How Creative Are You?
This is not an article, it’s an idea; the idea that creativity is like a muscle and that you need to practice it to reap its benefits. But how?
Let’s start with a warm-up
Are you up for a quick test of your creative divergent thinking? Stop everything you’re doing and try this:
- Get your phone ready for a countdown of 1 minute. Is it ready?
- You will have to choose any item around you and think of as many alternative uses as you can think of. The original use doesn’t count.
- Pick an item and immediately start the countdown without overthinking it
- List the uses out loud and keep track of them.
How many uses did you come up with?
I tested this exercise with members of my mastermind and my students, the average number of uses they could come up with was around 6–7. We tried it with pens, pillows and ping pong paddles among other items.
What does divergent thinking look like?
Divergent thinking can make a food tray at a sports themed restaurant, a fan, a musical instrument or a bat hitting someone you hate from ping pong paddles. Through pillows, it sees two big comfy slippers and a parody of an 18th century hat when carved out at the center. A pen becomes a blue lipstick or a murder weapon.
Divergent thinking uncovers certain truths: you realize that almost everything can turn into a murder weapon and that almost everyone has the potential to be a psychopath with the tendencies of a serial killer. But that is not the primary objective of the exercise.
The beating heart of divergent thinking is the ability to see the normal with fresh eyes, to take things out of their natural context into another completely different frame, to hop from one category or industry to another at lightning speed, in sum, to explore as many eventualities as possible in a spontaneous, non-linear and free-flowing way.
And this is a key aspect of creativity: that’s how you come up with novel ideas through the unprecedented combination of elements.
Why is creativity important?
Creativity is the use of imagination to originate ideas and make things. It has the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated elements, to alter perception, to improve processes, to innovate, to solve problems, to find and create patterns…
Isn’t it so that all these actions undertaken in light of creative thinking are essential pieces of the 21st century puzzle?
The Future of Work is no longer about building things thoughtlessly, automatically. We’ll have panoplies of machines to do that. What we need is to be able to innovate in our industries and beyond, to solve the problems and challenges our communities and the world are facing, to continuously and effectively improve what we have and expand the realm of what we know.
How can you improve creativity?
Creativity is like a muscle, it requires practice. And the more you hone it, the more it strengthens. The more ideas you come up with and act upon, the more productive you become and the better your ideas become.
Ray Bradbury started writing at the age of 11. He published his first short story at the age of 18 and then sold another, The Lake, at the age of 22, for 13 dollars and 75 cents. He practiced his art and, for years, wrote one short story per week, always getting better at it, and eventually selling more year after year. In the basement of the UCLA Library, it took him 18 days to write his most famous novel, Fahrenheit 451. He could have never been able to create that book that without prior years of practice.
Creativity is like a muscle, it requires practice.
(Maybe) you go to the gym to take care of your physical health. (Maybe) you do meditation to take care of your mental health. But what about the health of your creative potential, one of the key assets in which you need to invest to survive and thrive in the 21st century?
Exercising creativity is as important as exercising your muscles. So here’s a Creativity Test for you. It will let you know what aspects of creativity you most need to work on and then will provide you with a customized roadmap featuring a series of challenges that will nurture your creative potential if you apply them.
So, here you go: enjoy the test and refresh your creativity.
What result did you get?
This article was first published on www.persedblog.com. Feel free to check it here. If you enjoyed the read, I would love to share more with you through the weekly insights for personal, professional and academic growth of my free newsletter.