If they work for them, they can work for you too!
“There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll
Many people believe that creativity is inborn and only a chosen few are creative. While it is true that creativity is inborn, it is not true that only a chosen few are creative.
Everyone is born creative. In the process of growing up, educating yourself and adapting yourself to your environment, you slowly add blocks to your creativity and forget that you had it in the first place.
The difference between a creative person and a person who is not so creative is not in the creativity that they were born with but in the creativity that they have lost.
How can you enhance your creative ability? One possible way is to observe the habits of creative people, identify the ones that you feel will work for you and then make a plan to cultivate them.
Here are 16 habits of creative people. If you cultivate some of them, you will feel an increase in your level of creativity. In the process, you will also feel tickled by life!
1. Creative people are full of curiosity.
Creative people are wonderstruck. They are tickled by the newness of every moment. They have lots of questions. They keep asking what, why, when, where and how.
A questioning mind is an open mind. It is not a knowing mind. Only an open mind can be creative. A knowing mind can never be creative.
A questioning stance sensitizes the mind in a very special way and it is able to sense what would have been missed otherwise.
2. Creative people are problem-friendly.
When there is a problem, some people can be seen wringing up their hands. Their first reaction is to look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. Such people can be called problem-averse.
Creative people, on the other hand, are problem-friendly. They just roll up their sleeves when faced with a problem. They see problems as opportunities to improve the quality of life. Being faced with a problem is never a problem.
You get dirty and take a bath every day. You get tired and relax every day. Similarly, you have problems that need to be solved every day. Life is a fascinating rhythm of problems and solutions.
To be problem-averse is to be life-averse. To be problem-friendly is to be life-friendly. Problems come into your life to convey some message. If you run away from them, you miss the message.
3. Creative people value their ideas.
Creative people realize the value of an idea. They do not take any chance with something so important. They carry a small notepad to note down ideas whenever they occur. (I usually type it in my mobile/laptop whichever available.)
Many times, just because they have a notepad and are looking for ideas to jot down, they can spot ideas which they would have otherwise missed.
4. Creative people embrace challenges.
Creative people thrive on challenges. They have a gleam in their eyes as soon as they sniff one. Challenges bring the best out of them – reason enough to welcome them.
5. Creative people are full of enthusiasm.
Creative people are enthusiastic about their goals. This enthusiasm works as fuel for their journey, propelling them to their goals.
6. Creative people are persistent.
Creative people know it well that people may initially respond to their new ideas like the immune system responds to a virus. They’ll try to reject the idea in a number of ways.
Creative people are not surprised or frustrated because of this. Nor do they take it personally. They understand it takes time for a new idea to be accepted. In fact, the more creative the idea, the longer it takes for it to be appreciated.
7. Creative people are perennially dissatisfied.
Creative people are acutely aware of their dissatisfactions and unfulfilled desires. However, this awareness does not frustrate them. As a matter of fact, they use this awareness as a stimulus to realize their dreams.
8. Creative people are optimists.
Creative people generally have a deeply held belief that most, if not all, problems can be solved. No challenge is too big to be overcome.
This doesn’t mean they are always happy and never depressed. They do have their bad moments but they don’t generally get stumped by a challenge.
9. Creative people make positive Judgment.
A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn. It can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a right man’s brow – a businessman Charles Brower
The ability to hold off on judging or critiquing an idea is important in the process of creativity. Often great ideas start as crazy ones – if critique is applied too early the idea will be killed and never developed into something useful and useable.
This doesn’t mean there is no room for critique or judgment in the creative process but there is a time and place for it and creative people recognize that.
10. Creative people go for the big kill.
Creative people realize that the first idea is just the starting point. It is in the process of fleshing it out that some magical cross-connections happen and the original ‘normal’ idea turns into a killer idea.
11. Creative people are prepared to stick it out.
Creative people who actually see their ideas come to fruition have the ability to stick with their ideas and see them through – even when the going gets tough. This is what sets them apart from others. Stick-ability is the key.
12. Creative people do not fall in love with an idea.
Creative people recognize how dangerous it is to fall in love with an idea. Falling in love with an idea means stopping more ideas from coming to their mind. They love the process of coming up with ideas, not necessarily the idea.
13. Creative people recognize the environment in which they are most creative.
Creative people do most of their thinking in an environment which is most conducive to their creativity. If they are unable to influence their physical environment, they recreate their ‘favourite’ creative environment in their minds.
14. Creative people are good at reframing any situation.
Reframes are a different way of looking at things. Being able to reframe experiences and situations is a very powerful skill.
Reframing allows you to look at a situation from a different angle. It is like another camera angle in a football match. And a different view has the power to change your entire perception of the situation.
Reframing can breathe new life into dead situations. It can motivate demoralized teams. It helps you to spot opportunities that you would have otherwise missed.
15. Creative people are friends with the unexpected.
Creative people have the knack of expecting the unexpected and finding connections between unrelated things. It is this special quality of mind that evokes serendipitous events in their lives.
Having honed the art of making happy discoveries, they are able to evoke serendipity more often than others.
16. Creative people are not afraid of failures.
Creative people realize that the energy that creates great ideas also creates errors. They know that failure is not really the opposite of success.
In fact, both failure and success are on the same side of the spectrum because both are the result of an attempt made. Creative people look at failure as a stopover on way to success, just a step away from it.
Shalu Wasu is a Singapore based trainer and consultant. Among other things, he conducts open programs on Creativity and Innovation and Blogging for Business at NUS extension. Visit http://www.lifeahoy.sg to find out more about the programs and the next available dates.