You want to double your creativity. Great. It’s a worthy goal for all of us. Let me show you how in the next ten minutes.
Why Creativity is Important
Let’s begin by looking at why creativity is important.
Being creative is part of being human. It’s one thing that separates us from our animal cousins. To experience this simply look around where ever you are reading or watching this. You’re probably reading this via a phone or a computer and you’re watching a digital message sent via the internet from my home in Geelong, Australia to where ever you might be.
Take a moment to consider how amazing that is. We can now communicate across the world to people we’ve never met. And that is the result of ingenuity, innovation, and creativity.
At a personal level, you may want to be more creative to help you in your career, business or life.
You might want to create something specific like a painting or a sculpture, write a software program or a book, or begin cooking up a storm in your kitchen for your family.
Beyond all this there is one thing that being more creative will give all of us: freedom and choice.
We all face obstacles, challenges, and struggles in our lives. That’s natural. And while we do need grit, resilience, and compassion to find our way through this, we also need to be creative to find another way.
And that’s the essence of creativity – to look at our situation and see it with fresh eyes – to create a path forward.
Your Creative Rating
Before you begin, to be able to say you have doubled your creativity, you first must benchmark where you are right now. You can do this by giving yourself a creative rating.
On a scale of zero to ten, how would you rate your current level of creativity? Zero means you don’t have a creative bone in your body and ten means you’re already a creative genius able to create almost anything anytime.
Take a moment to rate yourself right now. You might even want to write it down.
Your Creative Definition
Now, you want to dig a little deeper into what this rating means. You want to ask yourself, ‘Why did you rate yourself this score?’
Let’s presume you scored yourself 4 out of ten. Why were you not a two or less? And why were you not an eight or more?
By reflecting upon and answering this question, you will reveal your personal definition of creativity. For instance, if
you said you scored a four because you cannot draw faces very well, then this reveals that, for you, creativity is based on skill in art-based activities.
Why did you rate yourself as you did? Again, you might like to write down your response as a record of your thoughts.
To Become a Creative Genius
If you want to tease this out even further, you might also consider these two related questions:
- What would a score of zero look like?
- And what would it take to be able to say you are a creative genius?
For instance, to be a creative genius you might think you have to be able to paint like Picasso, think like Einstein or invent things like Edison. Again, this gives us more clues as to what creativity is for you.
How to Double your Creativity
Now, the title of this post makes a big claim – that you can double your creativity in the next ten minutes.
While that might sound like clickbait (sorry it wasn’t meant to be) and it might also sound like magic.
To shift your creativity and your rating, you need to shift your definition of what creativity is.
In other words, to measure your performance against a different scale.
We could just lower the bar and say anyone who could tie up their shoelaces is a creative genius. While I did feel like a genius when I cracked this challenge as a five-year-old, I’m not sure that’s going to cut it now.
The Two Things that determine your Creative Ability
I used to run a creativity course based on this exact challenge of rating your creative abilities. As a result, I’ve seen hundreds of replies to this exercise.
The key is not the number or score you gave yourself, it’s in your reason for ranking yourself as you did.
Almost everyone rates their creative ability on two things: their ability to perform a skill in a specific activity. Let’s separate those two things.
- First, to perform a skill. In other words, they need to do something at a high level.
- Second, that skill must relate to an activity they deem to be creative. This usually means that it’s related to art or design.
For instance, you can draw a face that looks like a real person, they can write an entertaining story, or they can decorate a house with a style worthy of a spot on a reality TV show.
An Alternative Definition of Creativity
This approach to creativity is limited. And your ratings prove it.
We have this view that artists are creative, but accountants are not. Of course, accountants can’t be too creative or else they might end up in jail. But not all artists are overly creative either.
And while the ability to draw is a skill that can be learnt, most of us never practice. When our first efforts fail to be spectacular (such a reasonable expectation, right?) then we quit and justify our lack of result as ‘I just not creative’.
Deeper down, this viewpoint is limited because it refers to creativity as something we do.
As an alternative, you’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘be-do-have’. We must generate the right way of being to take the right action to have the things we desire.
This begs the question: What is being creative? And how is ‘being creative’ different from ‘doing creative’?
Doing Creative versus Being Creative
When we ‘do creative’ we naturally focus on the skill level and action we are doing. And that’s what limits most of us in the way we think about creativity.
In contrast, ‘being creative’ is not skill based (or at least it’s a different set of skills) and it’s not activity based. It’s something we all can do at any time.
In fact, you’re doing it right now. And you are always doing it whether you’re conscious of it, or not.
Our way of being is what we bring to an activity. It’s the intention, the attitude, or the mindset we bring to our actions.
I’ll bet you’re reading this right now because you were curious and interested by the promise of the title. And you want to see if you truly can become more creative. You might have your doubts, but here you are.
Another example… When was the last time you spent with young children? I’ll bet you brought fun and playfulness. And compare that to when you walked in the door of your office on a Monday morning – you probably brought focus and some seriousness – a different way of being.
These are all creative choices – you choose your way of being even if you weren’t aware of it.
To ‘be creative’ is to choose how you are going to tackle a task. It’s to set an intention to be a particular way in a particular situation.
Explore this… The Being Creative Activity
Now for a practical exercise you can do in the next few minutes to explore being at your creative best.
Your mission if you choose to accept it is: Pick a mundane everyday activity and bring creativity to it. This might be to wash the dishes, cut some vegetables for dinner, clean up your room, brush your teeth or eat something.
The goal is not to brush your teeth with your opposite hand or throw vegetables up in the air and strike them with your knife as they fall – that’s ‘doing’ creative.
For this activity, consider doing it as if you are doing it for the first time in your life. Simply see how this feels and see where this takes you.
Being Creative One Grape at a Time
One of the things I do regularly is a three-day water fast. It’s good for my gut and general health. A bit part of the fast is the refeeding. After three days of not eating, throwing a pizza down your throat is only going to lead to feeling queasy. Instead, you start slow, usually with some fruit. This means the 3-day water-only fast is followed by a further three days of refeeding until you can eat ‘normally’ again. That’s six days in total.
The remarkable thing about refeeding is that your taste buds are heightened. In other words, even simple food, like a grape, tastes amazing. It is like eating a grape for the first time with an explosion of taste when you burst the skin of the grape with your teeth.
You want to create this experience for yourself in this exercise by approaching your everyday mundane activity as if you have never done it before. You want to heighten or raise your awareness levels.
Your Creative Re-Rating
Once you’ve finished, rate yourself. Was that a new experience? How creative did that feel? Did you double your creativity?
Now take a moment to consider, if you approached your life in this way, what difference would this make?
Now I’m not suggesting that you approach every single task in every single day as a brand-new experience. You might not get much done doing that. But you could select parts of your life to approach in this way.
Your Golden Ticket to Creativity
Congratulations. You’ve now been given the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket to creativity.
This simple exercise of being present to what you are doing is the access point to being creative.
Can you see how you could apply this painting or drawing? If you simply took the time to appreciate each brushstroke or pencil mark you would have a new appreciation (and potentially new skill level) at which you paint.
More on how to Double Your Creativity
If you want more on being creative and even my journey through A Year of Being Creative, you might like these related posts:
- The Best Way to Plan Your Life [Plan Your Year]
- Purpose for Business Experts – Four Levels
- Work-Life Balance Three Metaphors for a Great Life
Add a comment below and let me know about your experience in ‘being creative’. And what’s now possible for you?