Wield the power of curiosity to change your narrative
Remember the last time you did something creative? It might have been earlier today, last week, or even last year. Or, it may be so long ago now, that you no longer have a creative bone left in your body. But the truth is, creativity and curiosity are much the same. Oil paintings and park-bench poetry aside, you don’t have to be a ‘creator’ to ‘think creatively’. So, how have so many of us lost touch with this side of ourselves? And what value can we find in coaxing it back to the surface? We’ll explore why creativity holds the key to shifting your mindset – and seeing the world in a whole different light.
Give yourself permission to play
The pressures of modern life have proven an even bigger strain these past few years. So much so that we forgot how to be playful. But what does thinking playfully have to do with our creativity? In reality, the inner child within us is still desperate to explore the world. But many years ago, that child grew up, and that permission was gradually taken away. Yet, it is through play that we are able to access that alternative space within our brains. On this plane, we are more likely to lower our inhibitions, and share the ideas we’d otherwise feel uncomfortable sharing. It is through these adventures that we may find joy in new places, and lean into challenges with meaning.
Creativity is within our design
On the subject of realizing that creative potential, I was lucky enough to speak with Sarah Stein Greenburg. Executive Director of the world-renowned Stanford d-school, Sarah is also the author of ‘Creative Acts for Curious People: How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways’. Sarah develops creative practices to find unconventional solutions to the challenges we face. Helping curious minds find the tools to refine and reflect on their existing processes, Sarah believes that through creativity we can challenge the way we interact with our surroundings. In this Do It With Dan episode, we explored some of the activities Sarah champions within her work to help others unleash their creative potential.
Why creativity holds the key (in the most unlikely of places)
How much of our daily routine is habituated? How do our creative abilities have the power to transform the way we live our lives? Sarah shared some ideas – some of which are included in her book – on how to unlock those possibilities.
A notion formalized by French artists and philosophers in the 60s, the dérive invites us to re-tune our consciousness through the process of drifting. We may choose an attribute, such as the color yellow, and stop to observe everything that’s yellow on our daily walk. We may see flowers, and then we may see other things we just hadn’t noticed before. What we see may also feel relevant to something entirely different – such as a philosophical principal we may wish to explore. “I had somebody who actually followed straight lines, and she had this whole realization about how constrained she feels in a lot of her work. She wanted to figure out how to break those lines”, said Sarah.
As the nuts and bolts of any business, distribution is about how we can get the thing that we’ve made to the person who wants to buy it. Believe it or not, this is something you can apply the creative mindset to. In this exercise, Sarah has her students stretch a piece of string across a room. While one end represents the customer, the other represents the product or service they are creating. What steps need to take place in order for it to make that journey? This provokes many insights for participants about what could go wrong, what it’s going to cost, the creative partnership arrangements, etc. While a less desirable area of a business, it’s through creative thinking that the most straightforward solutions can often be found.
Sometimes we have to slow down to see new things. With this creative practice, Tether invites us to see past the obvious. We may be sitting in a shopping mall people watching, for example. We observe the various interactions taking place before our eyes, but then our curiosity begins to unfold. What did this place look like 10 years ago? What will it look like in 100 years? How is it connected with the surrounding community? Armed with this new way of thinking, we can you start to apply that to our own life and experiences, and how they might be connected to the broader ecosystem that we’re in.
From conflict to collaboration
Much of the conflict we experience in our partnerships – whether at work or at home – comes from the fact that the parties involved are simply not aligned. While one individual may still be in ‘explorative mode’, the other may be ready to move on and make a decision. By embracing creative practices in a collaborative way, we can learn from each other – and find the answers to questions we didn’t know needed answering. A mini storytelling exercise is a great place to start. How would we feel if someone shut down our dreams? How would we feel if they opened them up? In that moment, it’s about tuning into how we feel when someone validates that drive, as opposed to judging us for it; it’s that restorative moment that reminds us what it feels like to embody that generative mode when working with like-minded individuals.
Why creativity holds the key in more ways than one
As Sarah reminds us, creative explorative tools are not simply designed to empower creatives. They can prove relevant in all aspects of life – from approaching our business differently in order to attract our perfect clients, to engaging with our significant other when working through relationship difficulties. With so many applications, creativity has the power to significantly alter our trajectory should we wish to challenge things, and should we wish to change things for the better.
For further information on how to embrace your truth, my page supports all those in search of a joyful, abundant, purpose-driven life. From my live events to my collection of books, I hope my teachings may also inspire you to do things a little differently in order to see the outcome you truly desire.
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