Over the past few decades I’ve worked as a group facilitator and leadership coach to over a 10,000 people to help them liberate their potential. My life and work has led me to over 50 countries, working with everyone from CEOs of multi-million pound businesses to start-up founders and the homeless. Having spent time with so many different people from so many different walks of life, I’ve learnt a few things about how the mind works and what holds us back from freeing our creative potential. Here’s what I know to be true about the creative power of the mind.
The power to create vs the output of creating
We often think of creativity as the domain of the creative industries. We look at the work of visual artists, writers and actors, and label their output as acts of creativity. This can lead us to assume that creativity is the domain of these chosen few. That is simply not true. Creativity is a fundamental quality of the human mind. Everyone is creative.
We often think of creativity as the domain of the creative industries. But, Creativity is a fundamental quality of the human mind. Everyone is creative.
Your mind is creative even if it doesn’t produce the sort of output typically recognised as artistic or creative. If we separate out the what we create fromhow we create it, a world of possibilities opens. Think of creativity as resourcefulness, lateral thinking, open mindedness, problem solving or hacking; using your own unique point of view to tackle a situation at hand. Which means that even putting numbers in a spreadsheet can be done creatively. It really can.
We are all unique
We all live inside our own virtual reality headset. We all experience our own version of reality. We’ve each had different personal and cultural experiences, we all think different thoughts. We can all go into a dinner party situation and come away with a completely different interpretation of our experience. Which means that even without trying we each have a special story to tell and some personal insight, however small, that no one else does. Once you start to recognise this, you realise that your creative output is never better or worse than someone else’s, it’s simply different and uniquely yours.
We are more alike my friends, than we are unalike – Maya Angelou
While we’re each unique, we’re also actually just the same. We live on a mood elevator – which rises and falls all by itself. We all have good days and bad days – and we all get scared and insecure sometimes. When we do, our brain gets busy and becomes like a shaken-up snow globe; ruminating, thinking negatively and over analysing – creating unproductive circular thought. And with all that thought flying around it can block our access to any fresh thinking. And it’s helpful to know that this chaos is absolutely common to everyone, from the CEO to the homeless guy.
Your creative output is never better or worse than someone else’s, it’s simply different and uniquely yours.
When we can make enough space to let the noise of our minds settle – we are also leaving room for something fresh and new to emerge. That’s why when we are not thinking too hard about something we can often get our best ideas. For example – in the shower, walking the dog, driving or doing the dishes. The natural creative power of our mind will generate new ideas into that empty space – all by itself. That’s the way we are all designed. You don’t need to do anything to become creative. You already are.
Over the next six months I’ll be conducting a series of talks about the Creative Power of the Mind at Studio7 Shoreditch. Each session will involve a conversation with someone who makes a living using their creativity. Through our conversation we will uncover universal truths about create power of the mind that are applicable to all aspects of life. For the first event, I’ll be in conversation with John Scott, former Creative Director and branding consultant, founder of iamJohnScott and co-creator of A Curious World. John will discuss the challenges of being paid to consistently think creatively. He will discuss his own misunderstandings about the nature of creativity, how these held his back his career and how he eventually overcame them.