Special to Times of Oman
How many believe they are creative? I asked that question to a group of participants in a workshop. Only a very few raised their hands. Some of those were subtly raised. I smiled. The concept of creativity seemed far-fetched from our day to day lives, an element that is unique to a certain percentage of society. Let's rephrase the earlier question. "How many here believe they are human?" Naturally all would raise their hands. It is stating the obvious. Creativity is no different. To be human is to be creative. To be creative is to be human. Along the way, perceptions came in the way to make us think otherwise.
Creativity has been greatly associated with concepts of craziness, being rebellious, and achieving major breakthroughs. Creativity has been romanticised with images of the artists, or in many cases with the struggling artist. Stories and quotes are shared among the people that further push that understanding. This leaves us to idealise the 'Creative Ones' and see little place for it in our lives and our minds' potential.
Let's look at the core of creativity and how it is actually a core within all of us. At its simplest, creativity is coming up with a new idea or solution. This may bring value, better the situation or achieve improvement in attaining certain results.
In our personal lives we need to come up with solutions on how we pursue opportunities or overcome challenges. We need to step back and be willing to look at things differently. We may even apply creativity at everyday mundane tasks, which may be finding a new approach to reach office avoiding the traffic.
At work we also need to come up with new solutions to better lead the organisation forward or overcome a bottleneck. As a start-up business we need to introduce a new solution for a current situation or find a new way to improve a solution in the market. In society we need to come up with solutions for society's development or pave a different approach of how we typically do things.
Regardless of our role in life and what occupies our area of concern, creativity is a mind-set and thinking process of creating and being solution-oriented in whatever we put our mind into, from the day to day ideas to the major breakthrough ideas. Creativity doesn't become a luxury in this case, but rather a necessity. All of this is required if we are to keep growing, improving, and being in the lead, rather than the back seat. One need not be crazy, a rebel or a major inventor. One needs the drive to push their thinking forward, be willing to see things differently, and generate ideas.
Often people may feel their ideas are not good enough or they can't come up with great ideas. Some may feel the environment is pressuring or confining. Others may look back at when they were children with curious mind sets and an overflow of ideas, then back at today as adults feeling they no longer have what it takes to be creative.
Just like a muscle when exercising, our thinking gets better when we exercise it and intentionally prioritise our personal development. You might do one push-up expecting to get results right away, but you would have to do more and on a continuous basis to get the fitness you aspire for.
This is similar to our creativity. Initial ideas my not be as good, yet still keep exercising that muscle and generating ideas. Play with the ideas you generate. Step back and look at a situation with a fresh mind. And nurture habits that cultivate your creativity.
By realising creativity is part of all us, let's give ourselves the gift of educating ourselves on how to develop our creativity, how to connect with our creative spark, and what techniques can support us. Proactively apply this learning to experience the difference.
It is also helpful to create your own Creative Target List. This is a list of all the areas, whether personal or professional, that you are struggling with or seeking to change and differentiate. Once you list these elements, start approaching them with creative thinking to come up with new solutions.
So here's to each and every one of us: here's to the Creative Ones. No matter who you are. No matter what you do. Claim back your creativity. It is within you. It is yours. We are born to be creative. We are born to live creatively.
The author is a senior executive at Knowledge Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.
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