Yes, that’s my quote, and what this post is all about today.
I’m writing this piece to co-publish on a cool new blog called Follow the Weasel. Most of the content on FtW is in German, but selected bits, such as mine, are in English. FtW is a potpourri of creativity and innovation topics, a bit of design and invention, and it has a younger readership in Austria and Germany. Thank you to “Alf Red” a young visionary for the invitation to guest post on FtW. My post is directed at younger people, but it might resonate with anyone seeking greater creativity.
There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — and it’s hard work. There’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices — some of it is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also good. Finally there is also what I as an American would simply term “bullshit” — in other words, useless, boring drivel. If you intend to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments. And…don’t get lost in all the words. Creativity, the wellspring of innovation, starts with something very simple — a choice.
Creativity is not something that happens to you. Or doesn’t happen to you! It may feel that way at times when your creativity doesn’t seem to be present. People over many years have bemoaned how elusive creativity seems to be, and term it a muse, an angel, a gift from God, etc. Creativity is indeed connected to spirituality. In my view it is part of the soul. So, I understand why people would connect it to things divine. And I understand it’s elusive nature, I don’t deny that.
I strongly believe that Creativity is more of a choice than it is a muse.
When you make an active choice to be creative, your life changes. When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say “I’m creative” you’re choosing a path, and, you’re telling your brain how to behave. Good things will flow from that choice, trust me. When you make that creative choice, creativity, over time, becomes something that’s part of your being, your personality, how you think and act — all you do. When you integrate it into your life and mind, elusive creativity shows up more often and stays longer.
If you say, on the other hand, “am I creative?” or even worse, “I’m not creative” your brain will listen and will process challenges with no momentum. And, you’ll be living life tentatively, with fear, and with no confidence — and that’s no way to live. If creativity is a muse, you’ll have told it to go somewhere else. If you think this way now, that you are not creative, remember that creativity is not just about artistic talent, at its root it’s the human capability of solving problems. If you’ve ever solved a problem, you are creative.
So, young people, creative people, I urge you to make the choice. Say it out loud. Write it down in your idea notebook (which you must have with you at all times). Pick a time, every day, to remind yourself of your choice. Maybe it’s the morning mirror, maybe it’s an oak tree you pass, maybe it’s the door to your home, maybe it’s the first taste of coffee or tea. That’s your reminder moment, your re-choice moment. Pick your moment now.
Try this for a month and see the difference in your creative results. I’d wish you luck, but when you make this choice you no longer need it. I’ll just say — happy trails to you, until we meet again.
PS: If you want to start into more advanced practice, you might consider my book — Jack’s Notebook, a business novel about creative problem solving.