Developing Your Creative Flow
Many entrepreneurs believe that by the year 2030, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace one-fifth of all current human occupations. The rest of those jobs that AI will remain unable to replicate are considered characteristic to the fundamental human traits of creativity, imagination, intuition, and curiosity. Even with all that occurred in this past year, creativity allows us to experience an authentic pathway forward. Specifically when we know resources are limited, needs are many, and situational changes are constant.
Creativity is especially crucial. Creatives provide value in a rapidly changing world.
Even when resources are scarce, creativity invites individuals and organizations to use what they have for high-level impact. Among the innumerable examples, craft distilleries were able to use their warehouse inventory of ingredients to produce hand sanitizer during the very early days of the pandemic. A 3-D printing company in Italy was able to innovatively produce respirator valves to supply the demand chain at a locally overwhelmed Intensive Care Unit.
Channeling creative strength during seasons of adversity and cultivating related skill sets of innovation have been historically beneficial for success and growth outcomes alongside sharpening problem-solving capabilities. Creativity allows for endurance and stamina to emerge amid tough situations. Very often, individuals in non-artistry fields compare themselves to those that have talent within the music, film, fashion, or design industries and feel that they have come up short.
Creativity is all around us in many ways when we think of imagination as a key player in the creative process. Whether at school creating engaging presentations, strategically planning for the future, or making shortcuts for managing our time and productivity - we can see creativity on display. Cooking a new meal, swaying and improvising in dance moves to our favorite artist, or attempting a new hobby while at home also invite the creative process. Everyone has the potential to tap into their creative flow, and it can be seen as a skill to be strengthened.
Creativity has an inherent power to make our work and our lives more satisfying and altogether fulfilling. Creative potential breaks the barriers of self-limiting beliefs and allows us to transcend cognitive biases since it generates new possibilities and approaches to challenging problems. Even amid a global healthcare crisis with a rapid reaction and defense response styles in play across schools, businesses, and organizations, accessing our creative potential is about being malleable, authentically imaginative, and reinventing our narratives to tell a different story and rebound from being exploited for a lack of flexibility and ingenuity in this season.
With imagination and creative potential, we can do better than merely adapt within our current landscape. We can actually thrive and influence it.
Regain the art of reflective thought.
Brain science, as popularized by Daniel Kahneman’s work, tells us that “slow thinking” is negatively correlated with “fast thinking,” and slow thinking allows for us to better examine our core beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge base. Time for slow and deliberate thinking, in contrast to reactive thinking that is fast and instinctual, allows for us to effectively navigate a culture of information overload and over-reliance on instinctual thinking. Safeguard reflective time for reading extensively, pursue personal development projects and interests, and consistently seek out new perspectives from people that have a different outlook than your own. Creative potential can be recovered when we practice reflective thinking and rediscover who we are called to become in the moment.
Schedule unstructured time.
Time is a true precondition for slow thinking and accessing a creative flow potential. Time for reflective thought needs to be protected from the tyranny of the urgent. Some individuals block out two hours every single day as a productivity tool and outlet for deep work in the creative process to initiate. Others take 45-minute walk breaks to stimulate their creative flow and think about what they came across in their morning reading. Some might even take day trips to disconnect and intentionally concentrate on reflective thought. One individual comments that, “Thinking is the one thing you can’t outsource… Holding this (unstructured) time sacred in my schedule despite the deluge of calls, meetings, and emails is essential.”
Cultivate self-examination through prompts for reflective thought.
Most creative ideas rarely just appear. Creativity and imagination require some form of inspiration with thought stimulation and tactical consideration. Questions for self-examination can be a form of divergent thinking that resonates with personal vision, strategy, leadership, and organizational influence. Prompt questions, challenges, and observations in a structured dialogue with other individuals and use the Socratic Method to invite them into your creative process.
Become quiet and protect yourself from information overload.
American psychologist James Kaufmann has been known for his research on divergent thinking. Variant methods to exercise your creative muscles in a quiet space will carve out your pathway to success. Adapting these kinds of methods into less tangible scenarios as searching for a part-time job, improving your virtual social network, or handling a difficult conversation will be easier to imagine and meet your goals. Open-ended activities such as journaling and writing, improvisational games, and solitude can be outlets for arriving at multiple vantage points and alternative perspectives. Straying from too much information stimulation in a quiet space can contribute to creative problem-solving and the practice of divergent thinking.
Have fun and break up former routines.
Another nuanced way to access creative potential and experience creative genius is to pursue fun and games. Much research has already evidenced that fun decreases our fear of failure, causes us to be more comfortable with not having it all “put together,” and empowers more freedom of thought. Play is necessary. Puzzles, legos, riddles, and brain teasers are examples of infusing these fun activities into the creative process. We are creatures of habit and interrupting our beloved routines can benefit the creative flow as well. Having fewer restrictions and burdensome parameters can support the creative process and allow creativity to flourish. Mix up mundane tasks, swap one routine for a new one, and allow your mind the freedom to wander in unexpected ways.
Nurturing your creative potential will be an invaluable pathway forward as a resource for the future.
How will you pursue your creative flow this summer?
Think on your feet, meet new people, make an effort to try new things in this summer, and share what you know with others. Persevere and trust in the channels that provide your potential and remain open to the activities that tone your creativity in this season. Your creative core is waiting for you to experience hope, joy, enthusiasm, and curiosity!
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