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Creating Creativity: Creative Habits to Practice Everyday

Successful people think outside the box and offer something new every time. Fortunately, according to Sir Ken Robinson in his famous TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” everyone has the capacity to be creative. It’s just a matter of perspective and persistence.

Making creativity a habit can boost your performance. You’ll be able to keep your audience interested with your originality.  However, the benefits of ingenuity aren’t limited to your professional life. Practice it every day to become a happier, better-rounded individual.

Look for Inspiration Everywhere

Fresh material can be found in the most unexpected places. Resourceful thinkers let their minds and bodies wander to find original ideas. Daydreaming allows your brain to branch out into different possibilities, which is essential for creative thinking. You actually come up with the best concepts when you least expect them. Try getting fresh air and step outside to look for inspiration.

But being on the go not only helps you find your muse, it also literally improves your thought process. Studies provide evidence on the correlation between physical movement and cognitive activity. The next time you come across a mental block, consider going out for a run.

Passion Precedes Excellence

A project done half-heartedly is bound to fail. Creative people know this, so they give their all in their work, and the results follow. While committing yourself to one thing seems tedious, single-tasking can be very rewarding. Focusing on one project gives you more time to scrutinize and polish its quality.

Because this requires a lot of patience, you have to really be interested in what you’re working on to keep going at it. It doesn’t have to be your immediate interest. It just has to be something you’re willing to invest effort in.

Angel investor and entrepreneur Amy Rees Anderson, writes in her article on Forbes that passionate pursuit yields monetary return, citing examples such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. The more enthusiastic you are, the higher the chances are of a good result.

Criticism Nurtures Growth of Ideas

People are naturally social beings. Finding like-minded individuals who can share your vision and assist your progress is crucial in the creative process. Although originality seems personal, making connections and collaborating with others can help you come up with better ideas.

Ed Catmull, co-founder and current president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, discloses the process behind Pixar’s creative successes in an article on the Harvard Business Review. In his definition of creativity, Catmull debunks the misconception of creativity as a “mysterious solo act” and instead emphasizes the collaboration of great minds in producing good output. Those who seek out communities to foster imagination and growth are more likely to succeed in their craft than people who remain solitary.

For one thing, other people won’t know your work exists if you keep it to yourself. For another, getting feedback allows you to improve on skills. In the case of a presenter, showing your content and visuals to your peers or to other experts gives you different perspectives on your presentation.

After all, an audience will look at it in the end, so why not get constructive opinions now? Being around other creatives can also build a network of ideas that you can tap into anytime.

Conclusion

Creativity has many benefits. It enhances your personal and professional life. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t limited to a chosen few, either. To achieve creative thought, simply go out of your comfort zone and explore. You can get inspiration from everything around you.

Work hard and be patient in crafting your ideas into worthwhile output. When you’re ready to let your work be known, surround yourself with people who are willing to support you and give you feedback. It’s a healthy practice to integrate creativity into your daily routine.

Need help making a creative and stimulating presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts and get a free quote!

 

References

Anderson, Amy. “Does Being Passionate About the Work You Do Increase Your Chance of Succes?”. Forbes Magazine. Accessed October 9, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/03/27/does-being-passionate-about-the-work-you-do-increase-your-chance-of-success
Catmull, Edwin. “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity.” Harvard Business Review. September 1, 2008. Accessed October 9, 2016. www.hbr.org/2008/09/how-pixar-fosters-collective-creativity
Chan, Amanda. “Regular Exercise Could Boost Creativity.” The Huffington Post. December 9, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2015. www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/exercise-creativity-physical-activity_n_4394310.html

Featured Image: “Chalk” by Dean Hochman on flickr.com

The Creative Process: 4 Steps to Presentation Success

We like to think of creativity as something elusive. It’s either you have it or you don’t. But as we discussed in the past, creativity is not a special trait reserved for artists, musicians, and writers. Creativity is a vital for endeavors that involve communicating and connecting with others. Whether you’re working on a novel or pitching to investors, creativity is crucial for capturing the imagination. The creative process is considered elusive only because we don’t know how to navigate through it.

The science of creativity

The idea that creativity is black and white comes from the notion that the left and right sides of the brain are distinct. Those who use the left side of their brains are more logical, practical, organized, and analytical. On the other hand, “right-brained” thinkers are understood to be more creative, artistic, and emotional.

That means an entrepreneur who carefully plans his next step is left-brained, right? And a pianist practicing a sonata is obviously using the right side of her brain. Recent research prove that this is just a myth:

Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.

Instead, the entire creative process– from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.

Importantly, many of these brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain. In recent years, evidence has accumulated suggesting that “cognition results from the dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks.”

In truth, the creative process involves several steps that happen in different regions of the brain. As indicated in the quoted passage, the brain is actually a complicated network that operates as a whole. There is no divide between the creative and logical. While some are more inclined to either one of these traits, both can be true for a lot of people as well. The creative process doesn’t involve magic. It can happen for an artist, as well as an entrepreneur preparing for a presentation.

The creative process in four stages

The social psychologist Graham Wallas described the creative process as a series of steps. According to Wallas, the creative process has four stages that involve both conscious and unconscious thinking. If you feel like your presentations can use a bit more imagination, you don’t need to wait for the muse to come. Just take note of the following steps to help you get started:

Stage One: Preparation

Creative Process 1: Preparation

The first stage involves laying down the ground work of your project. To prepare, you consult prior knowledge and experiences, as well as seek out other resources. In presentations, this is when you define the main purpose of your presentation. Upon figuring out your goals, do some research and seek out inspiration.

Stage Two: Incubation

Creative Process 2: Incubation

After gathering inspiration comes a period of “unconscious processing.” Here, you let your brain piece together what you were able to gather. Wallas describes it as “voluntary abstention” from consciously thinking of the problem at hand. Instead of trying to find a specific solution, you take a step back and consider different possibilities. If you remember our previous discussion on creativity, this is similar to creating “psychological distance” between yourself and your work. At this point, instead of letting yourself be boxed inside a specific line of thinking, try to explore other solutions through brainstorming and mind mapping.

Stage Three: Illumination

Creative Process 3: Illumination

As the name suggests, the third step of the creative process involves the moment when everything finally comes together. According to Wallas, this stage can’t be forced. It happens unconsciously, only after you were able to step back and consider different solutions. He describes illumination as the following:

[The] final “flash,” or “click” … is the culmination of a successful train of association, which may have lasted for an appreciable time, and which has probably been preceded by a series of tentative and unsuccessful trains. The series of unsuccessful trains of association may last for periods varying from a few seconds to several hours.

Stage Four: Verification

Creative Process 4: Verification

The last stage of the creative process involves carrying out your idea into the real thing. To ensure success, consult the goals and parameters you’ve determined in the preparation stage. For presentations, this involves finally building your PowerPoint deck, as well as the act of presenting in front of an audience.

Creativity doesn’t need to be magical and elusive. It can be accessible to those of who aren’t particularly inclined to artistic endeavors. Familiarize yourself with the different stages of the creative process and ensure that your presentations end successfully.

 

References

Kaufman, Scott Barry. “The Real Neuroscience of Creativity.” Scientific American. August 19, 2013. Accessed October 15, 2014.
Popova, Maria. “The Art of Thought: A Pioneering 1926 Model of the Four Stages of Creativity.” Brain Pickings. 2013. Accessed October 15, 2014.

 

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