Creative Courage

by T Taylor

Our schools don’t value creativity. They value math, reading and science; hence our SATs, ACTs and scorecards for grades and degrees. Yet still, creativity is popular. The public rewards creativity (mostly in entertainment, movies, music and the arts) as many of America’s most loved people are in some creative field. In the business world, understanding how to solve problems through creativity is one of the real secrets to success.

The Harvard Business Review’s Tom Kelley says, “In a recent IBM global survey, they asked 1,500 CEOs what was keeping them up at night and they talked a lot about complexity. And then in the summary of the findings they said that creativity was the single most important competency for organizations trying to navigate through that complexity. These are not designers or self-identified creatives. These are CEOs of public and private sector enterprises.”

Amazing. Navigating complexity with creativity!

Teaching creativity is difficult. It’s easier and better to show people how to unlock the creativity already within them. When we were young, we were all pretty creative as we tried out new things and new ideas all the time. It’s only as we got older and experienced peer pressure and other fears, that we began to lose that beautiful creative magic.

Being creative as adults takes courage.

Overcoming years of fears is not something you do overnight. A great way to unlock the creativity within you is to start small and keep your risks to a minimum. Start by stepping out and doing something you REALLY want to do. For example, let’s say you always wanted to write a book. Start by writing the title. Write a hundred titles. Then write the first page. Then write a story you love to tell. Just take small steps. Before long, you will have a body of work and the momentum should carry you through. Break a routine, like driving a different route to work, or visit your business as a customer and observe what happens. Call someone you haven’t talked to for years. Break your habits and routines a little at a time; especially the ones that hold you back.

Make things simple, not complex.

I like the questions, “What if?” and “Why not?” when thinking of new ways to do things. It reminds me to be creative. Just today, a friend and client called and talked about his creative ideas using a cartoon strip in a very complex, technical industry. No one has ever done this and he was excited. We were laughing and having so much fun—just like kids. He asked, “Can we do this?” to which I said, “Of course!” Everything is possible when you have creative courage.

Creative courage means taking risks and putting your self out there. I love it when I’m in that zone, and when I see others there, too. Sparks fly, and life is more vibrant, fun, new and meaningful!

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus