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Creating a Creativity Plan

June 20, 2013

I always believed I was a creative person, so I never thought about creating a plan to improve my creativity.  I picked up creative strategies I heard and sought out other strategies, but a plan to improve my creativity was not even an afterthought. The last assignment of my creativity class this semester has been to write a plan to improve my creativity this summer.  I was hesitant at first, but the self reflection on my creative abilities has been helpful.  I believe I may actually improve my creative skills, after all it’s about deliberate practice, not just an inborn talent.

Here are my goals to improve my creative abilities:

1.  Elaboration.

The Torrance Test had an influence on me.  I filled out one section of the test for the class and did well on everything but elaboration–how many details I added to my drawings.  I could also improve not closing off my ideas as quickly, but elaboration had the most room for improvement.

If you read my post about the Torrance Test, I actually complained about how much weight was given to elaboration.  After a discussion with my professor, there could be good reason for the weight elaboration holds.  Many of us come up with ideas, but how many of us carry them out.  We are not willing to flesh out the details, and we never get close to a final product.  I’m still not sure that elaboration should have so much weight in the Torrance Test (many graphic design artists are taught to keep their designs simple), but I do know that I can improve on fleshing out my ideas and making them into a reality.

2.  Overcome my fears.

I was reading Awaken Your Creativity by Les Christie and she wrote about the need to overcome our fears.  She divided these fears into a fear of failure and a fear of success.  I believe I fall into both of these types of fear.

My fear of failure may come from a deeper fear that I’m not good enough.  For example, the other day I got a critique on my latest video (which I will post soon), that I say  “um” too much.  I really appreciated getting the comment, but then I started to doubt myself, was I really good enough to make videos for other people?  Who am I to try and help others?  I need a lot of help myself.

I know deep down underneath that my fears are unfounded.  I may not be amazing, like a Tony Robbins, but even he had to start somewhere.  I am only as good as I am and I just have to keep going from here.  How am I going to learn if I am not willing to try.  I know I have concepts to share that have worked for people in therapy.  I also know I have other ideas for software that could help people.  So I have to face my fears of not being good enough and keep going.

I believe I have a fear of being successful much for the same reason I have a fear of being a failure.  When I am successful, I get put in the spotlight and “Where there is light, there will be bugs.”  (quote by Howard Hendricks in Awaken Your Creativity).  If I do well, I will get negative responses, and being a perfectionist, I will fret about those negative responses, about possibly not being good enough.  It is a challenge to be vulnerable (see Brene Brown’s TED talk if you haven’t).  I don’t fear success if I can help people and not get any of the negative feedback, like when I work with clients in a therapy setting.  I tend to get mostly positive, and I appreciate the negative feedback I occasionally get.  Maybe my confidence as a therapist is also stronger and the quantity of positive comments bolsters me.  I have to keep facing my fears in those less confident areas.

3.  Play.

Step Four in Keith Sawyer’s book  Zig Zag:The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity is to “Play: How to Free Your Mind to Imagine.”  I have to admit that my best work is done when I am relaxed and having fun, doing the things I enjoy.  That may be tied to flow theory (Csikszentmihalyi)–having just the right level of challenge, but I believe I can play with things I don’t understand or in areas where I have little skill.

I want to relax and have fun, enjoy my life.  I heard a story (I wish I could remember the speaker’s name) at my brother’s graduation from law school.  The man had made millions on medical technology–very successful–and shared a story about his daughter.  The daughter told him she knew the difference between children and adults.  She said that children wake up excited about the next day and adults do not.  The speaker agreed with his daughter and continued to think about it.  He later thanked his daughter for her thought and said he is trying to wake up excited about the next day.  I want to keep that attitude and as I have fun, improve my creativity.

4.  Hire creative people.

I currently have no need to hire anyone, but I want to start considering how to hire creative people.  I think the normal interview process does not ferret out whether people are creative.  Having reviewed different tests on creativity, I think there may be ways to ask people if they are creative without them suspecting and being dishonest on their evaluation.  Most people in an interview probably would not admit they lack creativity, but if they were drawing and did not know the criterion, creative traits may pop to the surface.  I may do some of the sorting online before the interviewees come to the office.  As I ponder how to hire creative people, my pool of ideas should grow.

These are my creative goals for the summer: 1. Elaboration, 2. Overcome my fears, 3. Play, and 4. Hire creative people.    Hopefully I will see some real improvement in my creativity and more happiness in my life.  I have heard that creativity is the next type of currency in businesses.  As I improve my creativity, we’ll see if that is true.


From → Education

  1. I love creativity and I LOVE this post! I feel like I have so much, somewhere in there, but I have to learn how to cultivate it! This will DEFINITELY help! I need to stop being so lazy about it too! I use the excuse of “I don’t have enough time” when, really, I am just napping or spending my time doing unfruitful things. Thanks, and Happy Happy Thursday!

    • I agree. I waste too much time being lazy. And when I waste time I tend to feel even more tired and less motivated. When I take a risk and let myself be creative I feel so much better, I am kinder to the people around me, and I have more desire in my life. It’s easier to get into the flow when I am creative. Keep up the creativity!

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