Understanding Creativity

27 Mar

This ROOT-WORD of Creativity is  CREA which comes from the Latin creare which means to CREATE.  Once you know the meaning of the root its easy to figure out what other words having this root mean.

Here are some words using the same root ,  Creant : CREA nt (kree’ ant) adj. Creating; having the urge to create. Create : CREA te (kree ate’) v. Bring into existence; produce; as, create a song, Creation : CREA tion (kree ay’ shun) n. The act of creating. Creative : CREA tive (kree ate’ iv) adj. Having the power to produce; as, creative ability. Creator : CREA tor (kree ate’ or) n. One who creates; maker. Creature : CREA ture (kree’ chur) n. Anything created; a creation. Re-create : re CREA te (re kree ate’) v. Bring to existence again; refresh; revive. Recreation : re CREA tion (rek ree ay’ shun) n. The act of refreshing; renewal by food, exercise, or rest

So whats the advantage of being Creative ? Find me a person who says I don’t want to be Creative ? This is one skill that can help you in your life at every stage. Most successful people are very Creative. And I am sure everyone wants top be happy & successful.

The first feeling is that  Creativity is associated with Inventions and discoveries and you are normally born with it. But Creativity like any subject is a Skill and can be developed by everyone. As the legendary Steve Jobs explains – Creativity is not about NEW , its actually about connecting your experiences and the things you see around you.

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Lets look at some examples that explain the above point.

The Strolley  looks like an amazing invention , so useful , so easy – no need for carrying a heavy suitcase , no need for a porter – A Strolley is nothing but a Baby Stroller & the Station Trolley put together – 4 wheels and a handle – that transforms the bulky suitcase to a convenient strolley – It was an idea for everyone to see but someone connected the dots and Voila a Creative output happened.

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There are numerous examples similar to this  – the Container Terminal is one. Earlier it used to take months to load a ship . Goods were shipped “break-bulk”; that is, in individual sacks, barrels, and crates, each individually loaded and unloaded by armies of workmen. This was very costly in terms of the time and labour involved, before even taking into account all that was lost or stolen along the way. In 1956 The shipping container, and the dockside cranes that came with it, eliminated this altogether. It brought about a highly automated process that reduced the cost to ship freight dramatically. As the container became intermodal, it was easily transferred from boat to train to truck in a seamless process, without the need for unloading and reloading.

This again was a simple invention made by Malcom McLean an American Transport Entrepreneur. Some Say that the invention of Containers helped the Global economy to grow by a few % points.

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Look at the Kitchen – and see how creative you can be in making new dishes by just mixing up ingredients that are lying around. Fanta and Ice Cream – gets you Orange Pop Soda, Left over Maggi packed in bread dipped in dosa batter and fried gets you amazing pakodas. You can create so many amazing fusion dishes in the kitchen just by playing around with ingredients around you. Look at the “Pan Shop” – see the amazing varieties of Pan’s he can create with just a Betel leaf and a few common ingredients.

There are many such examples but one common theme across all of them is CURIOSITY.  Curiosity is the Trigger to Creativity. You need to ask Questions , dig deeper, explore , try  and  then the dots begin to connect.

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As the great scientist Einstein himself remarked

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So lets summarise the two points 

1. We all want to be Creative

2. To be Creative you need to be Curious

We’re all creative by heart. It just so happens that some people are better at expressing it than others.

So here are some tips on how to develop your Creativity

1. Get out of the rut – if you are stuck , start afresh. Visit a painting exhibition or a museum or just walk in the park early morning. Get some new perspectives. New Surroundings help.

2. Meet and interact with diverse people – don’t stick to the same small group of few friends. Try mixing with people half your age , spend time with children , spend time with people from a totally different profession etc.

3. Be passionate about what you do – love your job or whatever you are working on. Be totally immersed in it.

4. Stay healthy and brisk – too much sleep or too little sleep can affect your Creativity. Avoid food that makes you sluggish. Don’t be a couch potato.

5. Keep your mind active – don’t waste time watching boring serials or reading the same book. Try some puzzles, tricks etc – give some constant exercise to your Brain. Creativity is like a muscle the more you exercise it the more active it gets.

6. Stay Positive – don’t get Cynical – Don’t Crib and complain and nag.

7. Use Counterfactual Thinking – Counterfactual thinking, also known as asking, “What might have been?” has been shown to increase creativity for short periods of time. To experiment with this technique, take events that have already happened and re-imagine different outcomes, alternating between the subtractive mindset (taking elements out of the event) and the additive mindset (adding elements into the event).

A silly example of counterfactual thinking in action can be seen on The Big Bang Theory, when one of the main characters makes a game of the phenomenon, asking his roommate: “In a world where Rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the Second World War?” You, however, can apply it to more realistic scenarios, such as mapping out outcomes whenever you are doing creative problem solving, subtracting or adding “what if” elements that would have affected the outcome.

These are simple techniques but practise them in your day to day life and you will see your Creativity sharpening and improving

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