Sunday, July 12, 2015

The four step plan for creative success

Raphael: The School of Athens (Plato)

We live in a century of immense change. Yesterday's answers cannot resolve the complex problems we face every day at almost every level and in almost any position. Creativity especially shows a close correlation between professional achievement and leadership. But creativity is important not only to improve work performance but it is increasingly essential in solving every-day problems of our increasingly complex lives. Creativity is a productive lifestyle, which improves the quality of life overall. Although intelligence measures show a gradual increase due to positive changes in social and technological environments, unfortunately, a reverse trend is found for creativity.

Enhancing creativity through positive mental change lead to long-term creative accomplishments and overall success. Creativity requires alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, culminating in the aha moment, and makes a discovery so pleasurable. Understanding the nature and operation of the mind is the first step to accomplish meaningful mental change. Although arbitrary creative ideas happen to anybody, it takes systematic preparation to achieve mental excellence, which is essential to achieve long-term creative success. There are four crucial elements of creativity.

(1)  Understand the problem. Without knowing the crux of the contradiction or failings of the problem, creating or finding a solution is not possible. However, a detailed understanding is not required! In fact, too many details are often confusing and misleading. Your insight of the problem must be to the point, sharp as a needle, to puncture the perceived resistance of the difficulty.

(2)  Accept the place where you are. Creativity is not linear progress. Most often, creative solutions come to those who are not positioned well in the organization or even come from outside. The lower you find yourself compared to your expectation, the better you are positioned for a breakthrough.

(3)  Be immersed in the problem. All creative people have a hundred percent mental commitment. They cannot be disturbed! Whereas environmental disturbances disrupt most people, creative minds thrive on stressful situations, which further sharpen their resolve toward the goal.

(4) Keep a light disposition. Children do not feel inhibited by expectation or social pressure. Their genuineness allows them to see into the essence of things with creative potential. Playful activities possess inner freedom, which is conducive to creativity. Eliminating shaming, criticism, and pressure will allow creative instincts to flourish.

This last point is important. Mental commitment is not a forceful and rigid concentration; in fact, creative people do not seem to work on the problem at all! Einstein often received creative inspiration while chatting with friends or engaged in other mundane activities. Mozart enjoyed light-hearted partying with friends, but he could 'see' a whole symphony in a creative moment. Creativity visits a clear, playful mind: live with a clear conscience. This allows a mental openness toward others and the world. Do not weigh down your mind with worries, lies, remorse. Get rid of grudges, hurts of any kind as soon as you have them. This is an emotionally difficult and meticulous task, but well worth the effort! You will have to develop a personal method that you can regularly follow. Go for a walk; focus on a mantra or meditation to liberate your mind from a negative mindset. Very often, mental house cleaning will immediately create space for a creative solution. Follow up and work on your idea. Ideas are only as good as the diligent, persistent work that follows them. You must have the courage and determination to act! Fear of failure is incapacitating. When we act despite fear, we move toward success. Do not get discouraged if you receive an unworkable, faulty answer at first. If you are persistent and remain optimistic, creative solutions will visit you.

Have a notebook in which to collect your unedited thoughts. Some people have a journal at their bedside, to immediately write down ideas as they have them. If you write regularly, your creative potential will accumulate and form an interconnected whole.

Creativity cannot be planned for but can be cultivated. 

My handbook, The Power of Joy, gives you the tools and advice to liberate yourself from negativity.

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