To me, creative ability is one of our greatest gifts. It's a magical process that enables us to bring into existence something that wasn't there before.
That's what makes being creative so exciting and life enhancing, especially as it doesn't have to be confined to obvious areas such as art, literature and music, but can be applied to every element of your personal, professional and business life.
However, despite being such a positive and beneficial thing, creativity is often viewed with suspicion. That's because it takes us outside our normal boundaries, which can feel uncomfortable or disorientating, suggesting a lack of structure and a sense of being out of control.
In the business world, perhaps not surprisingly, process-focused managers are often worried by those who show creative flair, believing that they will be hard to manage, unwilling to toe the corporate line.
For creative people, that means either having to curb this side of their nature and put up with being a 'square peg in a round hole', or walking out of the door before they're pushed.
Creativity is crucially important at a strategic level because business owners need to creatively adapt continually what their business does and how it does it to market needs.
While creativity has the potential to generate innovation and make things happen, it has to be encouraged - at all levels. It also something you must look to develop in yourself, if you want to experience success and a richer life.
The biggest obstacle is a widespread belief that creative people are born and not made. And though it's true that some people seem to have 'natural' creativity, anyone can make themselves more creative by learning to see the world in different ways.
So here's a five step creativity plan that will benefit both you and your business:
1. Start thinking of yourself as someone who is creative.
Like everything else in life, believing you can do something is an essential first step to make something happen. See finding ways to become more creative as an investment in your life and business, and not a time-consuming activity at additional cost.
2. Strengthen your creativity through practice.
Read articles and books about the subject, like Edward de Bono's 'Lateral Thinking', or look around the internet for creativity building exercises, and you will find that there are tools and techniques available to make yourself more creative. And don't worry if some of these seem peculiar or difficult at first - persevere and you will get better at applying them.
3. Be kind towards your creative progress.
Don't fall into the trap of being overly judgmental about your creative efforts. Acknowledge your progress, have fun and give your new ideas some oxygen so they can live and breathe in the external world.
4. Find your creative style.
Find ways of being creative that suit you. Writing, painting and music are obvious creative paths to go down, but there are other ways that may work well for you. Use the world around you to trigger creative thoughts. For instance, whenever you do something at home or work, think of how you could do it better, or differently. The beauty of this type of thinking is that you don't need to validate it, your aim is merely to get the creative juices flowing.
5. Be yourself.
Expose yourself to new ways of thinking and doing things. This may not always be comfortable, particularly if you are confronted with ideas that are the opposite of your own. Taking the time to see and understand someone else's point of view can be tremendously useful in loosening up your own ideas and becoming more flexible in your thinking.
Creativity brings excitement into your life, colour into your soul and life into your existence ... and the beauty of it all is that it's available to anyone who has the courage to explore it.
Now, I would love to know what do you think in the comments box below.
How do you use your creativity on a day to day basis?