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Why Creativity And Innovation Are About Staying Open To Change

Andrew Rich via Getty Images

I've spoken to a lot of wonderfully inspiring people for the 'behind the scenes of creativity' podcast that I've been making every week since the summer. There are some characteristics which I think inspiring people share, and it's been my goal to expand on those on this blog and in the Creativity Clinic newsletter that I send out every week.

One thing that comes up a lot - in a variety of different ways - is our attitude to our 'self'.

Creative, inspiring, people are open. They are open to new experiences and ideas, but most of all they are open to change. This is the same as saying that they are open to having their mind changed. Or that they are open to the possibility they are wrong. Or that they are open to things changing, all the time.

Perhaps curiously, then, creative, inspiring people are also noticeably grounded. They have accepted that things will never stop slipping from their grasp, and stand with their hand still as everything pours through. They are grounded in the definiteness of change.

How does this relate to innovation and creativity?

I often think innovation is the most over-rated concept in the history of modern buzzwords. After all, what is needed in our fast-moving world is not more speed, but a steadily-growing depth of knowledge to anchor us and help us to weather the storms.

But innovation is also a word for finding newness in things - seeing the world with new eyes to help us find original approaches to solving problems. If having a word for it, even a buzzword, can give us courage to see things in a fresh way, then it can't be an entirely bad thing.

Whenever we feel able to create, we are embracing a fact about the freshness of life. In the most recent podcast I've recorded, the guest (a mindfulness expert) reminded us that every moment is newly created. This configuration of stuff has never happened before. Every moment arrives like a bubble, containing a completely original universe.

And right there, you have a perspective on perspective itself: see things as continually new, rather than altered or slipping away, and you'll feel a whole lot better about them. The glass is not continually emptying, it's continually replenishing, if you like.

When you start to open yourself up to the idea that change is not just a fact, but a potentially positive fact, then you see opportunities to initiate change; to shuffle the world a little, yourself. This is at the heart of confidence, creativity, and innovation.

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