Being creative is one of the most essential skills of the modern world. Learn how to be creative and think of creative solutions to future problems.
As a species we have overcome and thrived because we have been able to rely on our creative thinking.
So what do we mean by creativity in the modern economy?
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.
Simply creativity is about thinking and creating new ideas that are able to improve ways of doing things. It helps us to overcome problems in the way the world is today. It is basically our ability to think and to build new things that advance ourselves and our world.
Creativity is essential for humanity. We need to spread it in future generations, so that workers of the future are able to adapt to new industries. We need to ensure the human race can overcome the great challenges of the now and the future.
1 Creativity is essential for development of key thinking skills.
Brittany at Love, Play, Learn indicates just how important creativity is for children:
Creative thinking involves imagination, basic use of the scientific method, communication, physical dexterity and exertion, problem posing, problem solving, making interpretations, and using symbols which help with future literacy skills.
No matter what future jobs or challenges a child will encounter, scientific reasoning, communication skills and problem solving are key to achieving success.
Therefore, it is essential for schools to focus on modes of learning that use and develop creativity. The development of a child’s key learning capacities are heavily influenced by their ability to think creatively and be creative.
2. Creativity is now essential in business.
Even today, creativity is a hugely important skill needed for success in business.
A study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found … companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform their rivals in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership, according to the report.
This clearly shows the importance of creative thinking in business. However, what it doesn’t show is the importance of creativity going forward. In the industries of the future, influenced by globalisation, digitisation, automation, decentralisation and so on, creativity and creative thinking will be even more vital for the success of businesses and employees.
3 Creativity separates you from the crowd and gives you a key advantage.
In today’s business world the only way to separate yourself from the rest is not with your fancy resume … or your GPA … It is how well you can think for yourself and actually use your creativity that separates you from everyone else.
In a potentially harsh modern economic environment, creativity is one area that gives an employee a competitive advantage over a large population of equally highly educated and professional people.
4 Creativity is vital for our survival in the modern economy.
However, there are many who bemoan the lack of creativity in schools. John Vinyets, quoting Richard Florida argued:
… students leave school without knowing how to create and innovate and consequently they will be underprepared for the challenges that our society and economies are facing. Author Richard Florida stresses the growing importance of creativity; “I call the age we are entering the creative age because the key factor propelling us forward is the rise of creativity as the primary mover of our economy.
This is especially true. The modern economy is becoming a dangerous place for those who don’t think and who aren’t creative.
The atomization of modern workplaces, the development of AI, the trend of reducing overhead and bureaucracy, is already leading to huge changes in the economy and the job market.
In this modern world it’s not only entrepreneurs who need to be able to think, work and act creatively.
Everyone needs to be creative, and be creative in their use of all resources, most importantly time.
How do we develop creativity and creative thinking?
Everyone can be creative:
You can improve your creative ability by exercising it in the same way that you master memorising names or learning a new language. Exercising the right side of your brain will inevitably develop your imagination and assist in developing creativity and creative thinking skills.
It’s possible and everyone needs to be creative, so believe you can and if you need some help try following some of these simple ideas that are working for me.
1 Embrace your style:
We as individuals are all drawn to the creativity of others. However, we often tend to tune out these people and these influences as we try to become more professional, more serious and more successful.
I would advocate the opposite approach. Listen to the music you love. Learn the lyrics and question what makes your favourite songs so creative. Listen for the interesting things the artist does, appreciate it and try to adapt lessons from what you like. And if the music you like doesn’t have lyrics learn from the rhythm, the use of melody, or simply enjoy the song and dance.
Einstein, considered to be one of the most creative geniuses of the past century, often turned to music to help with his creative process. Einstein told creativity scholar Max Wertheimer that he never came up with new ideas or scientific breakthroughs by thinking in logical symbols or mathematical equations, but in images, feelings and even musical architectures.
If music’s not your thing, then watch movies, TV shows, look at art and so on.
Find what you enjoy about creativity, savour it and try to learn from it.
2 Read and study about creative people you admire.
Building on from the last point, if you are particularly drawn to creative works, then learn about the artists or innovators themselves.
I don’t care what music you like, I myself like a broad range of music from Beethoven to Biggie Smalls, from romantic piano to thrash metal. What ever the source you can learn how the artists have innovated and changed things.
