How to Improve One of the Most Employable Skills
Creativity Can Be Learned
I used to think creativity was about being good at art, and being able to do a really good job on a project for school. I also thought that some teachers were creative and able to plan the most exciting lessons and decorate the best classrooms while other educators just did not care to be creative. Recently we studied creativity as the character strength of the week. Our school does the Positivity Project, and each week a new strength is learned.
Playing games, visualizing, brainstorming, developing a mantra, taking risks, observing others, and ultimately celebrating the ways that you are already creative are ways to strengthen this character strength.
Today I am realizing that creativity includes so much more than I originally thought. Creativity incorporates everything from strategies to cook new dinners to teaching kids to stretch their minds about different ways that regular household items can be used.
Play the Creativity Game
One of my favorite games to play with my kids is the creativity game. We take an object nearby and go back and forth thinking of things that the item could be used for. It stretches thinking and makes the time enjoyable. We have an ongoing game during dinner where we keep track of creativity points. It is boys versus girls. We take an object and for two minutes come up with as many creative uses as possible. The other team has to verify that the list is reasonable. Last night the items were a sandwich size plastic bag and a sock. It is a lot of fun because everyone is engaged in the thinking process.
Creativity includes depth of thinking and risk-taking.
Visualize the Best Case Scenario
Begin with the end in mind. Imagine the best thing that could happen. Now, get excited about that “Best Thing”. Visualize what it feels like, looks like, sounds like and any other of the senses that provide details to the height of possibility.
Visualizing gives us perspective and new ideas of how to be creative.
Everything is Figuroutable
One of my favorite quotes is, “Everything is Figuroutable”. Marie Forleo’s book, Everything Is Figuroutable has given me a mantra to change my perspective on what is possible. Yesterday, my daughter wanted to go as a character from the Harry Potter Series, and with an hour before the Halloween activities at her school, I had to figure out how to tie a tie. As I got frustrated and realized that I had no idea what I was doing after watching two different YouTube videos, I kept hearing the phrase, “Everything is Figuroutable” in my head. I believed that there was a way to figure it out.
Determined, I found new videos, and after what was probably 20 minutes, I figured it out.
Brainstorm Many Possibilities
Even when you know how to tackle a situation or solve a problem, requiring yourself to think of other options will stretch your thinking. Sometimes it is fun to experiment with a less popular option. If the stakes are not that high it is okay to see what happens if you try one of the choices farther down the list.
Do Things You Have Never Done Before
I make it a habit of writing every day. This practice has made me more creative over time, but recently after reading several of the Haikus amazing writers have crafted, I decided to stretch my creativity and try one. Writing poetry is something I have only started doing in the last few weeks.
Writing a Haiku that not only included the correct number of syllables but one that also made sense and even had the element of rhythm and beauty seemed near impossible at one point.
After a little research, I looked up the format to remind myself of the structure as well as found a fantastic syllable counter online. Writing my first Haiku got a lot easier.
The more Haikus I read the more I enjoyed my newfound creativity as a writer. I got encouraging feedback and even learned a lot about writing as I read the author notes from other writers.
Looking at an established poet’s work gave me great enthusiasm to write more.
Observe Creative People
Find creative people. Notice people who demonstrate the trait that you are looking to improve in yourself. When I put away my phone and pause to observe people around me, I can learn a lot. I am inspired, engaged and am provided with free resources.
I might notice everything from how someone keeps busy waiting in the lobby at the hockey rink, to how a mom manages her four young kids in the grocery store.
The little things that people do, the behaviors and the patterns can be observed provide interesting insight and might even help make life more productive. I also enjoy looking at other people’s resources. Some people have carefully packed bags that organize materials in the most amazingly. Other people are reading or utilizing resources that might be useful in the areas I am looking to learn more about.
Recognize the Ways that You are Creative
Everyone is creative. Creativity does not look the same for everyone, but everyone has a gift and ability to think differently about something. Focusing on strengths leads to confidence.
Every area of life includes creativity.
Kids who play video games are incredibly creative when they are deciding how to master a level. People who volunteer use creative skills as they decide how to best serve large groups of people, and provide resources that matter for a reasonable cost. And looking at a busy holiday schedule, trying to decide where we will go and when is related to our ability to be creative and think differently.
Ultimately we are already creative, but like anything the more we work at it the stronger the trait becomes. Looking at creativity with a growth mindset allows us to see potential. Working on being more creative will help us in all areas of life.