How to Benefit From Your Natural Creativity
You are creative! It is not a question of “if;” it is a question of “how much!” Each person is blessed with creativity from birth and so it is a matter of learning how to express this gift. Think about how a group of young children just ooze with creativity and energy. Problems are not nearly so daunting to the youngsters as they might be to us adults. What can we learn?
I recently watched a creative video on “The Marshmallow Challenge.”* One of the interesting points in this video was how kindergarten students perform significantly better than business school students on building the tallest tower made only from 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow (which must go on top)! The good news is, with some work, all the older groups improve noticeably as they practice thinking and building more creatively in this marshmallow exercise.
It is as though the creative and curious part of us becomes less useful, as we move into the work world. This is a sad fact and hurts the productivity of organizations worldwide. While a healthy organization needs to have both stability and creativity, lack of status quo is usually not the problem. This is often because creativity is not rewarded enough.
While I do not want to get you into too much trouble at work, here are some thoughts on re-capturing the child-like enjoyment of creativity.
- When you get dressed tomorrow morning, use a different routine. Put your pants on starting with the other leg first. Put your shirt on starting with a different arms. If you normally start by choosing the outfit, choose an accessory first. Dress in a different room. What do you notice about your surroundings and actions?
- Drive to work or to your errands by a different route than you normally take. Make sure and allow extra time so you are not late. I am not suggesting you try to get lost although that can be a creative exercise all its own. Stop by the side of the road and look at an especially beautiful orchard, house, park, etc. What are your theories about the builder or creater? How you can you use this in your everyday world?
- Check out a book from the library on a topic you do not usually explore. What can you learn from an unfamiliar subject that will foster curiosity in your more familiar surroundings?
- Play an I-Spy game with a young child. Ask questions of a child about their world?
- What ideas can you brainstorm in the search of greater creativity?
Your family, friends and work will all benefit from this newfound desire to be creative and curious. Take care.
* – For more details, please see http://www.MarshmallowChallenge.com.
- America’s Healthy Infatuation With Entrepreneurs | Stanford … – Compare the Fortune 500 CEOs interviewed on the HBR IdeaCast talking about Campbell’s Soup or Coca-Cola (podcast here) with the entrepreneurs at the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Seminar Series discussing Pandora and Instagram (podcast here). The big company CEOs sound just like you’d expect. But while most of them presumably have strong interpersonal skills and a high EQ, they come across as dry, unemotional and focused on the core business.