I'm reading Walter Isaacson's latest book, The Innovators. It took me three weeks to get past page 20. Reading the early chapters took on epic proportion as every night I plowed through two or three pages trying to understand what in the world these innovators were trying to accomplish. I couldn't wrap my head around the math and science of it all.
Finally, by page 20, it occurred to me that analog or digital formats, vacuum tubes and tin cans all added up to combining math and science to create systems and machines that would eventually manage and code information. These geniuses were imaging today's world! Their innovations would eventually become in the late 19th and 20th centuries stunning, world-altering innovations, especially in the technological arena. The Internet was already being planned before it became a reality.
Creativity takes a novel or even off the wall ideas and re-envisions them in useful and appealing ways. The end result is something new and fresh, fascinating and revealing and moves away from expectation. In other words, creativity occurs when an individual visualizes a new way, a new pattern that generates an idea or several ideas. It is the ability of that mind to recognize new patterns and to generate more new patterns that create the basis for a new product or service or to make your personal life exciting and inspiring.
And then, of course, it is the role of innovation to challenge existing norms, producing more radical ideas and communicating these patterns to others. If you read Walter Isaacson's book on Steve Jobs, you begin to understand how an extreme creative process innovated our technical world and turned it upside down.
The ability to see the connections between things that you previously thought were not connectable is a valuable and wise commodity not only in business but also in your life. Creativity produces different viewpoints that require broad knowledge and a fair amount of collaboration. The result is that creativity changes lives.
The following are six techniques to stimulate creativity and help you find your inner genius:
1. Look at Your Life Like Giant Goodie Basket
Creativity starts from you so let's begin by looking at your life as a giant goodie basket. This basket contains everything you are an individual. You are a gold mine of thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, desires, dreams and virtues. Everything that you have experienced, every idea you have every thought about goes into this goodie basket and sets you up for being the creative person you were meant to be. Genius resides in your goodie basket.
2. Creativity Takes Courage
Taking risks is not something that is inherently part of your human nature because stepping outside your comfort zone poses a challenge. You fear of failure or criticism or indifference. It's fairly obvious that creativity and fear don't go together. But if you don't take risks, make glorious mistakes and plenty of leaps of faith, your life will become unproductive and unfulfilled. There will be no opportunities or possibilities for growth and perhaps, even transformation.
3. There Are No Limits On This Journey
Any limitations you have are a result of your own perceptions and expectations, past experiences or preoccupations with outcomes and goals rather than process -- all of which set you up for self-induced dependence or disengagement. The most significant barrier to creativity is uncertainty. Most people run from it. Yet, in life there are no guarantees so why not take time everyday to create space in your brain and ask, What more can you contribute to my job or how can you make your life more passionate and exciting.
4. Don't Resist
It's human nature to resist. But resistance is also the most toxic force on the planet because it takes way your spirit and makes you less than what you were born to be. So get up every morning, every day, one day at a time with the intention to do the most important thing in your life. Every day be vigilant and clear about what you want to do so you can make space to be creative. You might think about doing something that scares you and with practice learn to step out of your comfort zone.
5. Don't Get Separated From the Source of Your Thinking
If you consider processing everything you are -- your entire goodie basket, if you are able to think differently, think beyond the obvious, below the surface, beyond cause and effect, you are thinking creatively. Some people call that thinking like a freak. For the most part, you are told what to do and when to do it so you get separated from the source of your thinking -- separated from yourself because you are the source and not the external commands or the go-to cause and effect. Freaky is fun.
6. Be Vulnerable
Starting from the point of awareness of your own vulnerability - from your palate of senses, feelings, intuition, you can dare greatly. Gay Gaddis, the owner and founder of T3 (The Think Tank), a top integrated marketing firm that specializes in innovative marketing campaigns, said: "When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity." The ability to manage and handle uncertainty and change helps you create a vision -- and there is no vision without vulnerability.
The Dali Lama said: "When you talk, you are already repeating what you know. But if you listen, you may learn something new." Listening generates new ideas and encourages taking new paths. It is only then that you will find your own genius.
Everyone wants to leave the mundane, the static and find a vision that is exciting and new. But the only way you can only distinguish yourself is to express your creativity. Your music might be another's noise or your disaster might be another person's photo op, but pay no attention. What you have is unique; you have a genius. Expressing that genius on your artistic pallet is what makes you creative.
Joan Moran is a Creative Thought Leader and keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author is "Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer."
Visit her at www.joanfrancesmoran.com.
Follow Joan Moran on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joanfmoran