Who says you’re not creative? Blog post 2

Welcome to the second installment from my book: Who says you’re not creative?

The first section of the book is headed Our starting point : Where are we now? It includes 4 ideas for your consideration. The first was posted last week   “A logical-rational bias” and I am pleased to say it prompted a good discussion. (Press ‘previous’ to view). The next two sections are below. Again very short but I hope they are thought provoking.

Straitjacketed?

We are all straitjacketed to a certain extent. We take on the mantels of the organisations and institutions we become part of and begin to think and behave in a certain way – ‘group think’.

Even if we rebel it is often against the parameters set by the context so we are, to a certain extent, still locked within a given system.

When developing a workshop recently, I found myself trapped by the value I placed on established ‘models of creativity’ instead of giving value to my own thinking and ideas. I kept myself in the bounds of the knowledge created by others, which surrounded and created my world and understanding of the subject. What was this if not straitjacketed thinking?

Scared to play

As adults we are scared to play. Our notion of being an adult, especially at work, is being sensible, serious, measured discussions and debates, little laughter. Having fun is frowned upon and seen as ‘not working’.

We all know of some of the famous companies who encourage play and fun environments like Google and Innocent but these are few and far from the everyday experience of what most of us know as ‘work’.

In my workshops I sometimes ask people to draw a problem, or mould their problem using play dough. There are usually three reactions: some people become paralysed by the situation; others laugh and eventually start playing and make something fairly descriptive; and the third, smaller group relish the challenge and often create something a little more left field, metaphorical.  It’s as if they have been waiting for someone to give them permission to let out their creative selves.

The majority of us feel embarrassed, too self-conscious, as adults to do this kind of thing. Are we afraid of what people will think? Are we afraid of looking stupid?

Will this same fear keeps us from presenting new, off the wall ideas, to our peers? In which case – it becomes a problem.

My questions for you:

Do you feel ‘straitjacketed’ in anyway? How much of this is self imposed? 

(It was this realisation that prompted me to write my book- it was the vehicle through which I could ask myself what i thought about the subject of creativity.)

Are you scared or too self conscious to play/ be playful in your attitude?

Are you lucky enough to be in a work environment that encourages a sense of creative play/ exploration?

 

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Who says you’re not creative?

Towards the end of last year I wrote my first book – with the working title “Who says you’re not creative”. In my work as a Creative Facilitator, I come across lots of people who label themselves as ‘un-creative’ which I am not even sure is a word! My book is a response to all those people. We are all creative. We’ve just got a little disconnected from our right brain/ our capacity for creativity.

right_left_brain2

This book is an accessible insight into creativity which aims to help people re-connect to their natural/ inherent creativity. It’s currently in the process of being published but I wanted to start releasing it into the world anyway.

The book format is a ‘one concept per page’ rather than a heavy narrative text. It follows a journey which begins with an understanding of why many of us consider ourselves as ‘not creative’ and shows how we can ‘break free’ and get to a state where ‘we absolutely can be!’  

Comments are most welcome but only constructive ones please. There is enough negativity in the world. (I borrow this approach from the wonderful Richard Wilkins who said something similar at the end of one of his talks last year – it made many of us chuckle).

It would be great to foster creative conversations on here and find out what you think of the sections I publish. If they resonate with you I’d love to hear about it.

P.S. If you want to know a little more about my work as a Creative Facilitator here’s the link to my main website http://www.thecreativethinkingcompany.co.uk.

Welcome to my world.

Section 1: Where are we now?

 A logical-rational bias

We live in a society that places greater value on rational logical thought rather than creativity. We can see quite clearly how the western education system places science and maths above the arts and humanities. You only have to think back to your time at school and the pressure to choose certain ‘academic’ subjects that would be more likely to help you get a good job in later life. Those good jobs being: medicine, accountancy, teaching not artists, dancers or writers.

Many people talk of this split in terms of the left and right side of the brain where the left side houses logical, rational, analytic processes and the right: images, sound, imagination, colour. This split is metaphorical rather than the way the brain is actually structured which is far more complex. It does however provide a useful shorthand for different ways of thinking.

The value difference between left and right brain thinking can perhaps be attributed to a belief that the more academic disciplines would contribute to building a more wealthy and successful society. This may have served us well up until now. Now we find ourselves in a recession, which many say was predictable and is here for the next 5 years. Might our reliance on logical rational thought let us down? Would now be a good time to embrace the right side of the brain?

Unfortunately due to the left brain bias, we need to re learn how to use all those wonderful things of the right brain like our imagination, playing with the impossible and nonsensical, the use of metaphors, images and lateral thinking. Fortunately we can re-learn.