Technology is changing the workplace faster than many of us can keep up with. We all know this. It poses distinct challenges to people with highly specialised training, or have been in the workforce for longer periods.
The truth is, we are all happy to keep things the way they are most of the time. Change is threatening, frightening and involves lots of hard work. This means that very often, people retreat into their habits, ‘the way things have always been done around here,’ and similar reactions.
Unfortunately, this response is fast becoming a quick way to the exit door. The pace of change is only increasing and the only way to survive it is to adapt with it: to grow, to change and to innovate.
However, very few adults consider themselves the kinds of people that can easily think of new ideas, products, ways to do or approach things. We are simply not creative. Because we didn’t take art at school can’t draw, write, dance or paint, we also cannot be creative at work.
This is the biggest obstacle to happiness at work: this idea that you are a certain way and can therefore not change or develop. Of course, you can. Every new thing you learn means you are changing… and provides an opportunity to create.
Art is nothing more than a product of Creativity. Just one aspect of what this skill gives us. Creativity also gave us fire, the lightbulb, space shuttles and E=MC².
Creativity is actually the ability to see connections between previously unconnected things and join the dots. It is problem-solving. And we can all do that. The trick is to apply how you solve day to day problems to those big issues that require new solutions, thinking or products…
And the good news is, the more you know in life, the creative you can be because you have more dots to join. Highly experienced veterans are in fact MORE likely to come up with game-breaking ideas than youngsters. Why? Because they have seen more, experienced more, know more… if they can start to join the dots in new ways, of course, they can see more connections.
How Do You Start Being More Creative?
Stop saying you can’t. Think of it as a practical problem and apply the same method. It’s not magic.
• Take time
Creativity is a normal brain function, but its workings are still a bit mysterious. Don’t insist on instant, black and white answers. Sleep on the problem, do some reading around the topic, let your unconscious go to work.
• Work and re-work existing ideas.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the best ideas do not emerge fully-formed from our minds, sometimes they need revising, adding to, removing parts… work.
• Claim time
To be aware of the process of seeing new unexpected connections, you need time where you can be pretty quiet and introspective where you can calmly think about things without too much pressure. If your job doesn’t give you this time, you need to make it.
• Keep trying
Like any skills, it takes time to master your own creative process and fine tune it. The Sunflowers was not Van Gogh’s first painting. Keep trying and focus on improving. You’ll get there.
Remember, just because you can’t paint, write poetry and act does not mean you are not creative. There’s a good chance your products look very different from these. It’s the same process, so just keep improving.
I am David Chislett and I am a Creativity Trainer and Coach in Amsterdam. I help individuals and companies hone their creative habits, skills and ideas with workshops, coaching sessions and custom-made training. For more details, please look at my website: https://davidchislett.com
Author: David Chislett, Creativity Trainer and Coach in Amsterdam. Photo credit: Dave Pelham.
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