The act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality is creativity. The ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions characterizes creativity.
If you have ideas but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.
“Creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources – knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds – that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being aware of the happenings around us; and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.”— Maria Popova
“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.”– Rollo May
Is it possible to learn how to be creative?
You were born with a natural drive to explore and make sense of the world around you. You were also born curious; an explorer and wondered how and why things worked in certain ways. Your fascinations supported and enhanced your creativity. In your first year of life, your thoughts were concrete; connected to your senses and the objects you saw and felt.
As Locke understood, tabula rasa meant that the mind of the individual was born blank, and also emphasized the freedom of individuals to make their souls. Individuals are free to define the content of their character. Studies have shown that, towards the end of your first year of life, you get the first sparks or hints of his imagination; this imagination then paves the way for imitation.
Therefore, the answer to “if creativity can be learnt” is a huge YES!!!
A study by George Land reveals that we are naturally creative and as we grow up we learn to be uncreative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed; and a process that can be managed. It begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking.
You can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and also synthesizing information. Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport. It requires practice to develop the right muscles and a supportive environment in which to flourish.
Clayton M. Christensen and his team uncovered The Innovators DNA: meaning your ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of five key behaviours that optimizes your brain for discovery:
Associating: drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields
Questioning: posing queries that challenge common wisdom
Observing: scrutinizing the behaviour s of people around you to identify new ways of doing things
Networking: meeting people with different ideas and perspectives
Experimenting: constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge
Factors that inhibit creativity
1. Fear of Failure
One of the major obstacles to creativity is the fear of failure.
There’s no experience as crippling as FEAR.
It is not the experience of failiur that holds you back. It is the fear of making mistakes, or losing money or time. You have failed countless times in life and it hasn’t done any permanent damage or has it?
The possibility and anticipation of failure, paralyses action and becomes the primary reason for failure and ineffective problem solving.
2. Being Afraid of Rejection
Another obstacle to creativity is the fear of criticism, or the fear of ridicule, scorn or rejection.
“Fear of judgment stifles our ability to embrace uncertainty and as part of that process delivers a serious blow to our willingness to create anything that hasn’t already been done or validated.”-Jonathan Fields
The fear of sounding dumb or looking foolish is triggered by the desire to be liked and approved of by others; even people you don’t know or care about. As a result, you decide that, “If you want to get along, you have to go along.”
It is amazing how many people live lives of underachievement and mediocrity because they are afraid to attempt to sell themselves or their ideas for success.
3. Never Changing or Adapting to the Situation
A major obstacle to creativity is “homeostasis.” This is a deep subconscious desire to remain consistent with what you have done or said in the past.
It is the fear of doing or saying something new or different from what you did before. This homeostatic impulse holds people back from becoming all they are capable of becoming and from achieving success.
In homeostasis, there seems to be an irresistible unconscious pressure that brings you back to doing what you have always done.
Unfortunately, this tendency leads you into your own “comfort zone.” Your comfort zone, over time, becomes a groove, and then a rut. You become stuck.
4. You Rationalize and Never Improve
Another major obstacle to creativity is rationalizing. We know that human beings are rational creatures, but what does that mean?
Being rational means that we continually use our minds to explain the world to ourselves, so we can understand it better and feel more secure. In other words, whatever you decide to do, or not do, you very quickly come up with a good reason for your decision.
By constantly rationalizing your decisions, you cannot learn to improve performance.
5. Maintaining the status quo
I dare to say, this is the major hindrance to creativity in Nigeria. If you prefer things remaining the way they are; or following the books without thinking outside the box, know that you are boxed in the status quo.
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