How To Tap Into Your Inner Creative

by | Jul 31, 2018 | Tips | 0 comments

Featured image – Tim Walker Photography

If someone were to ask you to think of ‘creativity’ what comes to mind?

Maybe you’re thinking of artists, or musicians, or dancers, or poets….
but there is so much more to creativity than these stereotypical, ‘traditional’ portrayals. We must first strip creativity down to its definition:

Definition of creativity:
“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”

Every single person has creativity within them, it comes naturally with being human. It is part of the reason we were able to advance so much further than other animals – our ability to problem solve. Problem solving is, in itself, a form of creativity. It’s the ability to think outside of normal patterns and look at something from a new perspective. It’s about curiosity, the desire to discover, the desire to create change or something different.

One of the most infuriating things people say is “I’m not creative”. What they mean is “I wasn’t very good at Art at school”.

Don’t get me wrong, these traditional expressions of creativity are still relevant, and important. They often help inspire people to tap into their own creativity, but it is important to also focus on ‘everyday’ creative expression.

An unfortunate aspect of creativity is that it’s difficult to view your own. As I mentioned, creativity is naturally within us, so people often don’t realise that other people don’t think the way they do. For example, I know a brilliant writer, who is only ever confused if you tell her she is brilliant at writing. It comes so naturally to her she assumes everyone else must also find it easy. I know a brilliant aerospace engineer, who finds it incredibly simple to design different styles of paper airplanes (which actually work by the way) because understanding the physics of flight comes so easily to her. Again, if you tell her she’s brilliant at it, she frowns at you and says “it’s very simple”.

Entrepreneurs tend to be particularly bad for this also. By nature they are incredibly creative. They look at problems and find the solutions – often by looking at the issue from a new angle.

I’ve chatted with entrepreneurs who have delayed creating their Big Idea, because to them it was such an obvious solution, they assumed someone else was already doing it.

So this leads nicely to my first point on how to tap into your inner creative….

1. Acknowledgment

It might sound silly, but this really is the first hurdle. For some of you it might be blatantly obvious, maybe you’re a painter, maybe you’re a dancer, maybe you’re good at jigsaws. If you really don’t know where your creativity lies, ask your friends, ask your family, ask the people closest to you. You may well be surprised with their answer, it might be something you’ve never thought of before, but I assure you, creativity is there within you somewhere.

2. Environment

A lot of expressing creativity is about environment. You need to feel comfortable, able to express yourself, and able to give your brain room to roam.

Find what works for you. Whether it’s the time of day, the physical location, or the medium you’re using. Some people need structure, some people need to be given set guidelines, some people need to be outside, some people need to be listening to music. Whatever it is, find the right balance of what feels right for you and go from there…

3. Practise

I’m not kidding – creativity takes practise. The more you practise the better you become. Think of athletes, think of great writers, think of great jigsawers (I’m not totally convinced that’s the correct name for someone who jigsaws…. If you are a jigsawer, please forgive my ignorance). The people who excel are the people committed to practising over and over and over again. I know this might sound slightly contradicting to what I said earlier about creativity being innate, however there is a difference. The natural ability is there – but if you want to access your creativity regularly, and you want it to flow easily like a mountain stream, then you must wear down that metaphorical riverbed, with practise, until its smooth and free flowing.

Half of what you produce will most likely be rubbish – that is absolutely fine. Even if its more like 80% rubbish – that’s also fine. You’re not striving for perfection every time, you’re aiming to find your groove, and find what works. Over time it will be 60% rubbish, then 40% rubbish, then 20%, until you’re able to tap into your inner creative and hit that sweet spot whenever you like.

So, if your creative outlet is writing, write like crazy! If its designing buildings, sketch like crazy! If its open heart surgery, practise like crazy! (this one in particular… for all our sakes).

Let those creative juices run free and wild….

Being aware and in tune with your creativity is more important than people give it credit. Expressing yourself can be a hobby, or part of your job. For some people it comes very naturally and is right at the surface. For others it requires a bit more work… but either way I can assure you it’s worth it in the long run.

What excites me most about a world full of people in touch with their inner creative is the playground this will create for new ideas, solutions to old problems, and most importantly change. We are facing so many world issues – pollution, the refugee crisis, global warming, etc – creativity lies at the heart of how we can create change and overcome these global challenges together.

There are no bad ideas, just practise runs for the good ideas.

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How To Tap Into Your Inner Creative

by | Jul 31, 2018 | Tips | 0 comments

For many years now, the Millennial workforce has been consistently changing the way we work in more ways than one. As noted by NBC News, aside from raising awareness over various topics such as employee and workplace well-being, work-life balance, and flexibility, this new generation of professionals has also made it the norm for managers and company leaders to provide a steady flow of feedback.

  

This reality has eventually led to the emergence of hundreds of millions of resources on the different ways to give effective feedback. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about being on the other end: there just isn't enough information out there on how to receive feedback well. That being said, here are six tips that can help you get the most out of all the feedback you receive:

1. Handle your emotions offline 

We can't help it if certain comments make us feel certain ways -- we're only human after all. However, your emotional response is yours and yours alone to deal with. To ensure that you are capable of addressing every piece of the feedback with determination and an open mind, get negative emotional reactions out of your system through simple breathing exercises.
An article by Pain-Free Working explained how exercises like deep breathing, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, and the lion’s breath technique can help release tension in the head, promote relaxation and improve your mood in just a few minutes.

2. Identify good intentions 

Taking in criticism or feedback can be hard -- no matter how meaningful, constructive or true it may be. However, it is something you must overcome in order to become better at receiving feedback. Again, you have to remember that the person giving you an evaluation isn’t out to get you and intentionally hurt your feelings. They are there with the intention to help you see points of improvement.

3. Actively listen

Whether you are listening to a talk or participating in a class, the only foolproof way to learn as much as you can is by listening actively. This undeniable truth also applies when taking in feedback. When the other person is sharing his or her feedback with you, make sure to listen closely. Let the person share their complete evaluation, without interruption. Avoid analysing or questioning each and every comment, and instead, focus on trying to understand what the other person means and the perspective they are coming from. Once they are done, The Muse suggests repeating back the comment to ensure that you got everything right.

 4. ASK QUESTIONS

In addition to repeating the other person’s comments, it would also be in your best interest to ask questions if there are parts that you weren’t able to fully grasp. Asking questions will not only show how willing you are when it comes to understanding their assessment. This simple act can also help you have more clarity, get to the root of the issues raised and have access to some possible solutions for addressing said issues.

5. Learn from each feedback

Even if the feedback you’ve received is unfavourable, there is surely still something you can learn from it. Just like how you would try to ‘Overcome Failure’, ask yourself why you got such commentary. Then, use that knowledge to further improve your work and to ensure that the next feedback you’d get will be much better.

6. CIRCLE BACK

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. With that in mind, after making sense of the feedback you've received, make sure to work on the items mentioned and issues raised. It would also be a good idea to circle back with them to see how things are going from their perspective. Doing so will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but also provide you with an opportunity to get more feedback.

Feedback can be thought of as two-way streets. Meaning to say, in order for it to be as effective as it can be, the giver should know how to offer meaningful comments while the receiver should know how to receive assessments well.

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