by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search
Extreme times call for extreme creativity: new inspiration, new ideas, and new solutions. Many of us are being called to be more creative than we ever have before. Here are six tips on how to maximize creativity, from people with vast creative accomplishments and from my own experience in consciously nurturing a creative existence.
- Believe deeply that your problem is solvable, have a passion for solving it, and be willing to put in the work. Negative thinking or claiming not to be creative is creative laziness. Positive thinking and staying open to whatever ideas arise helps open the channels to the eventual solutions. Putting in consistent time and effort pay off in forging the mastery needed for better solutions. Positivity combined with hard work raises creativity exponentially. In the words of the immortal RuPaul, “Negativity is basically laziness. It takes a lot of hard work to remain positive, but positivity always pays off.”
- The essence of being creative is the creative habit. As someone overcoming my own creativity roadblocks to become a musician later in life, I can attest that being a musician is chiefly tied not to some natural gift but to developing the habit of playing music six or seven days a week. If you can make a habit of working on your creative passion for as little as 10 minutes a day, it makes a tremendous difference in your progress and output.
- Try “Slow-Multi Tasking” to maximize your creative output. This Ted Talk highlights how prolific creative people have a handful of deep hobbies and creative endeavors they juggle for their whole lives. Charles Darwin was much more than a naturalist and biologist of plants and animals who developed a theory of evolution. He was a writer of several books and rugged adventurer who slowly made new discoveries with coral atolls and barnacles and kept a room in his home filled with earth worms and molds that he studied for decades. Reese Witherspoon is much more than a busy actress: she also has a lot going on with her production company, lifestyle brand, book club, book, documentary TV series, and philanthropic activities.
- Take a break! Relax and unplug. Paradoxically, it is often when we unplug a bit from work that the best ideas and inspiration foment. Something as simple as taking a walk aids your brain waves in bringing forward solutions that were previously locked in the vault of your subconscious. Isaac Newton was outside among the apple trees, under quarantine during the bubonic plague of 1665, when he watched an apple fall from a tree and discovered the law of gravity.
- Write your creative ideas down. Even if you do not have any and you do not know what to write, start writing down words. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on,” said writer Louis L’Amour. Develop a discipline around writing things down so you begin to capture ideas. Speaking of writing, if you are writing a book or any kind of written work, be patient, give it time, and expect many drafts. Leonard Cohen famously took over 80 drafts and many years to write his epic song Hallelujah.
- Learn how to use bisociation. Bisociation is the ninja move of creativity and one of the fundamentals: the fuel of architecture, new recipes, storytelling, music, humor, and countless new inventions. Merriam-Webster defines bisociation as “the simultaneous mental association of an idea or object with two fields ordinarily not regarded as related. The pun is perhaps the simplest form of bisociation.” Zombies, for example, have emerged as the creative engine for endless art, literature, and cinema. Before zombies, people were alive, or they were dead. They were not related. Zombies are the essence of bisociation – perceiving two seemingly disparate ideas, deadness and aliveness, in a groundbreaking new way. You too can use bisociation to come up with a groundbreaking new idea that will spark your creative efforts.
Need creative solutions for hiring top executive talent for your team? Contact Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org.