We’re all called on from time to time to demonstrate critical thinking and find creative solutions to difficult problems. Some people are naturally inclined to these challenges; magic and miracles seem to stream out of these wizards effortlessly. And then there’s the rest of us for whom creativity is something learned, like Quantum Mechanics or String Theory or Feng Shui interior decorating. If the latter sounds more like you than the former, then this piece is for you. There are two main reasons why creativity is important in achieving business success. First, problem solving and making decisions are the key functions of the entrepreneur. As much as 50% to 60% of your time in business and in life is spent in problem solving; the better you become at thinking up creative ways to solve the inevitable and unavoidable problems of daily life and work, and making effective decisions, the more successful you will be. Second, each of us wants to make more money. We all want to be more successful, and enjoy greater status, esteem and recognition. Your problem solving ability is a key determinant of how much of these you accomplish. Two words of advice for those who want to win in the Creating Thinking Olympics; don’t choke. Stress and tension make the creative thinking task more difficult.
Athletes who perform with anxiety and excess tension:
- Worry too much about results or outcomes and tighten up in the game
- Are afraid of what others may think about them if they make mistakes
- Want badly to perform up to the expectations of others and worry that they won’t please others
- Are tired even before competition starts because they are physically and mentally drained by their pregame anxiety
- Are prone to lose confidence when they don’t know how to react to pregame jitters
- Perform tight, scared, and lose trust in their ability because they fear mistakes or losing
We see the same types of things in business. The top five causes of the dreaded creative block include:
- Fear of Failure
- Fear of Criticism
- Striving for Constancy
- Lack of Direction
- Passive Vs. Proactive Thinking
The underlying themes in this list are fear and defensiveness. A lot of this could be solved by following what great athletes know and do so well; stay loose and be open to that sudden clear and open shot! The key is to cut through the tension so our inner creative all-star can truly shine. It’s counter-intuitive, but the solution is usually not found by mashing one’s nose even further into the grind-stone. In the next installment in this series, I'll show you some effective work-arounds to help you work at your most creative peak more often.
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