We've heard the mantra in the past. We are all creative. We are born creative. That is a nice idea but not helpful when you need to call on your muse to be creative when you need to be creative. What are the secrets to personal creativity? If creativity is natural – then why is it so hard?
Creativity Is A Machine
Think of creativity like a machine. If you've ignored the machine, when it need it its not in shape to get the job done. Think of that lawnmower we tossed in the garage and ignored. When we need to use it, its hard to start and runs rough. On the other hand, a well maintained machine is easy to start and runs smoothly.
While it takes time to get your creative muscle in shape, there are a few tricks that I use that will have immediate impact on your personal creativity.
The Power of The Mind
The human mind is an amazing instrument for creativity. It spends its life collecting, cataloging and recalling visual, auditory, physical experiences and information. It then uses that information to help us navigate our day-to-day activities. What we don't appreciate is the role the mind plays in connecting what appears to be random pieces of information to trigger an idea.
We have 1000's of ideas in our head. We just can't seem to put our hands on them when we need them. Sometimes it takes that jolt to shake us awake – something that causes us to see a connection that we've never seen or noticed before.
Your mind in most valuable asset when it comes to your personal creativity.
How do you take care if it?
How do you fill it up?
The Skill of Observation
The skill of observation is tied to being able to see with “new eyes”. What I mean is the ability to see something as if you are seeing it for the first time. This ability to see with “new eyes” then allows you to see problems and opportunities that you most likely overlooked in the past.
Why have you overlooked them? Because we all fall in to the trap of comfort and familiarity. We let repeated patterns lull us in to a state of looking past the opportunities that right in front of us.
My trick with observation is to be 1) deliberate about look/observing/documenting everything with my customers and prospects and 2) Look for anything that is impacted (or impacts) time and money.
Time and money is where 90% of innovations are found. By focusing on looking specifically for areas impacted by time and money, we force ourselves to focus our observation and thereby see things we have overlooked in the past.
My Most Valuable Secret to Personal Creativity
My go-to tool to get my creativity going is to ask questions. If you've been a longtime listener/follower, this may not come as a revelation. I've talked about the power of questions for years and its the basis for my work in innovation and creativity.
With that said, most people don't take the time to really think about what questions they should be asking. They look for the easy way out by searching for a list of pre-canned questions on some site.
Your challenges are unique and you should take the time to ask well formatted open-ended questions that challenge an assumption.
If take the time to craft some well considered questions, you will be surprised what you might learn.