If there is anything our country, and each person, needs right now it is creativity.
Instead of focusing on cost cutting, leaders should be inspiring the development of creative new products, processes and partnerships.
Instead of sticking with the old “tried and true” ways to create revenue, small business owners should be leaping out of the box.
Instead of synthesizing other’s points of view, teachers, writers, and speakers should be listening to their own voices and courageously sharing their ideas.
So how do you turn on creativity? Consider these requirements:
Push Yourself to the Limit
Psychologist Erich Fromm said, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Most people like a good challenge. Doing the same old thing atrophies creativity. Yet the “risk toleration meter” varies with each person. Know what is your low range (boredom) and your high range (apprehension or overwhelm), then find ways to stretch yourself and your colleagues past the mid-point on a regular basis. If you manage or coach others, you can discover this range together.
You can boost your creativity by seeking to know more about things, especially situations and people that you think you already know. Practice beginner’s mind. Ask your brain to see situations, people and things as if you were looking at them for the first time. What might you see that you haven’t noticed before? When we listen and “breathe in” the details, our brains can make new connections and discoveries. Challenge others to turn their perceptions/assumptions/expectations upside down as well.
Find What’s Funny
There is a lot of research that proves that a good laugh can quiet your stress and increase your brain activity, which stimulates creativity. Scientists at Loma Linda University found that people who were told they were going to watch a funny video had much lower levels of stress hormones than a second group that was offered magazines to read instead. Most surprising: the stress levels dropped even before the video began. Even the anticipation of fun can make people more creative. Do you look forward to or dread going to work or to participate in an activity? To activate your creativity, listen or watch something that makes you laugh. Then make sure fun is scheduled into your day.
Put Life in the Halls and Walls
Environment – No wonder there is so much mediocrity in corporations—theirenvironments are efficient and boring. Stimulate your brain with colors, music, pictures (and change them regularly), and a window so you can to watch what is alive in the world outside.
People – Be sure you have people around you who want to take risks and encourage you to see things differently. The people around you can either harden or broaden your creative capacity.
Don’t let your inner critic stop you from expressing new ideas. A new idea is only new and not yet accepted today. Quit worrying if no one will think your ideas are good. Your brain will try to protect you from rejection by making up lots of excuses to stay mundane. Thank your brain for doing its job, and then take the leap anyway.
You can assess your creative skills at www.MyCreativitySKills.com
You can assess your skills at stimulating creativity in others at www.MyCreativitySKills.com/managers