It’s hard to write a note for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays that does not sound like 1940’s era song lyrics about happiness, family and snowflakes falling. As I contemplate a year-end message to all of my favorite people, I am thinking about why I can’t think more creatively and come up with something more original. Why am I stuck with on platitudes in my head?
In researching creativity, I am dispelling a few myths and validating things I have always believed to be right. As it turns out, creative thoughts – the new, novel ideas – are fleeting. They don’t stay long unless we do something to keep them around. Also, they show up often not fully formed, unable to stand on their own yet, like newborn babies. Compared to ideas we have adopted and known for a long time, these ideas seem paper thin and whimsical next to the hefty ‘platitudes’ we adopted a while ago.
And so, the key in this phase is to simply capture the ideas. The better we are at capturing our thoughts, the more new and novel ideas we will find we have. Capturing them (writing, journaling, video or audio recording, etc.) allow us to grasp the idea so that we can think about it further later. As history suggests, the most creative people are those with great capturing skills; it’s practically a running joke about companies getting started with a plan written on the back of a napkin. Ben Franklin invented a comically large number of things. Creativity, when harnessed, begets more creativity.
Secondly, recognizing that new ideas are often not fully formed means we need a nurturing process to bring them to maturity. We want to explore them freely and not kill these ideas too soon – or too late! Once ideas are captured, set aside time to review and revise ideas. Find friends or coworkers to discuss them with, to see if you can improve or refine your thoughts.
My new year’s resolution is to create better-capturing mechanisms in 2019 so that I can improve my creativity as well. And maybe next year, I can offer you more creative holiday greetings; for this year, please accept my warmest wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season filled with family, friends, and love.
Thank you for allowing us to be part of your 2018 work.
–Beth Rogers and the Point Taken Team