What does creativity or being creative mean to you?

If I asked you to describe a creative person, what would they look like, or better yet, what would be their traits?

Lets begin with what creativity isn’t.

Creativity isn’t a title applicable only to an exhibiting artist or an accomplished author, or someone who is able to conjure up some form of “magic.” Creativity is a part of all of us.

So, what is Creativity?
– Solving a problem – think of engineer seeking a solution for a related challenge.
– Making a connection between two or more things to make something better. The Tablet came from the idea of the laptop and the smartphone.
– Creating something out of nothing – a parent thinking up and telling a bedtime story to a child heading into dreamland.

To be an entrepreneur is to be creative as problems and challenges need continuous solving. Connections between things and ideas are continuously sought, and creating visions for personal growth, our start-ups, or the team, are an absolute must.

The reason some feel that they aren’t creative is because they compare themselves to an artist, or the likes, whose magic is hanging on a gallery wall. However, the “magic” of creativity is witnessed by the audience and not by the creator.

And this is what I mean.

Let’s say I’m a head chef in a seafood restaurant and I decide I want to create a new signature dish using Salmon. In my mind I’d like it to have an Asian feel. I start with frying the fish, adding some lemon, ginger, Vietnamese coriander, garlic, and combining it with a rice noodle broth. It tastes nice, but it’s not what I initially envisioned. I decide to try something new. I steam the fish, add a bit of chilli, and combine it with baby potatoes. I’m almost there, but not quite what I’m wanting.

I take some time off, go for a walk, relax and during this time I’m inspired to change it all to a poke bowl. I lightly wok-fry the fish with all the above-mentioned ingredients, and I add snap peas and watercress. I boil some rice, let it cool, and place everything into a bowl adding a drizzle of soya sauce. Perfect!

A couple comes into the restaurant, orders the new signature dish, and are blown away by the creation and the taste bud sensation. They comment to the maître d’, “wow the chef is so creative, this dish is superb!”

The two patrons haven’t experienced the step-by-step process that I went through to get to the result. They are just experiencing the outcome – the “magic.”

So, how do we develop creativity?
By being curious – trying something new – which can be as simple as ordering something from a menu that we’d never thought of ordering before. Exploring things outside of our immediate interests can lead to new interests and open us up to new ideas, solutions, and connections.

Learning from others that have walked our path before – You can never put too much value on experience and where better to look than to mentors who can be fantastic sounding boards and guides.

Collaborating with others – We view the world through different lenses, and we think differently. “Collabs’” opens us up to those with different viewpoints, thought processes and problem-solving methods which can lead to a whole new level of options.

Taking action – We can think, talk, discuss etc, yet nothing will be done unless we take the first step. The first step, possibly out of our comfort zones, can be the most difficult because it can be seen as a step into the unknown, but once the journey has begun taking the follow-on steps does become easier.

Understanding that it is just a step- by-step process.

However, for us to explore creativity there is one key element that we need to deal with which is we need to be prepared to make mistakes or to be wrong. This is easier said than done because not only could it be costly in time, effort, and resources, but also because it’s not a concept that has been promoted throughout our lives. Nobody really likes to be wrong, yet there is no creativity or innovation without failure or making mistakes. But there is an alternative way of looking at it as said Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.”

To be entrepreneurial is to be creative, and neither is for the feint hearted. However, like any creative venture, once achieved, the view from the review mirror very seldom dwells on the hardships and frustrations, but rather on how far we have come along with the “magic,” that we have created.

In the next article I’ll be discussing how developing the trats of a leader and help us lead our way through life- both personally and professionally, as opposed to just managing with it.

submitted by Gary Hirson
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author.