"There are no second acts in American lives." ( F. Scott Fitzgerald )
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Kick Start Your Creative Thinking

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... | Add Your comment

We are all creative. Every day. In many ways. Yet many people believe creativity belongs exclusively to "artists". This self-limiting belief discourages them from attempting major life changes, blocks their road to authenticity, forces them to live frustrating lives, full of bitterness over lost opportunities.



To develop your creativity, train yourself to : think and act imaginatively > use your imaginative activity for a purpose > generate something original (which challenges the norm) and valuable (which surprises, inspires, helps other people).

In other words, train yourself to think "outside the box" and offer the fruit of your creative thinking to the world.

Is it that simple ? No. Many of us believe that creativity starts with a "great idea" or with a "solution". A great idea for what ? A solution to what ? There are zillions of great ideas that nobody cares to adapt, or solutions to problems that nobody cares to adopt. Creative thinking doesn't start with ideas or solutions, but with THE problem.
THE EIFFEL TOWER JULY 2010
The Eiffel Tower was just a "crazy idea" before its inauguration in 1889.
It is now the most visited monument in the world. © Dan Drafta, 2010.

Every great discovery, every masterpiece sprang up from an unsolved problem (or an unanswered question). One day somebody turned the problem into a challenge. What's in a problem ? Something that doesn't work, that is not wanted, involving "doubt, uncertainty, difficulty", to quote the dictionary. What's in a challenge? Something that you desire, that you want to overcome, a call to engage in a contest…

Viewing a problem as a challenge consists in examining and interpreting the problem to give it new meaning. This is much simpler than it sounds. Just ask yourself :
  • Why is this a problem ?
  • Is there something else behind it ?
  • How can I learn more about it ?
  • What can I do about it ?
  • What is at stake ?
  • What experiment(s) can I perform to solve it ?

DON'T TELL YOURSELF :

- I am not creative.
- If something works well, there is no need to change it.
- I have a problem, I need a solution, fast !
- Creative people always have good ideas.
- Criticism will help improve my creativity.
- My brain will store my ideas,
I don't need to write them down.
Now is the moment to start generating idea. Plenty of ideas. Don't censor yourself. Don't give up at the first "stupid" idea that comes to mind. Don't rush into implementing the first "good" idea that comes to mind either. Instead, ask yourself : "How can I develop this silly idea into a good idea ? How can I develop this good idea into a better idea ?"

Remember : an idea is a fragile flower. Think twice before sharing it. And when you do, don't discard your idea when it gets criticized. Again, turn the problem into a challenge : Ask your critics to improve it. Let's see how creative they are !

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