Shaking up the way you think can open you up to inspiration, motivation, being more aware of yourself and your relationships, spirituality, and serendipity.
Innovation is not a divine gift adorned on a select few, it’s the learned application of experience in new and exciting ways.
Cultivating more creativity requires:
- Changing up normal patterns and routines
- Asking more questions, in general, to open up your curiosity
- Taking breaks when learning new information
- Stepping outside your comfort zone
- Letting go of needing to be right
- Questioning your thoughts and beliefs
- Being mindful in the present moment
- Spending time in reflection
- Playing a game
All of these things can help cultivate more creative ideas, solutions, insights, or breakthroughs to come to you in new and exciting ways.
The Role Of Creativity In Our Lives
As someone who uses creativity and mindfulness to guide people in personal growth, I’ve heard many people say, “I’m not creative”. Immediately, their body language shrinks just a little and the energy around them does too.
So it begs the question, are creativity and innovation only a divine gift adorned on a select few of us? Or could it be a learned application of knowledge and skills?
- Tend to spend a great deal of time silently reflecting
- Must be capable of looking at things in a fresh, even naïve ways
- Are playful yet disciplined in the pursuit of their passions
- Use creativity to foster more creativity
Ask yourself if you’ve ever found yourself in any of the above scenarios.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
What Is Creativity?
Creativity is the ability to generate, create, or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities through insight, convergent thinking, and divergent thinking. All three combine to give rise to creativity.
- Convergent thinking is laser-focused. It occurs when the solution to a problem can be deduced by applying established rules and logical reasoning. For instance, most tasks in school and on standardized multiple-choice tests for intelligence requires convergent thinking.
- Divergent thinking, or open focus, is the capacity for exploring multiple potentials, solutions, or ideas to a given question or problem that is outside the parameters of routine or norm. This is the realm of discovery and invention.
- Insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. This is where the spirit-lifting, a-ha moments arise.
A creative idea need not be artistic or world-changing to count as creative. It could be just an expression of something to communicate to yourself or another individual.
Life requires daily acts of ingenuity and novel workarounds, and in this sense, everyone possesses some form of creativity.
Research shows creativity requires making new connections between different regions of the brain. This is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking and focus, tapping into new experiences to take you out of your comfort zone, and coaxing out your curiosity.
Making new neural connections restructures the brain for growth and repair. This is beneficial for people as they get older to be more flexible in their thinking and beliefs, and also in their body.
Creativity In Business
A common misperception is that business is only about making money, and creativity is about art and imagination.
Yes, an artist could be creative, but so could a software engineer, a mathematician, a salesperson, or a CEO.
“All people are creative and regardless of our level of ability, creativity can be enhanced — it is teachable, and it improves with practice.” — Janice Francisco, founder, BridgePoint Effect. She helps businesses collaborate to discover and deliver innovative solutions to achieve goals and more than they ever thought possible.
Creativity in business is crucial for ways of thinking that inspires, challenges, and helps people find innovative solutions that solve problems for people. It separates the companies that wow us with new, amazing ideas, from the others who merely follow the tried-and-true path.
Organizations today operate in a highly competitive, global environment, making creativity crucial. Creativity is the source of innovation and inspiration. It fuels the big ideas, challenges employees’ ways of thinking, and opens the door to new business opportunities.
Stefan Mumaw, who has authored six books on creativity, has this definition: “Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty.”
Creativity In Personal Development
Creativity, from the point of view of personal growth, gives rise to people who can think for themselves, rather than walking through life with blinders on, following the people in front.
Creative work takes information from the senses to give expression to the feelings born of experience.
Sitting down to mindfully create gives you space and time to get to know yourself better. The better you know yourself, the more you build your self-worth and self-confidence.
Your creativity is unique to you. It can never be replicated by anyone else anywhere. This is partly because only you have a perspective and experience from your vantage point. No one else can see the world quite the way you do.
I liken it to an old wagon wheel with all the spokes around it, or like a bicycle wheel. Imagine that each spoke is a different person. They’re all facing towards the hub. It’s the same hub, however, each person on that wheel sees a slightly different version of that hub.
The way light will shine on the hub will be different from every perspective. Some may see a large crack, others a small fraction of the crack. Some may see some rust, others might see a spot of oil, etc.
So each individual’s expression through convergent thinking, divergent thinking, and insight is naturally unique.
Since creativity allows you to spend time with your unique self, getting to know yourself, it can be an open door to personal growth. Once you open your focus and reflect to gain insight on a convergent issue, it’s amazing to find the aha moments that spring up.
Ways to Use Creativity for Personal Growth
In my practice, we use a number of creative ways to walk with people on the journey so they can find answers for themselves and assist in their personal growth.
- Guidance with open focused questions and turnarounds
- Mindfulness practices
- Using paints, pencils, markers, or crafts to bring ideas and reflections out of the mind into expression, and for practical solutioning
- Journaling as reflection and interpretation of insights
- Various types of visualizations to gain insight, solutions, and understandings
- Breathing techniques
Creativity combined with mindfulness can give rise to re-establishing your relationship with you. Getting back in touch with your values, your dreams, and your desires so you can feel whole and centered.
Nourishing yourself is the first step to having much more to give to your close personal relationships, your work, and community involvement.
Get to know yourself better and bring more creativity into your life. Be amazed to find out there is genius inside you patiently waiting to express itself.