A dose of creativity stimulation
to ignite fresh thinking
One of the qualities I admire most in our great, former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is his patient and courageous perseverance. Despite huge obstacles and setbacks, he never gave up working passionately for his people. He is quoted as saying: “The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”
When we look at what is happening in South Africa, the obstacles to moving forward can seem oerwhelming. Yet, if we take it one small step at a time and persevere, we are going to recover and rebuild, then grow and thrive. St. Francis of Assisi put it so beautifully when he said:
“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Perseverance is one of the key mindsets of creative thinkers and innovators. Since creativity pushes us out into the unknown where outcomes are uncertain and risks...
I have a fluffy white Maltese-ish dog. Her name is Popcorn. I say ‘ish’ because she is a rescue dog and apparently, she is a mixed breed. She is super cute. I thought I adopted her, but it seems she has adopted me. I am her Person. She follows me everywhere. She is always at my heels. She hops in the car and rides with me wherever I go. She is so cute.
Listen to me! I am supposed to be a cat person, not a dog-person! And not a small-dog person! I don’t know how this happened.
If Popcorn gets shut out of my office somehow, she pines at the door. It’s a forlorn, melancholic sound. She just sits there and yearns, yelping quietly until she gets let in. Oh gosh, she is doing it now. Let me go and let her in…
When last did you last have that yearning feeling? (Not the small, craving, like the hankering after your favourite food, but the deep yearning of your soul.) Can you identify what you were yearning for?
Yearning is a kind of...
I generally don’t think about insects very much at all. I moan about mosquitos. I hate flies. I love butterflies and moths. Bees are my favourite. They rock. Paper mites give me the creeps. That’s about the extent of it.
Do you think about insects ? Are you curious about them?
I few months ago, I decided to cocooon my insect-related ignorance and apathy (defined "I don't know and I don't care") and to transform it through curiosity into wonder and delight. The impact was a fresh and hopeful perspective, newfound interest, and the widening of my world.
Do these outcomes sound attractive to you?
Then read on, and by all means, please try this at home!
Before we get into my insect story, I want to make sure you're not thinking curiosity is just for astrophysicists or kids with lots of time on their hands. Here are three things you should know:
Don’t you just love a sharp, good quality pencil. There’s nothing like putting a sharpened pencil to paper and making your mark. I get a thrill from a clean page in a good quality notebook and quiet pocket of time to write or draw. Perhaps a blank page intimidates you? If so, here’s a trick: just start.
At Creativity Wake-Up, we like to think of creativity as a prized pencil, used for writing your life’s story. At the tip of the pencil, the lead or writing element, is your creative mindset, skillset and toolset. The mindset is at the base because this is the foundation of your creativity. You build your creative skillset on the mindset that you are development. To your creative skillset, you add tools. But it all starts with the mindset. Without the creative mindset, the skills and tools will not get you very far!
At the back of the pencil, you have an eraser. It is...
It was late on a Thursday evening when Helen finally finished up her work and got ready to leave the office. As she made her way out, she found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in her hand.
"Listen," said the CEO "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?"
As a young executive, Helen was eager to be of assistance. "Certainly," she said and she turned the machine on, inserted the paper and pressed the start button.
"Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as her paper disappeared inside the machine. "Thanks for your help. I just need one copy."
This Friday, March 19, is Red Nose Day in the UK. It is run by the charity Comic Relief which was launched in 1985 live from a refugee camp in Sudan during the Ethiopian famine. Red Nose Day is a campaign to end child poverty, using humour and grassroots fundraising as the basis of...
To nurture a creative mindset, become a lifelong learner. Here's how:
One way to assess your mindset is to think about how much you value learning. Creative thinkers love to learn and prioritise learning. I'm not talking about you saying: "Yes, learning is important. I believe in lifelong learning."
I mean, if I came and analysed your calendar or watched you for a week, would I see you learning? Would I see you setting aside time and putting effort into learning new skills, reading books, talking to people to learn from them (and listening!)? Would I see you going beyond your domain and learning seemingly unrelated skills, reading about different industries, reading books from different countries, investing time in learning a language or a creative art?
Do you learn by doing or do you tend towards cerebral learning, keeping it in all as knowledge or theories in your head? We really learn when we put something into action and find out...
When my mum was preparing to leave home after university, and travel alone to a far away land, her little sister worried. "Aren't you going to be lonely? Who will look after you?" "Don't fret," said my courageous mum (the eldest in the family and the path finder), "If I ever feel scared or alone, then I'll just look in the mirror and say to myself - Hello Sue, at least I've got you!."
Wherever we go... there we are! We'll always have ourselves. If we can learn to be our biggest fans and cheerleaders, imagine what we can accomplish!
I love this quote I came across: “Imagine if we obsessed about the things we love about ourselves.”
Give yourself a mental, physical and spiritual hug today. You are one of a kind. The world needs what you have to offer.
We ask all our students what their biggest creativity killer is. Time and again the creativity killer that tops the list is self doubt. It's the persistent voice in the head that tell us we're a failure because everyone around...
Curiosity is integral to a creative mindset. It propels us forward to explore, to seek, to find out, to experiment, to ask questions.
How healthy is your curiosity? A lack of curiosity can lead to apathy, boredom, conformity, low empathy and a sense of being stuck. Pay attention to your thinking over the next couple of days and notice: Are you interested in finding out why someone who angers you behaves that way? Do you wonder how everyday technology and systems work? Do you wrestle with problems until you can solve them? Are you interested in finding out about your colleagues’ upbringings? Do you question beliefs or points of view you’ve held since your youth?
If your curiosity has waned, fear not! Curiosity can be nurtured and grown with deliberate intention and a bit of effort. Einstein said: “I have no special talent, I’m only passionately curious.”
Did you know…?
Sustaining high levels of curiosity is the starting point of creativity.
Do you daydream? Do you remember with pleasure special times with friends or great sporting moments? Do you have sexual fantasies? Do you mix and match items, colours and accessories when you buy clothes to create your own style? Do you like different kinds of music? Do you have books at home you’d love to read but haven't gotten to yet?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes or even tends towards yes, then you ARE creative. What you believe about your creativity is more important than you may realise.
“If you fight hard enough for your limitations, you to get to keep them.” These are the words of Jim Kwik, world expert in optimal brain performance and a favourite teacher of mine. Are you fighting for this limitation that so many people hang on to? Have you said or thought, ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body’ or ‘I’m just not creative’?
If you have, please think of the possible implications. This is a self-limiting...
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