How Can You Be More Creative?4 min read
Is it true that some people are more creative than others?
And even if that’s true, can less creative people be more creative?
More importantly, can YOU be more creative?
These are important questions that smart people have been asking for millennia.
So, of course, I’m going to answer them!
But first we need to define creativity:
It’s simple: “The use of imagination or original ideas; the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like.”
In other words, creative people come up with stuff that’s outside the box, and not just once in awhile, but on a regular basis.
Must be very special, rare people, right?
In a 1968 study of creativity in children at 5 years old, 98% of them tested at a genius level of creativity.
Yes, almost all children are creative geniuses. It’s not special. It’s normal.
This tells us that almost all of us start out with a whole lot of creativity. It comes as standard equipment. We are creative at a very high level right from the start of life.
And now the bad news:
Just 5 years later, at age 10, the percentage of children that tested at the genius level went down to 30%. A 68% decrease. Yikes!
Sounds like an equipment failure. And it gets worse:
By the age of 15, the percentage of creative geniuses plummeted to 12%.
And even worse:
By the time adults hit 30, only 2% were still creative geniuses!
From creative geniuses to creative idiots in 25 years.
So I don’t think the question should be if we can become more creative, but how did we lose our already natural creativity?
And can we get it back?
Well, here’s how I look at it:
We never lost our innate creativity. But it is suppressed by fears that we learned through our so-called “education.”
Fear of not having the right answer
Fear of doing it wrong
Fear of looking stupid
Fear of failing
Every time you did something creative and it didn’t fit a certain standard or it didn’t work, some “more intelligent” adult told you that you were doing it wrong.
Blame. Shame. Pain.
So to avoid feeling that way, you strived to do it their way, the “right way.” And any creative impulses went right out the door.
And this is true for most of us. We play it too safe to come up with creative ideas.
But creativity is exactly what we need in our life, our business, our marketing.
We need new creative thinking to respond to an increasingly complex and competitive world.
So what do we do?
Well, as I said, the creativity is still there deep inside but layered over by fears of doing something wrong and being disapproved of.
And if those fears dropped away, our innate creative genius would start to shine through again as bright as ever.
Finding creative solutions to marketing problems
You might be trying to figure out how to reach out to a prospective client, fill a workshop, write an article, or put together a persuasive proposal.
All of these require creative thinking. You want to come up with some good ideas but you frequently hit a dead end because your creative genius has been stifled.
Here’s a powerful formula for sparking creative ideas:
Need some ideas but feeling the fear?
Take an aware moment to get yourself here.
Be now, be present, be open, be free
Then let the ideas flow, just let them be.
Don’t force them or judge them and you may find
Your creative genius flows right through your mind.
Now take a break, put the problem aside
And let your subconscious go for a ride.
Then take action, one small step at a time
And before you know it, you’ve touched the divine.
OK, don’t like poetry? Fine. Here’s the same formula in prose:
Get yourself here, present, now. Clear away all the thoughts that are crowding your mind, all the voices that are telling you to find the right solution, and just let the ideas flow without forcing them.
Don’t TRY to be creative. Instead, put in some time looking for ideas, do some online research, and compare different options. Brainstorm possibilities where there are no wrong answers.
Don’t force ideas or judge them too soon. And don’t worry whether they are the right ideas or not at this point. In fact, coming up with absurd or silly ideas can be very helpful.
Then rest – take a break. Don’t think about the problem for some time. Sleep on it. Let your subconscious work on it based on all the ideas you explored earlier.
Finally, come back to the problem freshly and you’ll often find that the best idea emerges without any struggle. Then go into action to organize your idea and make a plan to realize it one step at a time.
That, in a nutshell, is how you can make the creative process work for you.
Do it now. Use this formula to start generating some creative ideas for some problem or challenge you’re currently facing in your business or marketing.
Don’t make it difficult. It’s not. What is difficult (painful and stressful) is holding onto the fear.
Why hold on one second longer?
Robert, agree *and* don’t forget about others! Getting people involved in creativity increases the outcome (c.f. Keith Sawyer’s “Group Genius” or Stephen B. Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From”). Check it out with spouse or friends or… Wishing you all the best, — Clark