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creativity column

The four pillars of creativity.

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Even if you feel like creativity isn’t necessary in your life, lots of people are finding ways to use it to solve problems and challenges in today's modern workplace. We all possess the potential to tap our creative power, and there's no better way to create those opportunities than to start viewing life through the lens of creativity. Here are four traits that I think are vital as you explore your creative potential. 

Wonderment. There is nothing more essential to creativity than wonderment. It's the ability to reconnect with the past, to remember what it felt like when the world was new to you. If you can reach back into your childhood, then you can touch genius. As adults, we forget the power of wonderment and how it connects us to the magic that surrounds us every day. Albert Einstein summed it up perfectly. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead."

Courage. This trait will help you stay on the trail as you hunt down your big ideas. It's an important quality because new ideas are so fragile. They are easy to kill by a sneer or condescending word. Courage will help you take the necessary risks and provide you the strength you will need to persevere when others would have you quit. Courage is the fuel you'll use to start something new even when you're not sure you will succeed. 

Authenticity. Creativity demands authenticity. As you work on developing ideas or finding new ways to solve problems, you must be authentic in how you approach those challenges. Authentic people are not afraid to speak their mind, which is critical as you look to build trust with your team. Genuine people will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Brene' Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, offers this cautionary thought, "If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following; anxiety, depression, eating disorders, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief." 

Curiosity. A trait that's essential if you hope to be more creative. Also, a quality that harkens back to childhood when our curiosity was at its peak. Leo Burnett, a Chicago ad agency executive and founder of the firm that still bears his name said this, "Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of all great creative people." It's as simple as ABC, Always. Be. Curious. Just as a fire needs oxygen to burn, creativity needs curiosity, and creativity won't work unless you do. 

The traits I've discussed above can help anyone looking to become more creative. When I was growing up, it felt like creativity was used mostly for creating artwork. Today, it gets used for so much more as our society is finally embracing it and using it in unconventional ways. As the world continues to accelerate and evolve, creativity will lead the way. Have the courage to take the journey. Be fearlessly authentic and let your wonderment and your curiosity be your guide. 


William ChildsComment