At the start of the week I walked by the magazines in the grocery store and there was a Newsweek on the stand withe the title "Creativity in America." Of course I had to grab it. I always find it fascinating when serendipity hands me things like this. Any other week and I probably wouldn't have noticed it.
Inside the magazine documented the decline in American Creativity, in fact calling it a Creativity Crisis. The bottom line, as I see it , is that we really have some challenges and I'm glad I read this now because there are some real things we can do to boost our creativity. A lot of the American problem is our reliance on out come specific activities and the research sited in the articles clearly shows that looking to soon for "the answer" is what robs of us our creative potential.
I definitely see how letting my daughter stew in a question without giving her the immediate answer to "why?" can net some creative benefit. What could she come up with as a possible idea or solution to a problem. More then likely I'll be surprised. This idea also translates to grown up business life. Businesses have been espousing the value of creativity for decades now but the primary method of injecting creativity has more often then not been to hire "Creative Types." But what about the rest of us? Can creativity be learned? The Newsweek information and many other sources give a resounding yes.
The key to creativity is getting both your left and right brain working. Conventional wisdom has told us that right brained thinking is where all the creativity lies but in fact it seems to be the ability of the left brain to pick up on the right brain ideas that leads to the real breakthroughs. The important factor is to work your brain in such a way that you can switch back and forth from right to left and back again with agility and frequency. Teaching your brain to switch back and forth will enable the most creative outcomes in the long run.
If you consider yourself right or left brained it is a good idea to find some activities to engage the other side. If you are confronted with a problem take some time to engage your other side, the side you are less likely to use in an activity (A couple of resources are provided below) before you begin your normal way of working. This injection of atypical thinking can often be enough to spark something new. If you can make this type of practice habitual, over time your brain will become more nimble.
17 Left Brain Exercises for Creative People
Right Brained Exercises
While looking for the exercises above I ran into an idea called Neurobics (read the short one page info sheet by clicking the link) which encourages using your brain in different, non-habitual ways as a way of boosting brain activity. When we open doors, brush our teeth or do any of hundreds of habitual activities we use less brain power then when we do something new. Neurobics recommends switching things up, using the other hand while brushing your teeth, switching where you normally sit at dinner time, at the office try moving where your wastebasket is placed or hang something new on your walls. The whole idea is to get your brain to think in new and different ways. I am intrigued and think I will add this book to my reading list:
Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness
The bottom line in all of this is that creativity can be encouraged by exercising your brain. No matter your job or creative endeavor.
What do you do to boost your creativity?
Next Post: My Creativity week wrap up!
My 13 bliss virtues are
joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community,
romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.
This week we are exploring Creativity.
Next week is all about Passion