You may find a phrase ‘creative problem solving’ on many CVs, but what does it actually mean? Does this mean that this person can solve any problem in an unusual way? Does this mean that they can look at a situation from different angles and find the best possible solution? Does it mean they are able to spot a path invisible to others? And what does creativity actually have to do with work and business, anyway? Well, a lot!
“So why is it important to develop my creativity and how can it help my career?” you ask. It’s a great question. Here is what I personally realised in the past ten years or so.
Firstly, creativity provides you with that very special way of looking at things and thinking about them; even those things that we find very ordinary. Creativity is a desire to Create something – whether it is a new mobile application, a cake, a new business, a presentation or a space shuttle. Creativity is something that tickles your brain from the inside and basically makes you do things. And do them in a little bit different way. Why is this important? It’s very simple – creativity makes you more efficient at anything you do. It gives you the ability to think more freely and produce more ideas. It makes you more proactive and curious about the things around you. It gives you that drive required to work quicker, be more engaged with what you are doing and simply better yourself. And it makes life far more interesting!
When you are genuinely interested in your work and the world around you – your way of thinking automatically changes. When facing a problem, you don’t simply get depressed and annoyed but more curious; so instead of trying to urgently solve that problem while being absolutely angry, you become interested in the matter and look at it as a challenge which you are eager to accept. Creative thinking allows you to add a sprinkle of fun into problem solving. It helps you to ‘play the game of problem solving’ instead of ‘driving tanks onto the battle field of problem solving’.
“OK then, so how do I develop my creativity?”
You can find plenty of books written about it. There will be special books for artists, books for business people and books for anyone else – you can find a lot of information if you are really interested. Here are a few of my personal tips based on my own experience:
- Give yourself some time to relax. When your brain is always preoccupied it can’t notice things around you and it just suffocates being surrounded by all those problems, thoughts and fears in your head.
- Yes, please read my articles on meditation – there is a lot of quality information on how to get started and why this is a great thing to do.
- Do more things that you enjoy. It is extremely important to have a hobby which is not work related. Make the time to do something that makes you happy! Gardening, going to the theatre, knitting, painting, cooking, playing the piano, doing sports, collecting train models or taking piloting lessons. Anything that you enjoy and yet that requires action – not just watching TV and being lazy.
- Listen to music and read books – both are thought provoking and stimulate your imagination.
- Open yourself to new things and new people, don’t rot away! Our world is an amazing place and there is so much going on around us!
- Start a diary or just a journal – you can write about anything you want and doing this regularly is incredibly inspiring. If you don’t like writing, draw pictures. It doesn’t matter if you can write or draw or not, we are not aiming to replace Walter Scott or Pablo Picasso here – it’s for your eyes only. But who knows, maybe at some point you will end up writing a best seller?!
- Travel. Or at least get out of your usual surroundings more – new places and new impressions are fantastic for creativity development.
- Spend some quality ‘alone time’. Just do what you want at least once a week, just on your own.
- Learn to notice things that you normally pay no attention to. Notice the clouds, a neighbour’s cat sitting in the window, the new roof on the building that you pass by on your way to work and those pretty flowers that have grown in the park nearby. Open your eyes to things other than your day-to-day duties and activities only and things that are constantly on your mind.
- Don’t Try to become creative. Just be yourself and enjoy as much of your time as possible!
“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” ~ Henry Miller