“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” – Albert Einstein quotes
I hope you found Creativity for Personal Success – Part I interesting. I’m fascinated by the concept of right brain and left brain and how when we can use our whole brain reaching personal goals and personal success can come easier to us.
Today we’re going to continue on this topic and get into some applications.
When I’m working with people and supporting them along their learning journey, I need to be able to support them in seeing many different perspectives to widen their lateral thinking. In addition, it is fundamental that I know what their default or habits of thinking are.
How this plays out is, when I’m in my left brain, I may tend to coach by using left brain activities.
For a “non coach” understanding how right brain and left brain people in your environment are thinking and working is fundamental to establishing rapport so that more tasks can be accomplished as well as more agreements can be reached.
We often see that left brain skills are more widely valued yet companies are now recognizing that a leader in their organization must have right-brained skills. In the past, people who had financial backgrounds were placed in charge of companies. However financial skills training is very left brained and again companies are now reporting that their finance leaders must train up in right-brained skills to be able to take the company forward.
And more and more companies are moving away from left brain leaders and moving more towards the “big picture” and idea individuals and putting the left brain executives in their appropriate key roles, i.e. CFO, CTO.
Creativity, as de Bono mentions can be developed as a skill but first it must be valued. If it is not valued then it won’t be present or rewarded. Some people may believe that a list of information, tools and facts is the best way to learn new skills or to be coached. For some people they need the big picture before they get the details so they can gain a context for their new information or learning. And for others they want a bit of both.
In NLP these distinctions are broken down as part of a person’s meta-programs.
Any success “people person” has to manage all types of styles of learning. Some people will be very happy to express feelings and to explore possibilities whilst other people will want certainty or they begin to feel uncomfortable. Both of these needs are important, one is not better than the other, however sometimes people feel that the way they think is the best way and may not be as understanding of other learning styles that don’t suit their own.
Here enters the role of the coach to support their client in understanding the skill of creativity and how possibility is a wonderful area to explore. Exploring possibility should not be fearful but exciting as it allows us to see things in a different way.
So how do I create creativity and possibility in a coaching, developmental setting?
First I need to make sure my client feels they are in a safe and trusting space. Next I need to explain what may occur when we embrace “idea creativity? and how coming up with creative ideas leads to possibility and new perspectives. This should be a very exciting freeing experience, de Bono’s book, “How to have Creative Ideas”, lists 62 exercises to develop the mind.
A great deal of research has also been done to show that using the right brain to think creatively uses similar parts of the right hemisphere that are used in meditation. Thinking creatively can bring about a feeling of euphoria.
There’s no question that by using our whole brain we can achieve more in life, reach more personal goals and personal success. This is because we are using the synergistic effect of whole brain thinking.
Let’s look at a case study to see how creativity and possibility can be used.
Everyone knows what Post-it® notes are: They are those great little self-stick notepapers. Most people have Post-it® Notes. Most people use them. Most people love them. But Post-it® Notes were not a planned product.
No one got the idea and then stayed up nights to invent it. A man named Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research laboratories in 1970 trying to find a strong adhesive. Silver developed a new adhesive, but it was even weaker than what 3M already manufactured. It stuck to objects, but could easily be lifted off. It was super weak instead of super strong.
No one knew what to do with the stuff, but Silver didn’t discard it. Then one Sunday four years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry was singing in the church’s’ choir. He used markers to keep his place in the hymnal, but they kept falling out of the book.
Remembering Silver’s adhesive, Fry used some to coat his markers. Success! With the weak adhesive, the markers stayed in place, yet lifted off without damaging the pages. 3M began distributing Post-it ® Notes nation wide in 1980 — ten years after Silver developed the super weak adhesive. Today they are one of the most popular office products available.
This example shows how what was planned didn’t work but rather than destroy a concept because it didn’t factually achieve what was planned, the two scientists began to explore other creative possibilities.
They had no answer at the time but they both felt comfortable to explore possibilities of other ways of looking at what they had. If they had not done this then they would have destroyed the adhesive and one of the most widely used office products would not have been made, let alone the enormous wealth that came with this great idea.
The thinking behind Arthur Fry’s use of the adhesive was a great example of lateral thinking, thinking outside the box. This is a right brain activity. Fry was clearly thinking about possibility.
There are many examples of creativity. Another is a joke that was told outlining economic creativity.
A man walks into a bank and says he wants to borrow $200 for six months. The loan officer asks him what kind of collateral he has. The man says, “I have a Rolls Royce. Here are the keys. Keep it until the loan is paid off.”
Six months later the man returns to the bank, repays the $200 plus $10 interest and takes back his Rolls Royce. The loan officer says, “Sir, if I may ask, why would a man who drives a Rolls Royce need to borrow $200?” The man replies, “I had to go to Europe for six months, and where else could I store a Rolls Royce that long for $10?”
This joke is a great example to show how this person used economic creativity. It is also interesting to read this joke to people to see what perspective they were having when the joke was being told.
Creativity leads to possibility. Possibility leads to new adventures and journeys. And new adventures leads to personal success…this is the very nature of what a learning, developmental and achieving personal goals should be about.
One of the exciting moments I have as a coach is when a client comes up with a great creative idea. My client’s energy increases, their excitement bubbles up and they feel extremely positive and enthused.
Sometimes a client needs guidance in moving to a space for creative thought. We cannot be creative if we are tired, stressed or angry. My goal is to provide questions and opportunities to enthuse my client to move them to a space of creativity. Creativity works on a different part of the brain, engaging different emotions.
When people are creative they feel great about themselves.
Reframing and Thinking Outside the Box
My role as a coach is to support my client’s to see other perspectives, to see other ways of viewing a situation. This can be achieved through asking powerful questions. I also need to be rigorous about being able to see other perspectives too and not accepting any assumptions my client makes. Sometimes a client may resist another perspective.
Creating a safe space to explore new possibilities is important in this instance. Creativity is a skill to be learned. It takes time but once the outcomes of learning this skill are visible, the joy and confidence anyone will feel will reward you.
- What daily activities do you have that are focused around creativity?
- What value do you place on creativity and how can you bring creativity to your career?
- What is your natural tendency, to be a right, whole or left brain thinker?
- How does your thinking present in interpersonal relations?
Ask your coach or a friend to support you in understanding your patterns of thinking and creativity. Design some powerful questions to see other perspectives. This will lead you to new ideas on how to reach your personal goals.
“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” – Frank Capra
“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.” -Stuart Wilde
- Cathcart, Thomas, & Klein, Daniel, 2007, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar…. Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, Penguin Group, U.S.A.
- de Bono, Edward, 2007, How to Have Creative Ideas, Random House Group, U.K.
- Freed, Jeffrey, & Parsons, Laurie, 1997, Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World, Simon & Schuster, Inc., U.S.A.
- Pink, Daniel, H., 2006, A Whole New Mind, The Berkley Publishing Group, U.S.A.
If you’d like to begin to explore how tapping into your creativity can help you with your personal goals and personal success go ahead and ask for an Introductory Consultation today.
Also, the e-book “Develop the Mental Strength of a Warrior” (also available in a Kindle version) is packed with teachings, questions and exercises to help you engage your creativity as well.
I’d like to thank ICA for their support and inspiration for this topic.
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