I have watched documentaries that taught me how Tupac took acting lessons, how Van Gough changed his locations, how my favourite bands experimented to find their sound, and how Einstein cherished creative thinking in science.
Now, I don’t paint, rap, play in a band or contemplate the mysteries of physics but from learning about these people I have developed an appreciation for creativity and I’ve learned their little tips for how to think of new, fresh, bold and creative ways of approaching things.
3 Get visionary
You don’t need to innovate the great next global sensation. Many people hamstring themselves by feeling they need to be the next Steve Jobs or feel they need to imagine what the perfect world looks like.
Maybe one day you could be that creative, and it’s inspiration and empowering believing that you are capable of genius, but to get started why not simply think about how you want to decorate your room.
This, or any kind of design thinking, is great to train your mind to go to higher levels of creativity.
Design thinking includes five steps which can foster creative thinking and drive inquiry: empathize, define, create a prototype and test. This process can be applied to a wide range of problems presented to students who then collaboratively seek solutions that require research and hands-on activities.
So give yourself a mission, even as simply as redesigning your room. Think about what you want and need (or what others want and need, define the problems and the options, try things out and test how it goes. Keep going until you’ve mastered it and keep trying things and developing your ability to come up with creative solutions.
4 Use your Body Language
Another important thing that I’ve learned recently, not just related to creativity, is about states. Tony Robbins is a big proponent of getting into state. What I’ve picked up from his lessons is that if you want to be creative, get into a creative state.
The easiest way to get into state is by changing your physical state. So for me, when I want to force myself to get creative, I need to get moving with swagger. I put on some of my favourite music, and I move and think like I’m genuine rock star. This gets the chemicals flowing for me.
However, for other people it’s recommended that you try lying down.
Noradrenaline, a brain chemical that improves thinking in stressful situations, is released in higher amounts when standing. To boost creative thinking, those hormones need to be lower. So, if you’re making an important presentation, standing is great. But if you are trying to think outside the box, lie down and relax!
5 Ask creative Questions
Another lesson from Tony Robbins, is that our thoughts are basically us questioning ourselves. So if we want to think creatively we should practive asking more creative questions.
For example: What could be improved about my work environment? How could I do things better? What are the problems in the world and how could we make them better?
Formulating and exploring an interesting question is often as important as finding a solution. This routine encourages students to create interesting questions and then imaginatively mess around with them for a while in order to explore their creative possibilities. It provides students with the opportunity to practice developing good questions that provoke thinking and inquiry into a topic.
Along with asking creative questions is to practice stock creative activities. Write stories, even if you’re terrible, start terrible and practice at getting better.
Draw, paint or write silly poems. If you’re not good at drawing try mindful colouring. If you can’t write poems try simply coming up with metaphors and similes.
Sculptures, paintings, masks, pencil sketches – all of these works of art serve as creative mediums used to express feelings. You can do the same. Using art as an outlet for emotional burdens and inner feelings can allow you to open up another side of yourself that you may be reluctant to show others through traditional forms of communication, such as talk therapy.
6 Break the Rules.
Sometimes we get so focused on how things have always been done, or we discount ways of doing things because we think they’re weird, strange, against the rules. And sometimes there are really definite rules stopping us from attempting a creative solution.
Sometimes we put barriers up were there aren’t even any real rules to stop us. In those cases, and because it is natural for us to do it, it is important that we ask the question whether we should break the rules.
If there’s no harm to yourself or others, and depending on the environment, sometimes rules should absolutely be broken.
But beware – breaking the rules, when they are real and do have a reason, can be extremely dangerous.
That aside, you must seek to embrace your creativity.
Personally, I’m trying to learn how to rap along with some of my favourite rappers, I’m trying to write a novel, I’m trying to write a blog, I’m asking questions, I often sing and dance like a crazy person and I do sometimes break some harmless rules.
Some of these things are hard for me and some are easy and inspiring. Regardless, I’m forcing myself to practice these habits and to keep trying new ones.
Creativity is like any other skill, any other capability, and little by little I’m growing that muscle.
Try what works for you, search for other solutions, and never stop striving for success.
If you enjoyed this article read more about how I learned to lead a successful life. Read my article, I am a Success: How I went from Big Fat Zero to My Own Personal Hero.