Creativity – people are hungry for it! Have you noticed how popular adult coloring books are these days? You can find them in nearly every store and just as many places online.
How about the “sip & paint” type places? They just keep popping up.
Or the “real life escape adventures” – if one hasn’t arrived on the scene in your town, don’t worry, it’s on its way! It’s a great way to apply creative problem solving.
Games – there are oodles of games on the market – more than ever before! Games like Qwirkle, Things, or Telestrations that tap into your creativity, allow you to play, and giggle too! Have you played Noodle Speedoodle or Pyramix?
Not only do these endeavors tap into your creativity and force you to think in new ways, many of them also provide a way to bond relationally. Those are two things your souls long for!
You long for creativity (and relationships) because that’s the way God made you! He made you in His image. Don’t believe me? Check out Genesis 1:27: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God is the most creative being I know! Have you seen the incredible assortment of animals or the wide range of plants? The fact that ever single human being from Adam on has been a unique creation! That’s creativity!
Because you were made in His image, you are creative too! When you observe young children, it is easy to see uninhibited creativity. It naturally leaks out of them in their play, their drawing, their movement, their solutions to problems, and much more! Just yesterday, I got to witness my 9 month old grandson test out some very entertaining dance wiggles!
What is creativity? Dictionary.com describes it as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, which leads to producing. Ideas alone take imagination, but creativity requires action.
According to researcher Robert McGarvey, in Kindergarten, 84% of the children rate high in creativity. By the time children reach second grade, only 10% of children rate high in creativity.
In another study reported by Sir Ken Robinson, who was the chair of the UK Government’s report on creativity, education, and the economy, described how 98% of the 1600 three to five year old children they tested showed that they could think in divergent or non-linear ways; in other words, creatively. By the time children were 10 only 32% could think divergently. The same test was applied to thirteen to fifteen year olds only 10% could think divergently. Of the 200,000 25 year olds they tested only 2% could think divergently.
The conclusion… Education is driven by the idea of one answer which stifles divergent or creative thinking. (Sir Ken Robinson has quite a sense of humor – be sure to check out his TED talk here)
In my opinion, education contributes significantly to the lack of creativity in adults, but it is not the only factor. Consider these factors that might be blocking your creativity:
1. Being too busy
Creativity needs time and space. Without margin in your schedule and time designated for creative activities your creativity will lie dormant.
2. Fearing failure
Being creative requires that you explore and experiment. When you are trying something new, it doesn’t always turn out successfully. If you view failure as a learning experience being creativity will come easy. If you fear failure it will stifle your creativity.
3. Believing a lie
There is a myth about creativity. The myth is that some adults are creative and some are not. That’s a lie! The truth is some people are more creative than others, but that we all have access to creativity. It may play out in different ways, but like any other muscle, if it is not used it will atrophy. If you want to be more creative, you have to use that muscle more often! Don’t believe the lie that you are not creative!
4. Lacking the right environment
It takes a positive atmosphere for creativity to be nurtured; an environment full of encouragement, safety, and freedom to make mistakes.
It is also important to have a physical space that fosters creativity for you. Since we are all different, the environment that fosters creativity may be different. For me, I am most creative in an uncluttered space full of things that I enjoy. While I am most creative in silence, many are more creative with music playing. If I am trying to do some creative problem solving there is nothing better than a walk and the great outdoors! What kind of environment are you most creative in?
What difference does creativity make in a leader? It makes all the difference!
Leaders that know how to harness creativity and solve problems in bold new ways are going to stand out in a crowd and get noticed. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, professional, business owner, or leading a Fortune 500 company, if you have the ability to be creative, and know how to nurture that in those you lead, you will be head and shoulders above the rest!
My guess is you want to be a leader that stands out. So let me ask you this: Where in your life or leadership are you not getting the results you desire? An ever changing world demands new solutions – new creative solutions! Is your creativity muscle up to the task? Where have you been doing the same old thing, and if you are honest, the effectiveness has dwindled? That is yet another opportunity for a hearty dose of creativity.
It is time to mix it up; bring the usual to a halt and imagine the possibilities? What would the reward be to infusing more creativity into your life and leadership?
What do you need to let go of to free up space for creative pursuits? How will you switch things up and deviate from the norm way of approaching opportunities? Who can help you brainstorm and provide a completely different perspective on your challenges?
Let this be the year that you thrive where ever you lead!
PS Stay tuned – more ways to exercise your creativity muscle, as well as ways to apply creativity as a leader in upcoming blogs.