How to Maximize Your Creativity

Posted: March 28, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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Creativity gurus often try to get you to ask questions like, “What would you do if you knew you could not lose?” or “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” or “What would you do if money were not an object?” They’re all good questions and they do all help us to get look at our goals. The problem is, they’re not reality. You can lose. You probably will fail and for the vast majority of us, money is an object. How can we maximize our creativity in the real world?

1. Use wisdom in risk. There is no creativity without risk. All creativity takes resources, and almost all of us have limited resources. The key then is to risk wisely. Experiment as inexpensively as possible. Test your ideas in the digital world first. Bounce your ideas off the people who might use it before actually doing what you’re setting our to do. The less you spend in the early phase, the less damaging failure will be and the more likely you are to succeed.

2. Failure is likely, so fail forward. No one but God is infallible. The rest of us will fail. The key is to learn everything you can from the failures of others. Remember smart people learn from their mistakes but really smart people learn from the mistakes of others. Of course, much of creativity is pioneering, so sometimes there is no one from home to learn but yourself. Start with an idea. Experiment and make note of the strengths and weaknesses of failed ideas and experiments. Then take what you’ve learned and move forward. This is the method all scientists use, and it should work in all other realms of creativity as well. Failure is not fatal, it’s a learning experience. Learn from it and move forward.

3. Not every idea is a good one. Sometimes what we learn as we move through the creative process is that we have a flawed idea. Don’t give up at the first sign of struggle, but sometimes you just have to lay an idea aside and sometimes, frankly, you have to bury it and put those limited resources to work on something better. Minimizing risks in the early experimentation phase can reveal these weaknesses and guide you toward adjustments or a complete change in direction. Even the worst ideas can help us to learn and mover forward.

4. No creative is an island. Rare, to nonexistent, is the person who can do everything. Sometimes you just need to get help. Enlist experts in the areas where you struggle. Get them to help you through your weak spots. Help them in theirs. It’s not impossible just because you can’t do it. What’s hard for you might be a piece of cake to someone else. Get help. The doesn’t have to be a major expense. Often there are people who are willing to help just for the sake of being helpful, others may be willing to partner with you for a share of the end profits. Wouldn’t it be worth it to give up a little off the top rather than owning all of something that never sees the light of day.

5. It has to see the light of day. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Ideas are the most valuable thing a creative has. They are also totally worthless if they never become something real, something shareable. Until you put an idea out for the world to see it’s just a dream. Don’t waste your time lamenting that someone used your idea (unless they blatantly ripped you off). If they just had a similar idea to you, and believed in it enough to do what it took before you did, be happy. You got really close and had an idea that could have been successful. It won’t be the last one, work for the next idea, believe in it and get it out.

You can lose, you will fail and money is an object. None of those things will keep you from success. What keeps us from success is not working to make our ideas into reality. We maximize our creativity when we risk wisely and often, fail forward, know when to give up, create with abandon, bringing things to reality and sharing them with the world.

What are you creating?


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