Alright, are you ready to see them both? Here you go:
- Can you identify any problem, large or small, on the planet?
- Can you identify one or more solution to that problem?
Congratulations! You are a creative genius.
And since I typically don’t work in 38-word posts, here’s a little more:
Confusion about creativity comes, I think, in assuming artists are the only people who can be creative. This is not true.
The artist deals in emotional problems — pain, joy, fear, doubt, grief. Those things are as real to the artist as whatever device you are reading this on right now. The artist wrestles with all those emotions on a daily basis. She tackles them. She is transparent in her opinions and translucent in her work.
This is the most known creative, but not the most common one.
The businessman deals in tangible problems — money, delays, inefficiencies, life.
The kicker — Creativity is MORE rewarded, not less, in the traditional environment. Rewards are always given to those with creative solutions which save money, time, or effort.
Even if you can’t draw a stick figure, you can become “The Ideas Guy.” When you become that guy, you attract people to help execute your creative vision, thereby removing yourself of the need to draw, paint, or even plan well.
Yes, we are all creative. No, we do not all use our creativity.
Now, a little practicality. Here are ways I’ve seen people become more creative over time, no matter their industry or job title:
This is an obvious choice, but probably not for the reason you think.
It often takes people years to write a book. The information in the book often comes from decades of research and work and life lessons.
It takes nowhere near that long to read a book.
So, by reading a book, you earn ten years of experience for a cost of a few hours. That’s good math.
~2) FIND MORE PROBLEMS
WARNING: There is no turning back from this.
When you learn what good design looks like, you see bad design everywhere.
When you learn what good writing is, you see awkward, clunky paragraphs around each corner.
When you learn what a good story is, you start to pick, pick, pick apart every television show, movie, and book.
Training your mind to consistently look for problems is an excellent way to become more creative. It is also an excellent way to become disappointed in 98% of the work you see.
But, some good news: ruthless analysis is rewarded. The more problems you see, the more problems you solve. The more problems you solve, the more problems you are exposed to. The more problems you are exposed to, the more valuable you become.
So long as you do not back down from new challenges, you will find chances to be more creative in all you do.
~3) ASK PEOPLE THIS DUMB QUESTION
These two magic words have made me infinitely smarter:
It’s like a magic bullet.
“Oh, I work in SQL most of the time.”
They tell me. Now I know more about databases.
“I improved my concentration by drinking bulletproof coffee.”
They tell me. Now I have added a delightful boost to my morning drink.
“I’ve fallen in love with this thing called Medium.”
They tell me.
Now here I am.
It’s too late to enter my big Christmas drawing, but I will be giving away plenty of other things on today’s live stream giveaway.
Much love as always and Merry Christmas :)