If you only read one thing today, I hope it is this: According to a recent report from the World Economic Forum, creativity at work will be one of the most important and in-demand skills in the next five years.
In fact, creativity is going to be the third most important skill OVERALL for any job anywhere in the world.
So, how can we all learn to be more creative? And what can you do today to increase creativity at work, no matter what you do? As it turns out, there are two things you can do NOW. Don’t worry: they will not cost you a penny; they are not some investment in a new piece of machinery or some part of a 12-step subscription program. They will not require you to paint a landscape of the American West; they are not even about art. These two things are part and parcel to every human being on Earth—and they are very powerful free tools to help awaken the latent creativity in all of us. Let’s dive in:
#1: Everybody Is Born Creative
Yep, it’s true. Everyone is born creative. And understanding that is the first step to becoming more creative at work. I have conducted extensive research on the matter and found that even before language skills take hold in humans, creativity is right there—awakening problem-solving skills deep within our DNA.
This ability to be hardwired for creativity is what separates us from the animal kingdom at large. But somewhere along the way, we humans give up creativity in favor of analytics. It can happen in school. It can happen in society. It can happen anywhere. And the result is dangerous. Especially when we think about our business or career.
We end up limiting the potential of humanity to solve pressing and urgent problems. So, we don’t have a cure for cancer yet. Or a machine that cleans dirty air yet. Or a spaceship to land a woman on mars yet.
What the heck is going on?! You see, using analytics without creativity has us operating at half our potential, at best. Would you accept an invoice paid for half of the amount? Or half your paycheck? Or half a pizza? I know I wouldn’t. Yet we do it every day that we are not uniting both sides of our minds to think with full human potential.
And it turns out that the long-ignored side our mind is not something we need to buy or find or hire someone to help us with—it’s already within us, and it’s up to us to decide to use it. It has been there since childhood, in fact. We just need to learn how to re-awaken it. Well, then, how do we begin to learn to re-awaken creativity in our business? Start with #2.
#2: Listen to Your Gut
Yep, creativity is really your gut instinct trying to tell you what you need to do in your business or career. It is that voice you and I and everyone else ignores. It is the voice we ignore often for no other reason than it’s not analytical. Since it can’t be quantified or expressed in numbers, we fool ourselves into thinking that it’s not real.
But here’s the thing: it is real and you need to listen to it from time to time to become more creative. That voice is creativity trying to balance out the analytical and bring your thinking to a more united, whole and balanced position. A natural position.
Don’t worry: this is not about aligning your chakras or the Seven Tones of Solomon or any other New Age thing. Don’t get me wrong, if you are into those things and they work for you, then that’s great! But this is more about listening to what we have been ignoring, from time to time or maybe most of the time, and allowing creativity to get out.
If you are a real estate investor and pass by that empty lot every day you just know would make a great place for a multifamily building, maybe it’s time to build it. If you are an engineer and just know that a slight modification will make a much better product, maybe it’s time to try it. If you are a teacher and your gut is telling you to change the curriculum, it just may be time to change it.
Maybe you are like me—someone who has ignored their gut and regretted it. Most times I ignored my gut in a business decision, I have been left in bad shape. One time, my gut was telling me to diversify to an auxiliary product offering for a business I owned, but I didn’t listen. I ended up losing that company, simply because I did not listen to my gut. There were myriad of reasons not to listen, or so I had convinced myself. But in the end, not listening to my gut cost me everything.
So, what is your gut telling you about your career or business that you have been ignoring for far too long? And where will that gut instinct take you? It is time to listen. Do it now. It is your first step to becoming more creative.
It is my mission in life to help spread creativity far and wide in businesses of all shapes and sizes. Throughout history, there has been no better system than free enterprise to uplift millions across the globe out of poverty. Out of ignorance. Out of darkness and into light. And it turns out that we can get better at our business or career simply by looking within to unite and balance both sides of our thinking.
By thinking creatively and at full capacity, we can finally solve problems analytics alone cannot solve. If we are able to shift our mindset and look at our work creatively, then our work will be more meaningful and fulfilling.
**Originally published at Small Biz Club