labelled as such, then you have to get your hands dirty and do the hard work.
We have to create a solid web of interlinked ideas, experiences and connections that can feed our imagination and provide the sparks we need to come up with new things. How do you come up with out-of-the-box thinking in a vacuum? A space where nothing exists? An empty portal?
Creativity is the the process we must follow to feed our idea web. The more we fill it, the more useful material we will have to draw upon to produce new things and works of art.
Creativity is a muscle that we need to grow and make stronger.
We already know that creativity cannot exist in a vacuum. You cannot be truly creative if you isolate yourself either. We need to mix with a wide variety of people from different groups and backgrounds. This intricate mix of experiences, stories and outlooks will provide you with a rich and valuable source of material.
It is well known that readers are leaders, and this is no surprise. Books have the amazing ability to transport you to any destination or field that you can imagine. Books can take you anywhere, you can be anyone, you can learn anything. Developing a daily reading habit is an essential part of strengthening creativity. Set aside some time each day to get lost in the pages of a book.
Read many different genres. The process of reading can help you weave an intricate and strong web of material together in a short space of time. I don’t think I can recall reading a book that hasn’t ever sparked my thinking and sent my mind off in a new direction. Creative people read. Reading then is an intricate part of the delicate creativity web.
Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, describes the importance of a weekly artist’s date with yourself. Time to take yourself off on a new adventure each week. Time to allow yourself to experience new and unconventional things. These weekly artist dates provide inspiration to feed the creative muse. Allow yourself the time to experience new things.
We all have imagination; we are all creative? What sets one person apart from the rest is the ability to act. To take a seed of thought and make it happen. The thoughts and ideas that take shape in your head are just as creative and inspirational as those in the head of the person next to you. The difference is simply the ability to act and allow them to take shape.
Many great ideas have occur when you least expect them, we read about many examples in Ideas Like Shoes. In the shower, in the bath, when you are lying in bed at night or have giving yourself the luxury of a relaxing walk in the park with your shoes off. Often the best advice you can give someone who is battling a frustrating problem with finding a solution, is to simply let the problem mellow. Take your eye off the ball for awhile and do something else. Quite often the answer to your problem will arise when you are not looking for it.
Record all your thoughts and ideas in an idea book. When great minds like those of Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Da Vinci, Einstein etc. all agree on its value then you are not barking up the wrong tree. If you don’t record your thoughts and ideas, they quickly turn to vapour and are lost forever. Write everything down, even if it seems useless or without any merit at the time. These silly ideas strengthen your creativity network and can spark something else in the future.
Creative greats, visualise, they think and imagine things every day. They have vision boards, white boards, post it notes. They practice daily affirmations. See yourself as a creative person, see yourself coming up with innovative new ideas and solving business problems. What you see and believe, takes shape and becomes a reality.
Keep you eyes open and take a closer look at everything you see and come across on a daily basis. Often it is the things that are right in front of you that can spark your thinking. Soak in the shapes, colours and sizes of the daily objects you come across and let them weave new layers into your idea web from which you can draw from later.
Connect everything. Can you take something and improve it? Can you add something to it? Can you bundle things together? Can you take something and use it to solve a problem in a completely unrelated field? The more thickly you weave your web of creativity together, the more sparks will fly and connections you will make.
One of the most important tools in the arsenal of a creative is the ability to ask the right questions. Why? When? Where? What? How? Apply them to your daily problems and challenges? Question everything. Is there a better way to do something? A faster way? A simpler way? A creative then is also a questioner.
To summarise then, what is creativity? Creativity is the process we follow every day to weave a thick web of interlinked ideas, experiences and connections that can feed our imagination and provide the sparks we need to come up with new things and works of art. It is the process of connecting with people, reading, experiencing new things, acting, taking your eye off the ball, inking thinks down, visualising, investigating, tying things together and asking why?
What is creativity?
Albert Einstein then defines it perfectly, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
Cultivate a Culture of Innovation & Creativity
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