Creativity is About Practices, Not Personality

Kris Chin @Unsplash

Your inner voice may tell you that you are not a creative individual.

In fact, you have likely steeped yourself within this belief. Repeated it. Held on to that judgement.

Written yourself off, “creativity-wise”.

Yet that belief is likely based upon an inaccurate version of how creativity actually manifests. For example, we believe that great ideas somehow miraculously arrive to those we deem “creative”. However, the notion that you must be born creative is inaccurate; when in fact that dynamic can be nurtured.

Truth be told, we can all enhance our own creativity by employing specific strategies, sticking to them and offering time to let things unfold. As someone who depends upon being somewhat creative, the advice offered in this HBR post — only solidifies my personal take on the creativity.

It is in part, about our own practices.

There are “ingredients”, so to speak.

Here are a few ideas to help you along with that recipe:

  • Indulge a spark. If you have a seemingly random interest in something or someone (a certain individual’s art perhaps, a specific business or a topic) stay with it. Attempt to understand and capture the root of the attraction. Note the “whys”.
  • Find the right place & time. As an individual, you have spaces & time frames that are more likely to support creative endeavors. Are you usually on vacation? Is morning (or evening) the most idea-productive time of day? When do you feel more creative?
  • Leave room. As you might expect, a commitment to creativity is necessary. As with Google’s 70-20-10 rule, this implies that you devote time to explore new areas that are adjacent to your day-to-day work or interests. As many would confirm, exposure to alternative “ingredients” can spark great observations and lead to ideas.
  • Become an expert. Observing your area of interest from all sides and from varying perspectives, is absolutely necessary. Read all that you can, consider issues, failed theories and explore known problems. Attempt to bridge constraints. This knowledge base can serve as the foundation for ideas & inspiration.
  • Expose your ideas. Ideas never arrive fully developed. They must be shared. Identify a safe space to hash things out. Be sure to identify one or two individuals, with whom you feel comfortable sharing ideas not yet perfected. Overall, share your ideas sooner — and allow others to help you improve them.
  • Rest. As discussed in Issac Asimov’s, The Eureka Phenomenon, once you’ve set the stage you may need to back off. Our brains, require time off to digest. Be sure to engage in activities which allow your mind to relax  — such as a walk — or as Asimov practiced, “shuffle off to the movies”.

What are your creativity enhancing strategies?

Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life & have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, BBC Work Life, Quartz and The Huffington Post

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