Are you creative?
Who is the most creative person you know?
In America, a police officer had a perfect hiding place for watching for speeders along a well traveled stretch of highway. The location, at a bend in the road, allowed him to hide his car out of sight of oncoming traffic while setting up his radar to nab any speeders who passed by. He had used this location successfully a number of times, especially on holidays, and decided to use it again one Labor Day weekend.
The officer arrived at his hiding place and set himself up, settling down to wait for the first speeders to appear. After a half hour or so the officer hadn’t seen anybody speeding. In fact most of the cars that passed him were traveling exactly at the speed limit, and some of the passengers in the passing cars were even smiling and waving at him. He couldn’t believe this was happening since his hiding place was so well concealed.
Finally, after realizing that virtually all the passing cars knew he was there, the officer decided that something was wrong and went to investigate. He got out of his car and walked up the road a short distance. About 100 yards before his hiding place the officer found the problem: a 10 year old boy was standing on the side of the road with a huge hand painted sign which said “RADAR TRAP AHEAD.”
A little more investigative work led the officer to the boy’s accomplice, another boy about 100 yards beyond the radar trap with a sign reading “TIPS” and a bucket at his feet, full of change.
Now that is what I call creatively entrepreneurial.
How do you increase your creativity?
Famous marketing guru Seth Godin in a book he has written entitled “Wisdom Inc.” has this to say:
- Creativity is a muscle. It gets better with exercise. If you don’t stretch, it will atrophy. Start by practicing in easy areas, like cooking without a recipe, or arranging photographs on a wall, or playing with the fonts on your PC or Mac. Then work your way up.
- Sherlock Holmes used to tell Watson that the best way to find the solution was to eliminate every answer that must be wrong-the only remaining candidate must be the right answer. The same approach can work for you. Write down every possible idea, no matter how ridiculous. Then eliminate the impossible and pursue the rest.
- List the most obvious solution to the biggest obstacles in your current project. Now think of two other approaches you’ve never considered before. If you find this difficult, pretend you’re someone else who is completely unlike you. How would Robin Williams solve the problem? Superman? Be as outrageous and unrealistic as you can.
- Learn to brainstorm. Gather some colleagues and force yourself to identify dozens of wacky ideas-but restrain yourself from negative feedback: “That’ll never work” is not allowed.
- American Novelist Pearl S. Buck says: The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible — and achieve it, generation after generation.
- General George S. Patton says: Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
- Galileo Galilei says: “Doubt is the father of invention.”
- While famous Leonardo da Vinci says: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses it purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
Question is what creative things are you doing these days?
On a personal level, I’ve noticed that when people are “stuck” in life, it is because they are usually still framing their problem with a set of assumptions that no longer apply. Or they are using the same problem solving techniques that they used in the past but don’t work anymore.
Working harder is not a solution. In fact working harder using the same failed formula from an old mind-set to expect new results is an exercise in futility.
Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing mysterious about being creative. The basic principle of creativity is simply combining two or more known ideas in a new way to create a new idea.
Some people sit around waiting for that wonderful “Aha!” moment to come so that their creativity process can begin. It’s not going to happen. Creativity is a skill you can train yourself to do.
Guess what Scriptures say… “The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them.” (Proverbs 18:15) It starts with awareness then the determination to make things happen. First the action then the inspiration.
Dare to be creative. God has given us a mind to think and hands to work so get those faculties working.