Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Worst Advice on Creativity That You Will Ever Receive

Shouldn’t creativity be left to artists and musicians? Absolutely not. Creativity has its place in the boardroom, classroom, and even on the factory floor. In fact, if you can train yourself to think creatively, both your professional and personal life will benefit.

Unfortunately, as people see you working to be more creative, they may be tempted to give you advice that is less than helpful. Here is some bad advice on creativity:

1. Play It Safe and Stick to Your Talents
This advice is usually given by people who believe that you are most likely to get good results if you do what you do best, and don’t stray too far from what your proven skills and talents are. In one sense they are correct. Playing it safe is less risky, and you are less likely to make mistakes.
However, the only way to truly develop your creativity is to try new things, even if things don’t always go as planned. In fact, when things don’t go as planned, you may stumble into some of your best ideas.

2. Don’t Get Tunnel Vision
“Sure, it’s okay to think creatively and to find new ways to approach different problems, but don’t waste your time focusing on a single project or issue.” This is obviously advice from a person who doesn’t understand the intensity that comes with becoming deeply involved in a creative project.
The truth is, when you are passionate about a project, it can be difficult to focus on much else. However, it is when you get this kind of tunnel vision that you are most likely to come up with your best ideas. So, don’t be afraid to hang out a Do Not Disturb sign, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.

3. Stop Daydreaming and Stay Focused
Fantasizing, daydreaming, telling yourself stories or creating dialogue in your mind, and visualization, aren’t wastes of time. These are the processes that your mind undergoes to help you gain a better understanding of yourself, and whatever problems you are trying to work through. Others may see this as goofing off or wasting time. However, if you want to improve your creative abilities, you must give yourself time to daydream.

4. Complexity Is Proof of Creative Prowess
Creativity has nothing to do with complexity. You can use your creative powers to find ways to simplify processes, and to create things that are sleek and streamlined.
The purpose of creativity is not always to be artistic or to add embellishments to things. Creativity can be simply using out-of-the-box approaches in order to find the best solution to a problem, to design a product, or even to to communicate your ideas to another person.
In fact, even if you do think of creativity simply in terms of art, music, or design, you will notice that the best products are very simple and don’t contain any extraneous elements.

5. Focus on The End Results
This bit of advice ignores that the process of creativity is so important. Sure, the end results are important, and quality should take precedence over anything when you are creating something, solving a problem, or formulating an idea. However, it is during the process that you learn and grow the most. In fact, you may benefit more from repeated failed attempts than you do if you get things right the first time.

6. Don’t Waste Too Much Time Trying to Be Creative
When people say this, what they usually mean is that you should quickly get back to what they believe is the correct and appropriate way to approaching whatever problem it is that you have to solve. These are usually people who see creativity as a frivolous indulgence, and not a skill that can benefit you in multiple areas of your life.

7. Be Serious
This advice usually comes in two forms. You should either stop attempting to have fun being creative and get serious, or you should approach creativity with absolute seriousness at all times. In either case, the advice is bad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the creative process, and finding ways to make it fun.

Remember that for many people, creativity is something that is difficult to understand. They may see it as risky, unworthy of your time, or they simply may not understand how developing your creativity can help you in almost every aspect of your life. Because of this, they give out the well-meaning, but unhelpful advice listed above.

Benedict Brychta 
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