Posted by: nedpelger | June 30, 2009

The Secret of Being Creative

Most people answer “No” to the question, “Are you creative?” They are wrong.  Humans exhibit creativity as long as their lungs fill and their hearts beat. We are all creative. Humans are hard wired for creativity, though many of us don’t flip the switch too often.

Unfortunately, our culture tends to teach that only the Einsteins, Edisons, and Picassos are truly creative. From elementary school, those that had a natural gift for drawing or thinking were told how creative they were. The rest of us heard that and drew the obvious conclusion that we weren’t.

Further, popular culture includes this idea of the creative genius who has a constant stream of amazingly good ideas. I’ve worked with some incredibly creative people and they did have lots of good ideas. The important thing I noticed, though, is that their ideas didn’t start out perfect. They simply had lots of good (and some not so good) ideas and they were willing to run down many rabbit trails to determine the difference.

The secret of being creative is to realize that your ideas won’t be perfect. Stop beating yourself up about not finding that one beautiful and perfect idea. Start pitching concepts, thinking about things that probably don’t make sense, be willing to let ideas fail and not feel like a failure. You’ve got to take risks to be creative. You must separate your sense of worth from the ideas you consider.

Edison didn’t make all those amazing discoveries by sitting and trying to find the one perfect thing. He’d have an idea, test it, continue to test it if it showed promise but drop it if it didn’t. He tried hundreds of materials trying to get the lightbulb improved. Finally, he hit on the right one.

Construction gives us many opportunities for creative thinking. Too often we fall into the rut of doing everything the way we always done it. I challenge you to put forth the effort to be more creative…at work, at home, in every aspect of your life. Be willing to try something different and fail a bit. At the very least, it will make you laugh more.

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