In our fast-paced, constantly changing world, creative efficiency requires that you continually dig deep into yourself and generate more, newer, better, faster and unique ideas that can stand the test of time.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, argues that “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner-continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you-is a fine art, in and of itself.”
Creativity is not elusive or unique to selected few or brilliant minds. Anyone can use specific behaviors and mindsets to express themselves creatively. In “Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Career Together” Pamela Slim writes, “We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our lives, tell new stories, and rebuild communities when we create. We reclaim our esteem, our muse, and our hope when we create.”
Creativity requires a pro-change or at least a pro-risk mindset
Many people are turned off by risks — It’s easier and more comfortable for them to work in their safe spots. But, this is what distinguishes remarkably creative minds from others.
While others are waiting for the best moment to take action, risk-takers are experimenting with new ideas, making and learning from their failures, improving on what already works, or pushing boundaries.
Risk-taking is absolutely central to creativity. Creative people don’t just love doing new things, they actually seek out uncomfortable opportunities because it makes them come alive. They are flexible enough to move with the tide and set the tone for even better ideas.
Like everything else that you want to be good at, risk-taking takes practice. You have to put your ideas out there over and over again, and eventually, you will be comfortable enough to explore new ideas. It’s just like getting up on stage. You can tame the worst stage fright if you have enough stage time.
Creative people are mentally flexible
Creative people are willing to change to make better art. They prefer to be a step ahead of inevitable and unavoidable change.
They can stretch beyond their core strengths when necessary and quickly rebound back to their core skills and discipline when they have to. They are not afraid to stretch beyond their domains. To survive in an environment of constant stimulation and rapid change, elastic thinking is essential.
Elastic thinking is what you need when the circumstances change and you are dealing with something new. It’s not about following the rules,” explains Leonard Mlodinow, theoretical physicist, author of “Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change.”
To develop an agile mind, always try to look at everything from more than one angle. Mlodinow suggests carving out time for daydreaming, talking to people outside your domain, absorbing great art out of your comfort zone, or listening to ideas you actively disagree with before disregarding them.
Creative thinkers maintain an insatiably curious approach to life
They have a healthy appetite for new experiences. Leonardo da Vinci maintained a passionate curiosity throughout life. His mind wandered across the arts, sciences, engineering, and humanities.
In his book, Leonardo da Vinci: The Biography, Walter Isaacson, says Da Vinci was “more interested in pursuing knowledge than in publishing it.”
Being curious about everything and curious just for curiosity’s sake, not simply because it’s useful, is the defining trait of Leonardo. His observation and belief that “everything connects” informed most of his work. Making connections between seemingly unimportant things is perhaps one of the most crucial creative thinking skills you can ever master.
A curious mind can relate and connect ideas better. Maintain an open mind and be willing to learn, unlearn and relearn to find get the answers you seek.
Remarkably creative thinkers assume nothing but question the obvious
The acquisition of knowledge and learning derives its energy through questioning. Brilliant ideas can come out of a more better question.
Like modern scientists, remarkably creative people are not afraid to revise their models, ideas, and concepts when they come across better observations or insights. They are more interested in the process of exploration than in the completed work or final results.
If you want a better approach to gathering insight about anything, embrace the path of inquiry. Questioning is like breathing — it’s something that seems so basic, so instinctive, that we take it for granted. But there’s a lot we can all learn about how to question, and really do it well to get the answers we seek.
Taking risks is imperative to any creative process. It pushes your boundaries and in exchange for creative growth. Like every other skill that gets better with practice, creativity is a learned skill that improves when you nurture it and seek to grow it.