Sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. This, along with another simple guideline applies to creativity as well.
For starters, here's guideline no 1 - what you definitely need to avoid: doubts and fears.
Michael Michalko says that there is nothing more harmful for creativity than a doubtful state of mind. Luckily, people have the need for consistency ingrained, meaning we cannot hold on to a negative concept as long as it is inconsistent with some stronger, more deeply held belief. The moment two thoughts clash, the inconsistent one will be refused.
How to neutralize negative thoughts
In “Thinkertoys”, Michalko recommends an exercise for facing fears head on, “Tik-Tok”. It goes like this: you have two columns, one that's "Tik" and the other one "Tok". Under Tik, you write down all your fears, doubts and uncertainties. Afterwards, you take a step back and look at these, thinking how you might be twisting facts.
Then, under "Tok", you write down positive statements to counter the negative ones. Basically it's an exercise where you get to diminish the effects of subjective, negative thoughts with positive, objective ones.
The difference between creative and.,. oh well, less creative people
Thinkertoys also quotes a study done at a publishing company who wanted to know why some employees are creative and others are not. After a year, the research team came up with an incredibly simple observation.
The main difference between the two was that those who were creative believed they actually were creative, while the ones, less creative didn’t. In short, the less creative employees didn’t think of themselves as creative, they didn’t trust the fact that they could actually be creative.
The 2 simple steps I mentioned
Creativity can be brought back with 2 steps:
- Step 1: Believe in yourself
- Step 2: Believe that you are creative
Believe in yourself
It's a common fact that focusing on accomplishments tends to bring in more accomplishments. Given this, you should focus on your past successes, remember important milestones and list your good qualities. Do things that reinforce the confidence in yourself.
Not saying that failures should be overlooked, but they cannot take the time of day if you want to get ahead.
Believe that you are creative
The way people behave is a consequence of the beliefs they hold and the thoughts they think. Also, more often than not, what we think of being true becomes true... at some point.
So, if you think and act as if you are an idea person, you will, sooner or later become an idea person. If you really want to become an idea person, start acting like one right away.
Here are some suggestions that might help you get started:
- Set an idea quota - set a quota for the number of ideas you will come up with every week for a certain problem. Don't wait for ideas to arrive, go looking for them. Also, after you’ve exceeded your target, you’ll find that ideas come more easily.
- Feed your mind- “A brain that doesn’t feed itself eats itself”. Your mind needs ideas and information to work with, so give it plenty of ideas to linger on. Read different types of books - how-to's, autobiographies, read on radically different subjects, take notes. An interesting thing you can do here is to read the book only half-way, take a break and try to imagine the rest before going on.
- Purposely break routines. Make a list of all your daily habits and then try to break them on a weekly, daily or monthly basis.
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