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In today’s fast changing environment, being ‘innovative’ perhaps is the most valuable asset that can act as a competitive advantage for both a person/employee and an organization. Innovation by definition means a mental process that leads to a new idea. I should probably make a distinction here between being ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’, as many times these terms seem to be used interchangeably, when in reality they are different animals. You can be creative, but not innovative if you cannot materialize the creative idea- consider Job’s iPhone project (I call him the ‘Epitome of Creativity & Innovation’- creative idea flawlessly executed).
Creativity can mundanely explained as some sort of psychological activity that occurs to a certain group of people in which an insight is provided, that which is argued in a book titled Creativity by world’s leading researcher in positive psychology, Dr. Csikszentmihaly. He claims that creativity is an interaction between a person’s thoughts and a sociocultural context, meaning that it’s a systemic phenomenon, not an individual phenomenon as many tend to believe. So you may be asking now- So, you mean people are not born creative, but can be made creative? Yes, according to Dr. C- and here are couple things you can do to enhance your creativity in your daily life:
• According to Dr. C, our brains have limited source of memory, just like the computers. There are limits on the amount of information that can be processed at any given time; thus it’s important to conserve your creative energy. In other words, don’t stretch yourself too thin. Give your brain time to relax.
• Try new things and keep record of them. They can be as extreme as sky diving or traveling to the deep forest of Amazon, or as simple as striking up a conversation with strangers or visiting a exotic restaurant down the street. Then, write them down either in your journal, a blog or whatever is most convenience so that you may revisit it later to observe a pattern, which will help you identify your favorite activities for further exploration and development. Mine is traveling to new places, unquestionably.
• Constant busyness is overrated. How will you ever think of new ideas when your mind and body are inundated all the time? Despite what the world tells us about successful people who never have time for anything, set aside a time for reflection and let your mind indulge in it at least for that occasion. On that note, there are couple things that can facilitate the creative processes- Walking, Showering (I know it’s random, but trust me, it works), Driving (wha–t! I should be driving more), Gardening (ok- my gardener just lost his job), Weaving, and Carpentry. So if possible, try to fit in some of these activities into your daily schedule- well, assuming you are interested in becoming creative! Then again, don’t you shower on a regular basis already? Perhaps it’s a good idea to extend the shower time.
• Research suggests that creative people tend to sleep longer. Sleep more- well only if that works for you as everyone has a different rhythm. As for me, I know my body longs for 8 hours, but it’s never possible!
• Get organized! By storing things like car keys in a same place all the time so that you don’t have to run around the house screaming your lungs out every time you leave the house, you not only save physical energy, but also save creative energy. Don’t waste your energy on unnecessary things.
• Your place can foster creativity. It’s not the environment itself that matters, but how harmonious you are with it. There is no certain set of solutions provided as this is a subjective matter, so we are advised to try different styles such as getting rid of everything except for furniture (so-called-Japanese style).
• Objects in your space can help you become creative, such as diplomas, books, photos, as well as what’s in your wallet, as they remind us who we are and what our interests are.
• Keep a record of your emotions throughout the day and activities associated with them. By knowing what you like and don’t like, you will gain control over it to start spending more time on doing things more meaningful to you.
It actually seems like developing these techniques will not only help you become creative, but also help you discover your true interests during the process. I personally have been struggling figuring out what my true interests are, which has also allowed me to experience many different things in life in a positive sense, but also has resulted in wasted time and resource. Now that I think about it, they were my subconscious attempts at developing these techniques to become creative, because there is no doubt that I’m much more creative now than I was 10 or even 5 years ago.
Source: Csikszentmihaly, M. 1996. Creativity. New York: HarperCollins.
D&G Fall ’09
bold. vibrant. strong. different.
There was a time when I didn’t consider contemporary art as ‘art’, not to mention pop art until… I became acquainted with this girl.