I am known for being a bit creative. Here are a couple of Youtube clips if you care to see some evidence of that.
But I wasn’t always creative. Its something that I have had to develop in my life.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying:-
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
One of the great keys of a successful business or leadership venture is the ability to position that business outside the square of commonality. Nobody wants ordinary. Men and women who have developed the ability to generate creative ideas in all levels of their life, find that things go to all new levels.
Some people seem to be naturally creative. Others have to work at it. If you are one of those people who, like myself, have to work hard at being creative, I have come up with a list of things that you can do to develop your ability to think outside the square.
1) Stop saying that you are not creative. Death and life are in the power of the tongue – so begin to speak life over this area of your life.
2) Read books and material that stretch your thinking. Logic puzzles are good for this. Also read widely, ensuring that you are not in a rut with what you read. Two years ago, I read a book that was predominately about a different way of peeling a banana. The main thrust of the book was that we think a certain way and we stay thinking that way all our life, even though there may be a better way of doing what we are doing.
Have you ever peeled a banana from the bottom up? Why do you peel it from the top?
3) Take time to think. This is a dying habit in our lives today. We are all so busy, there are so many things screaming for our attention, that things like thinking are put way down the list of priorities. However, it needs to be reinstated to one of the highest priorities. I find that if I am under pressure and do not schedule time to just think, the creative ideas don’t come as easy.
When was the last time that you spent 4 hours in a café, with a blank sheet of paper, drinking latte’s and brainstorming for your business, leadership or life?
This is one of the most important things that you can do to generate ideas.
Thinking while on the go is that most superficial way of thinking. If you are serious about developing your thinking ability, then it will require time.
4) As you think, ask yourself the question – what would I do if I had unlimited money or unlimited resources? Too often, we limit our thinking because we have a scarcity mentality. Now, you may say “I don’t have unlimited money”. That is not the issue here. If you limit your thinking at this stage, then you will never come up with creative ideas.
Let your mind go for a walk.
5) Don’t come up with all the negatives as to why an idea won’t work as you are brainstorming. For every idea that I come up with, there are 10 reasons why we shouldn’t do it or why we can’t do it. But why be limited by these? That’s part of the fun of it. Come up with creative solutions.
6) Keep track of new and creative ideas. Often we get flashes of brilliance only to forget them or to dismiss them. In my business, I have found that a creative thought that I may have had 2 years earlier is now ripe and ready to be applied. How many thoughts have you had that you have let escape.
7) Find out where you are most creative. For me, it is when I am on my motorbike or sitting in a café. So if I need to be creative, then I know where I need to be or what I need to do, to get the creative juices stimulated. This would be different for each person.
8) Get spiritual. Developing a relationship with God, who Himself is incredibly creative, is one of the most dynamic ways to develop creative thoughts.
9) Walk with creative people. The book of Proverbs (out of the bible) says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise”. Throughout my life, I have always found people that are excelling at doing things that I want to do and I do everything I can to develop opportunities to develop relationships with them. I glean from their wisdom.
10) Experience Life – Live Life Widely. Just by experiencing life, it helps you think outside the square.
11) Refuse to allow your thoughts to get into a rut.
The following are some Actual quotes from some “visionaries”…
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
–Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
–The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
“But… What is it good for?”
–Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
–Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
–Western Union internal memo, 1876.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”
–David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
–Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
–Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
–Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
–Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”
–Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
–Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
— Bill Gates, 1981 (before he wrote the epic hit: “Windows On My Open Mind”)
11) Challenge accepted ways of doing things. Why are we doing that and why are we doing it that way? Is there a better way? Is there a more effective way? Just because it has always been done that way, does not mean that it has to be done that way.
12) Frustration can be your greatest friend. If you are frustrated with things in your business, leadership or life, then this frustration can force you to think creatively.
13) Learn to ask questions.
14) Take advantage of wasted moments.
15) Have the boldness to give your ideas a go. Now, this is where the challenge starts. It’s one thing to come up with the ideas. It’s another thing entirely to have the boldness to give things a go. But I encourage you to.
Always remember the definition of insanity.
Doing the same thing over and over
and expecting different results.
If you change things and implement creative ideas – you will get different results.
Quotes on Creative Thinking
- Noam Chomsky
Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things.
- Arnold Glascow
An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.
- Henry Ward Beecher
The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret of outward success.
- Edmund Burke
There is a boundary to men’s passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination.
I hope that helps you be more creative.
Ps Peter Pilt
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