In thinking about ways to build creativity I remembered a story from my years in Human Resources. My manager had called me in for my annual performance appraisal. She was pleased overall and I was thankful. But she finished our meeting by saying, “Laura, if there’s anything you could do differently, I would like to see you be more creative.”
Since she was my boss, very experienced, accomplished and smart, I believed her. And I spent the next 15 years thinking she was right. That is, until I took an assessment which showed I was a “Creator” and an “Advancer.”
The definition of creativity is the quality or ability to create or invent something. It is more skill and perseverance than talent and doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an artist, musician, sculptor or writer. You can be creative at many things: spreadsheets, schedules, maintenance, legal arguments, transportation routes, etc. There’s no limit to how you can apply creativity in your daily life.
1. Are problem-solvers. You approach any occupation, volunteer job or hobby by striving to make improvements. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with machinery or people. You could be in the trades or in a professional career. It’s not the work you do as much as it is how you do it.
2. Are idea generators. You are great at coming up with unique solutions. You may like to tinker, doodle or brainstorm and you can create bold, imaginative plans.
3. See the possibilities. Your field of vision is wide-ranging. You’re a “what if” kind of person who likes to explore options and consider alternatives.
Many of us find that we have squandered our own creative energies by investing disproportionately in the lives, hopes, dreams and plans of others. Their lives have obscured and detoured our own. —The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron
Ways to Build Creativity and Feed Creative Energy
Stop telling yourself:
- I’m too old; it’s too late
- I don’t have enough time in my day
- I have to focus on serious work to make a living
- People will laugh at me
- I’m not good enough
- There are already lots of people doing “X”
Experiment. Instead of settling on just one solution, consider two or three alternatives. Some people call this a Plan B, C, etc. Don’t settle for “good enough” or for the quickest answer.
Read widely. Innovative ideas can come from sources other than your occupation’s trade journals or business books. Explore non-fiction if you usually read fiction and vice-versa. Sit a spell at your library’s magazine section and sample a few new publications.
Recall Your Childhood. Many of us were drawn to activities in our youth that fell by the wayside as we got older. Try picking the activity back up again and see if it lights a spark within you.
Books I Recommend:
The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julie Cameron. “The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, it has inspired millions to overcome the limiting beliefs and fears that can inhibit the creative process.”
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg. Jerry Jenkins, author of the Left Behind Series, says this is the best book he’s ever read. I count it among my top ten best books. “…the story of Rick Bragg who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.”
“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.” —Anonymous
“There are no ideal solutions — only tradeoffs.” —Thomas Sowell
“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” —Nora Ephron
“Progress not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves.” —Julie Cameron
Movies I Recommend:
The King’s Speech, the Oscar-winning 2010 movie of George VI who struggled with a stutter from a young age. Played by Colin Firth, you’ll learn how the King turned to a speech therapist and how the ‘naughty word’ may have cured the his stutter. Click here to read The Incredible True Story of How King George VI Overcame His Stutter for His 1939 Speech.
The Chosen: The Chosen is a television drama based on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, created, directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. It is the first multi-season series about the life of Jesus. Season one was the top crowd-funded TV series or film project of all times.
Read the USA Today article about the Chosen Christmas movie special.
Santa’s Gotta Dirty Job with Mike Rowe (the Dirty Jobs guy) and John Rich (of the Country Duo Big and Rich)
Free Online Leadership and History Course:
Winston Churchill and Statesmanship. Hillsdale College offers numerous free online courses about history, character and literature. “Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman of the 20th century and one of the greatest in all of history…a close study of Churchill’s words and deeds offers timeless lessons about the virtues, especially prudence, required for great statesmanship.” Perfect for you or your young adult. Click here to view and/or take this free course.