As a writer and a creative person, I recently finished up an online course from Penn State about creativity. (Yes, I know, seems weird, but so am I). I wanted to share with you some of the earth-shatteringly normal things I learned.
Everyone is creative. Everyone, from the mathematical engineer to the Banksy-wanna-be is creative. We are just creative on different levels and in different ways. This is based on everything about us from our experiences and intelligence (skills and talent) to our preferences and abilities. I need more structure in my creativity than someone else who prefers to just innovate with no structure/organization. Motive and opportunity also play a big part in creativity. Before you say, “Well, I never get an opportunity to create my life-size mural of Charlie Chaplin,” let me say opportunity may be that you are given the opportunity to create one on canvas first, and how you respond to creating it on canvas instead of a building is part of creativity. It’s how you respond to opportunity, not just opportunities you are given.
Let me also throw out some key words that also relate to creativity and innovation and you see if you can have your own little aha moment by reading them: Character, Entrepreneurship, owNership, Tenacity, Excellence, Relationship. There… aha! Right?
The More Failure the Better. Don’t think of failure as failure. Think of it as a way to change your idea. As a matter of fact, the faster you fail, the faster you will have a real solution. Have the courage to succeed AND to fail, as they can be one in the same.
Stop. Collaborate & Listen. Collaboration is good. It doesn’t have to be between like-minded people, it can be between those who are your naysayers. Listen to what they have to say and see if it has any validity. Change accordingly if needed but don’t compromise yourself/your idea/your product/service just to appease a constant naysayer. You have to know the difference between those who are there to help and those that want to hurt, and yes, the ones closest to you are sometimes the most hurtful ones. Tread lightly but be open.
Do you have the tools, the time, the knowledge and drum roll, please, the confidence? During this course we had to pick a project to do. My project was to do something musical I always wanted to do. We had to plan how we would achieve the goal and any problems that may occur and how we would handle them. (Jaycees, anyone?) Part of the reason I chose my goal was to also develop creative consistency (You wanna create? You gotta show up and do the work. Pressfield puts it to writers as, “Put your ass where your heart is.” At your desk, writing.) By working towards my goal, I would develop creative consistency in something and whether I would achieve the goal or not, I would still achieve the consistency I desired. If I did achieve the goal, I could build upon my success. Success breeds success for me. So what do you think happened? I’ll give you a moment to ponder…
Confidence. So, by the second week I had already achieved my goal, so I kept expanding on it. Just like in the Wizard of Oz, it really was within me all along, I just had to believe. Sometimes in creativity the worst naysayer is really our self.
Perfection. Was I perfect? Nope, but I did it. Creativity means also that you are willing to be imperfect.
I hope this has helped you. It’s not anything you didn’t already know. It’s just putting it into action (which is a whole different ball game).
On a different note a couple of friends and I are planning to read the United States, based on this information.
Want in? However, let me go on record in saying I am disappointed in the choice for Arkansas. True Grit or I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings would have been MUCH better.