What do you think about when you hear the word, “Creative?” What images come to mind? What names do you think of? Poets, musicians, artists, inventors? Edison? Dickens? Lady Gaga?
What if you aren’t one of those? What if you can never see yourself in the same class as a Henry Ford or a Steve Jobs? Are you still creative? Can you learn to think creatively? Or, do you have to be born with a certain knack to think that way? Can creative thinking be learned? Can it be taught?
The good news is, “Yes, it can!” The bad news? Very few are teaching it! And, those who are usually stop with “Brainstorming.” Oh, you’ve heard of it? Haven’t we all? If I get invited to one more “Brainstorming Session,” I’m going to . . . well, you get the idea. But, in the area of thinking, brainstorming is like kindergarten while the Edisons, Einsteins, and Picassos are in graduate school! But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
WHERE DID WE LOSE IT? – CREATIVITY, THAT IS
You were born creative. Oh, I can hear you now, “I know some creative people, but, that’s just not me. I never think of good ideas. I can’t draw, or paint; I’m not musical . . . and on and on.” Yes, you are creative. The creativity may be lying dormant within you, waiting to be awakened, but, trust me, it is there! It always has been!
Remember when you were little? I mean really little. Like three or four years old. Before the institution we call “Education” got hold of you. Before you were told thousands of times that there was only one right answer to a math problem and your answer wasn’t it. Back before you learned that the kids who stayed in the lines when they colored their workbook sheets got gold stars while you got another lecture about the “right” way to color a picture. Ah, yes, those were the days. We’ll never see those days again. Or, will we?
Now, I’m not telling you to throw away everything you learned in school. When it comes to balancing your checkbook, you had probably better stick to the old 2 + 2 = 4 business – mainly because the banks still tend to do math that way.
What I am saying is this:
It’s time to start back on the path towards creative thinking.
And here’s an easy exercise to get you going: Take five minutes of each day, get quiet, close your eyes, and visualize yourself as a young child. Rediscover your childhood! Think of a happy time when you were playing. When you pretended to be that pirate or that princess or that soldier or that spy or that rock star. Whatever it was, go back to that place. Imagine it with all of your senses. What do you see, hear, feel? Is there something to taste? Smell?
When you do this, you are strengthening connections within your brain. As you reawaken those connections to the time when you lived with childlike fun, awe, and wonder in your life, you are preparing your mind to start thinking creatively once again.
Too busy to take five minutes out of your day to devote to creative thinking? Then, do what I do – practice this exercise after you go to bed. That’s a time when your mind can focus on whatever you want it to. Take yourself back to some good childhood memories. You might even find yourself sleeping better!
And, remember, You’ve got it made if you can Think, Speak, and Persuade!