Are you creative enough? – how to boost your creativity

Going through the job offer advertisements sometimes makes me laugh and wonder who the hell wrote this ad? I can find requirements like hard-working, creative thinking, emphasis on quality and speed, loyalty and dedication to work, enthusiasm for the thing, willing to sacrifice for the project for many years, etc. The diamond of all of them is “typing with finger method” — is there any other way how regular person can type on keyboard besides using his fingers?

The point is that companies are demanding these qualities in employees while often not creating the conditions to support this desirable behavior.

How much work do I need to do to be considered hard-working? How can I work on quality if the task must be done fast? Quality and speed are in direct opposition. I don’t think it is possible to find a person who would be 100 % loyal or dedicated to the company. The company exists for the profit and employee works to get the monthly income. Company wants employee to do as much work as possible for the least money and employee wants exact opposite. Should the person dedicate his life to creating profit for companies which is their main reason of existence? When they write in job ad “sacrifice for the project for many years” and similar requirements it can stress people and scare them away.  

I wonder what do people imagine under creativity.

People usually have creativity connected with visual arts or any other type of arts but creativity is far more broather than that. We use creativity in fields like science, architecture, technology, sports, coding, writing, dancing or even in something simple like cooking, gardening or playing games. It is visualising something in our head and making it reality. 

Humans are creative by their nature. Is it adequate to demand creativity in job offer ads?

Important role here plays our memory and vivid sense of imagination which in every person is different depending on his unique life experience (that’s why there is never same output from different people). In our brain there is a gap between input and output which means that input doesn’t lead to immediate automatic output but instead we can consider different options and play with our thoughts. Using our imagination we can imagine things that are not real yet and based on our memory and inputs create completely new output which is creativity.

So I guess there is no point in demanding creativity as we all are creative. More sense would make to demand the person to know how to inspire himself or how to work with his own creative process to come up with interesting ideas. Demanding creativity is rather stressing person out as he doesn’t know if he is creative enough.

Creative process can heal people’s minds and have positive impact on society.

Creativity can be used for more than making money for companies. In some prisons in USA they have art programs for prisoners. They can express their emotions by writing, painting, drawing etc. By doing so they can change perception of themselves and come to the conclusion that it matters who they are as human beings and that they are not defined by crime they’ve committed. Prisoners involved in this creative process are less likely to reoffend which declares this research from Justice Policy Journal “Research and experience suggests that prison arts programs have significant benefits and positive outcomes for the incarcerated, their families, the prison environment, and society.”

How to boost creativity?

Get yourself in the state of play.

If you’re not in the state of play you can’t make anything.

Paula Scher, Graphic Designer

If you play you can get your mind in “flow” state and free associate things and create new ideas. Opposite state would be feeling stressed. When you’re stressed you just try to find the quickest solution. Your brain puts you on the path of familiar solutions because they are the quickest and less risky ones. Although some people might say that they are having great results while working under pressure it’s not healthy in long run to be constantly stressed.  It would be great if companies understand creative process of human brain and don’t expose their workers to excessive stress for example in form of crazy deadlines.

Eliminate fear from failure. It is your friend to learn from.

Stop being afraid of failure. If we are afraid to fail we have tendencies to stick to the familiar and avoid uncertainty. We want to avoid failing because it brings the feeling that we’re not good enough. The whole educational system teaches us that making mistakes is bad. I believe that opposite is truth. We learn best by making mistakes. We can witness that great success rises from the ashes of previous failures. People that became good at something or invented something amazing failed many times before the achieved it. You have to fail many times to create something good. However how many times you fail is individual. You have to simply try your best and not being afraid to take risks. 

Do something you’ve never done before.

Be curious and explore. Do things you usually don’t do so you don’t follow the automatic familiar neuron path in your brain. Expose yourself to different influences and inputs – sights, smells, sounds, conversations, ideas, places, vibes etc. These stimulates mental processes. New inputs are being smashed together with other inputs and reacting. Inputs are mixing with thoughts, memories, emotions new and old.

Same thing in different forms — all buildings but in different shapes.

Every experience is new material for brain to work with. This way we can invent same things but in different ways. Being original isn’t about generating something out of nothing. Life experiences are the fuel. Our creations are unique because our life experiences are unique – mixture of different inputs.

Creativity is about existence and being. It is giving of yourself and being honest.

Robert Glasper, musician
Have more fields of interest.

Learn new skill. Have more fields of interest and don’t be bound by specialization on one thing. Einstein played violin as a brainstorming technique. Music helped him when he was thinking about his theories. Exploring new fields can inspire you. You can take same idea from one place into another place in different context.

To enhance your creativity you need to be willing to study something new with curiosity, willing to be wrong and confused.

Nathan Myhrvold, inventor
Push boundaries a little.

Our brains are novelty seekers. They crave what’s new and exciting because what’s old and familiar becomes less and less stimulating. Creative ideas must exist in balance between what’s new and familiar. It is hard to say where that balance is. When you do something too boring (familiar) everyone is going to pass you by. When you do something too crazy (too far from familiar) no one’s gonna follow you there. You have to explore the possibilities and push the boundaries to figure out the limits of what works.

Creativity is in all of us. It has positive impact on people’s lives and the world. We need to cultivate creativity now.

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