- Jane Harbison, Dreaming Big For Little Girls
The Urgency for Creativity & How To Be Creative in 5 Steps
Creativity will solve our problems
I love talking about creativity and I love being creative. In fact it is one of my top 5 character strengths so I am playing in my happy space. But I want to approach it a little differently and talk about why it is so important, and why we need it more than ever.
We have some big problems to solve.
I believe the only thing that is going to solve them is our creativity.
When we think of creativity, our mind often goes to art, craft, design. They are all wonderful examples of the output of creativity. Instead I want to talk about the process of creativity from which all the beautiful outputs are created from.
I love Sir Ken Robinson’s definition of creativity. He said, “Creativity is the process of original ideas that have value.”
There are three parts to the above definition that I would like to break down a little further. I will start with the end:
1. IT HAS VALUE
For creativity to add value it solves a problem. This is why creativity is so valuable - it solves problems in new and novel ways. The problem is where creativity starts.
2. IT IS ORIGINAL
True creativity must contain originality. There is nothing creative about doing something the same way it has been done before. Creativity doesn’t require a whole rework though. A simple tweak will often be enough to put a completely different take on an old way of doing something.
3. IT IS A PROCESS
Creativity is a process not an outcome. A piece of art, clothing, a photo on Instagram or a tiktok video, they are all the outcome of a creative process.
I am going to share a 5 clever step process you can use, every day, to solve a problem with originality and meaning.
The Future is Uncertain
No one really knows what the future holds.
And this makes people feel anxious.
So if we cannot know the future, and therefore unable to know the outcome, is it not better to have a process to handle any obstacles or opportunities that come our way?
When I was in year 10, I was called into the headmistress office. It was time to make my subject choices for my final years of school. She said to me, “Jane are you sure you want to do Maths 1, Chemistry and French, because
you are really good at Art, Home Economics and History?”
I looked at my parents and then back at her and said, “Yes I want to do Maths 1, Chemistry and French.” I thought these subjects would get me a good TE score, then I would get into a good University and then get a good job and be paid well and life would be great.
Fast forward 20+ years, I was reading Ken Coleman’s book “The Proximity Principle”* where he talks about 3 things that cause us not to act or make bad decisions.
The first two are fear of failure and fear of rejection. We all experience those, sometimes on a daily basis in varying degrees.
The third one was Pride. In particular, worrying about what others thought. Being too proud to be vulnerable. It made me think about the decision I made back in year 10.
I was worried that people would not think I was intelligent. People who do maths, science and languages are intelligent, right?
Well, what if we started thinking about intelligence differently?
What if we measure intelligence by how well we understand what we are good at and love doing and trust that?! If we are good at something and we love doing it, we are going to bring our BEST SELVES to the world. Now I think that is smart!
I did not know that the global creative economy would eventually generate over three trillion dollars, employ over 30 million people and be growing at 7% per year.
When we trust in what we are good at and love doing, something extraordinary will come from it.
We are going to be happy and purposeful.
Happiness is one of those things our parents want most for us right?
When we bring our best selves, our interest, our focus, we have a greater capacity to solve problems and examine those in new and different ways. We focus on not just surviving but thriving.
How do we solve these problems in new ways?
I'd like to share a clever 5 step process:
I take girls through this process in more depth in our 5 Day Creative Challenge, so they can get really good at it, but these are the essential tenets:
Absorbing new ideas, learning new things, reading, watching, listening, experiencing. Curiosity and a love of learning are
important here to sustain saturation of the mind, body and soul.
This is where you mull over what you have just absorbed and start to apply it to your situation. Form it into original ideas
and novel ways of doing things.
This is where you put into action those ideas that have value for yourself and/or for others around you.
This is where you and other celebrate the creativity. This can be a simple acknowledgment or something more grand.
The brain and body need to rest, so it is important to take a break from the creative process before embarking on saturating
yourself with interesting knowledge and experiences again.
Putting this into practice is like baking a cake
Did you ever have a cake that your mother or father made, that was your favorite?
You just knew every time they made it, it was going to taste great and look great.
But probably when they first made it, and maybe a few times after that, they might not have got the proportions right, or the ingredients weren't fresh, or the oven was too hot and it burnt on the top.
After a few goes, they got better at it, to a point that they no longer had to look at the recipe. They knew it by heart.
Just like the process of creativity, the more you do it the better you get at it.
The recipe is the tried and tested process (the 5 steps mentioned above).
The ingredients are a natural, organic YOU (your strengths, values, traits, love languages).
Mix the Process and You together and you create a cake that rises to the top.
Then you celebrate what you created - by eating the cake with friends and family, those people that you value.
When you are full and happy, you sit back and relax, ready to do the process again.
We are all born with an ability to be creative.
As we get older, we start to loose it as we become more focused on surviving and thriving. This often results in us becoming less risky. Doing things the way we have done them before because we know that is safe.
Today the world is screaming out for creativity - creative thought. We are faced with
hundreds of problems to solve every day, big and small, and the world cannot sustain us solving those in the same way we have always done so.
The World Economic Forum have creativity in its top three skills needed for the future because it is equipped to deal with the uncertainty of it.
The future is exciting.
The future is full of possibility and potential. If we open our minds to it, be prepared to seize opportunity, face fears of failure and rejection, take risks, be prepared to be wrong and be prepared to try again, then, anything is possible.
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Little Girls, that go back into programs for girls. Please see www.dreamingbigforlittlegirls.com