The future belongs to those who believe in dreams.
—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, humanitarian and diplomat
A tiny speck appears on the horizon. It’s hard to see. It begins to move closer and closer. It looks like a shapeless blob, but as it moves closer, it starts to take form. The form becomes real, and unexpectedly you are suddenly within the form. The memory of the creation fades because you are now part of the form itself. This is your reality and it is continually growing and shifting.
And then another speck appears on the horizon. . . .
This is the essence of the creative mind. Something appears where nothing previously existed, then takes form and becomes real.
There are countless deﬁnitions of creativity. But the process of creative thinking is simply the ability to see something not seen before, bringing something new out of a rearrangement of the old.
The destruction of the old gives birth to the new.
Creativity is ﬁrst of all an act of destruction.
—PABLO PICASSO, Spanish painter and sculptor
We are all creative. Creative potential is human nature. Some of us may have more highly developed creative skills than others, some may not view themselves as creative types and never try anything they consider ‘‘creative,’’ but my guess is that most people have never had anyone show them how to stay out of their own way. I have some practical advice for creative idea generation, and I offer them here to help you remove the stumbling blocks to your own creativity.
Quantum Leap Thinking™ Creative Tip #1: BREAK OUT OF THE INTELLIGENCE TRAP.
Logic is a tool invented for certain uses;
it is not the way we deal with reality most of the time,
despite our conditioning.
—MORTON HUNT, The Universe Within
Many of us believe that intelligence alone should be able to solve problems in both our personal and business relationships. This has led us to believe that innovation, problem solving, productivity, and open communication can be handled by using our brains. The result is the Intelligence Trap: frustration, confusion, guilt, blame, and anxiety.
Creative thinking and logic are really two sides of the same coin; the balance between the two is the mark of a Quantum Leap Thinker.
The action of the child inventing a new game with his playmates;
Einstein formulating a theory of relativity;
the housewife or househusband devising a new sauce for the meat;
a young author writing his ﬁrst novel;
all of these are, in terms of our deﬁnition, creative,
and there is no attempt to set them in some order of more or less creative.
—CARL R. ROGERS, On Becoming a Person
Curiously, people hesitate to recognize the breakthroughs in their own lives as creative acts. If I ask an audience to name people they view as creative, they invariably list famous artists or inventors. No one has ever said, ‘‘Me.’’
Perhaps this reluctance stems from our perception that creative acts must result in something artistic, like a book, a painting, music, or a scientiﬁc breakthrough. Or perhaps we have a negative perception of how creative people behave, think, or look.
Have you ever felt the elation that comes with solving a problem, when the answer just came to you? It seemed to go beyond logic. This is creativity, and it occurs more often than you realize. We are creative by nature. Accept the possibility that you are creative, and magic will happen.
The creative side of your nature includes intuition, ideas, dreams, fantasy, and invention. Without the creative side of your brain, intelligence is a rather useless tool. Your creative side is elusive and delicate. Fear and negativity can send the creative self into hiding. The creative mind needs constant nurturing. There is a tremendous payoff to paying attention to the creative side of your being, because only by using your imagination can you shift paradigms and bring forth the invisible.
Quantum Leap Thinking™ Creative Tip #2: CREATE SPACE.
If you have a full glass of water, you can’t add anything. Pour some out, and you have room for more. Your mind is much the same. Making space allows the creative mind to add new ideas.
I know that you can justify your ‘‘busy-ness.’’ One of the great gifts of the human mind is to create reasons for why we do what we do. That’s a creative act, too. But being busy does not necessarily mean being creative or productive
You probably feel guilty at the thought of taking time off, but guilt is just another form of fear to conquer. There are people who can easily take time for themselves, contemplate, or meditate without letting the ‘‘shoulds’’ creep in. I am not one of them. It takes a real commitment on my part to schedule alone time, but I make the time because I have learned the payoff is always beyond my expectations. I give myself full permission to change my mind and go back to my ‘‘schedule,’’ but I seldom do.
If you want to develop your creative thinking ability, schedule stop time. You need the space to grow. I’m not advising you to go off to an ashram, although some people may make that choice. Choose a style of stop time that ﬁts your lifestyle. For me it’s daily meditation. For you it may mean twenty minutes of time alone one day a week. If your wife, husband, or signiﬁcant other is supportive, you may be able to take a week for yourself every six months. When you put the brakes on, you are forced to confront yourself. Busy-ness is often an unconscious choice to avoid reﬂection.
Quantum Leap Thinking™ Creative Tip #3: DO SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT.
Creative ideas come to the intuitive person who can
face up to the insecurity of looking beyond the obvious.
—MORTON HUNT, The Universe Within
Breaking routine is mandatory for the creative process. Go to the opera if you gravitate toward sports. Go to a ball game if you usually go to the theater. Read a biography if you usually read ﬁction, or poetry if you read only the newspaper. Find a way to break your old ways and shift your patterns of behavior.
I have come up with incredible ideas while ﬂying a kite. You may simply choose to drive a different route to work or eat a different type of food. Go rafting. Go ﬁshing. Walk in a mall. Consciously break your routine. Make yourself a little uncomfortable.
Look at the ﬁgure below. What do you see?
Shift your perception. Bring the back ground to the foreground. You’ll see a knight riding a horse. That is what doing something out of the ordinary gives you: a different perspective. By changing the way you look at things, you bring the background to the foreground; you bring forth unseen possibilities. If you can’t see the possibility, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
If you’re involved in ‘‘keeping up’’ with life on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s handling business or raising children, you may feel exhausted and busy, but you can always do something different. Think about it. See if you can come up with four ideas for changing your routine.
IMAGINE THAT! Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance is the first web-supported book with access to 21 video-coaching clips.
“I just wanted to take a moment and tell you that I have finished reading the most brilliant book. From the time I received it in the mail until a few moments ago in reading the last words – “IMAGINE THAT!” is genius!” – Shard Drury, THE 360 Career Coach
Originally published on The Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of author