Creativity and inspiration can come from anything. Sometimes you are trying really hard and you don’t get any ideas and other times when you are not even trying, you get tons. While we cannot completely control our creativity, we can definitely use some simple tips and tricks to enhance it:
An elementary school teacher gave her first graders a coloring assignment. The sheet of paper contained an outline of different objects like a house, trees, sky e.t..c and the children were asked to color each of the objects with the appropriate color. Patty worked really hard on her assignment but when she got it back, she was surprised to see a big black “X” on it. When she asked the teacher for an explanation, the teacher said “I gave you an “X” because you didn’t follow the instructions. Grass is green not grey. The sky should be blue and not yellow as you have drawn it. Why didn’t you use the normal colors Patty?”
Patty answered, “Because that’s how it looks to me when I get up early to watch the sunrise.”
We often get so engrossed in our work that we get utterly serious. We forget that it is important to create a playful environment because our minds work better that way.
This also reminds me of what Howard Thurman once said:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
We all get these. We keep thinking about something and even though we realize we are not getting anywhere, we continue to stress our mind in the same direction, with no use. For times like these Doug King said
“Learn to pause…or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.”
Success, sometimes doesn’t exactly produce the results we intented. What I mean is, we might get the short-term results we hoped for, but it might not be the right thing for our long-term plan.
Here are a couple of examples to explain this better:
- In mid-1960’s, the Japanese resort town of Atami made great effort to build a high-speed train between Atami and Tokyo, which was three hours away at that time. After the railway was completed, tourism declined – in part because a lot of people wanted to take that drive to get away from the hustling world, which isn’t as charming if you can reach the place in fifty minutes.
- France’s mobilization efforts in the first weeks of WWII were so great that tens of thousands of war industry workers enlisted. As a result, these industries were practically brought to halt, thereby placing the country at even greater risk. Several months later, the new recruits were returned to their jobs.
How would you read this?
Right, its the roman numeral 8
Now how would you read this?
Right again, its the roman numeral 9.
Now how would you make “IX” a 6 by just adding a single line?
Suzy Girard-Ruttenberg writes and I quote:
“There’s a classic story about a bicycle manufacturer who sent two marketing scouts to opposite ends of a remote corner of Africa to assess the prospects for expanding its business into this unexplored region. The first scout sends back a telegram stating: Situation worthless, no one rides bikes. The other telegram excitedly proclaims: Incredible business opportunity, no one rides bikes.”
This is a very good example of different ways people think in; one of which is “possiblity Thinking”. As the name suggests, possibility thinkers believe that anything is possible even when things don’t look favorable and your mind suggests otherwise. They try to keep an overly positive attitude about things and try to work towards achieving their dreams instead of thinking that it is not practical/possible to make those dreams a reality.
There are a lot of articles suggesting that possibility thinking is the right attitude to adopt if you want to get things done. I don’t know if it is or if it isn’t. May be its both. May be some people get better results with the “everything is possible” thinking, while some people do better when they think “analytically”.
Whatever way of thinking you utilize, I think its very important to identify it and work towards improving it. The sooner you know how you think, the better analysis you would do of your weaknesses and strengths. This would give you a good chance to identify and overcome your weaknesses.
Henry Ford suggested: “I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.” Some more good quotes here.
This is probably something someone put together several years ago, but since I am of the view that good thoughts are applicable irrespective of time and place, I’ll pass these on to you. To some of you these may sound very cliched but I believe that sometimes even a trivial thought can hit a good string in your brain.
- Break out of self-imposed limitations.
- Look for wider solutions. ‘think outside the box’.
- Think sideways; explore the least likely directions; abandon step-by-step approach and thinking ‘to one side’ and master the ‘lateral thinking’ approach.
- Sharpen your brain – communicate and exchange ideas with other creative people as often as you can. This is useful not only for stimulating idea generation but also for giving you an opportunity to validate your ideas through professional colleagues.
- If you are thinking along a certain line and nothing happens, stop. Step out of your shoes, analyze the problem again and see if you can come up with a new approach.
- If you are working on a problem and getting nowhere, leave it for a while and let your subconscious – your depth mind – to take over. Soon, new ideas and facts will inspire new associations and innovative combinations.
Right now, I am reading A whack on the side of the head by Roger von Oech. It is not one of those books that are on your must-read list for a while, and you are dying to read them. Rather, it was a book somebody casually mentioned in one of the magazines and I ordered it online just out of curiosity.
To be honest, the book is turning out to be great so far. He uses a very nice approach to illustrate several mental blocks that people get and explain how to try removing them so one can think outside the box.
I will definitely keep sharing interesting stuff from his book but i’ll also recommend you to get a copy. You can get a used copy from Amazon for less than 5 bucks including shipping.