Getting creative

Roger von Oech has left a very inviting comment on Home Free at Last. I recommend reading his blog: Creative Think to keep your own creative flame alive. I frequently add comments to his blog and get inspirations for what to write here -- from his posts and gathering of commenters. Today is no exception. Responding to Roger's comments calls for two taxonomies (a.k.a. learning curves, four stage models, developmental sequences): Getting Creative and Playing with the Problem.

Getting Creative
Conformity kills creativity. Pressures to obey, fit in, stop deviating -- have the damaging effect of disconnecting us from our inner resources. Getting the impression there is one right answer and valid ways to give grades --sends the wrong message. We adapt by becoming outer-directed and rely on an "external locus of control". We are hard wired to what happens - a victim of our circumstances. "Command and control" managed jobs inhibit our proclivity toward trusting our intuitions and inspirations. We think our inner promptings are irrational, illogical and wrong. Getting machined this way positions us under the table, feeling powerless, getting kicked around. We argue for our limitations and say "I can't get creative" or "I'm not creative". We ask to be kidnapped again and again.

Rather than get creative when we outgrow our powerlessness, we get productive and fixated. We close our minds to avoid distractions. We focus on the task without questions. We become determined to outsmart the others, to win at their expense and to overcome the "stupid" opposition. We have a one track mind and go on predictable powertrips. We are too smart for our own good or the good of others. We are thinking like curmudgeons. We are creating harm, doing damage, trashing relationships and asking for trouble. We are proud of our conquests, victories, and accomplishments regardless of how problematic, pathological or poisonous they are.

Getting creative requires shattering realizations that come to us during an arduous psychological transition. We get a taste of our own medicine. We face ourselves in the mirror or eat humble pie. Once we see how we are part of the problem and pointing at ourselves when we blame others, we can see how to get creative. Our successful cognitive strategies have failed us. We lose faith in our ways of thinking, reacting, judging and winning. We see how they were closed, lacking creativity and uninspired.

We start to get different ideas from within. We receive intuitions, inspirations and imaginations -- that respond differently to familiar situations. We begin to find it helpful to play with metaphors, reframe the problems, and combine different viewpoints. We see value in being unproductive and scatter brained. We treasure new questions instead of jumping to our well-worn conclusions. We find ways to utilize contradictions to our own ways of thinking. We profit from constraints. We get glimpses of paradoxes where "it takes both on a spectrum", "it's two sides of one coin" or "it's neither this or that" (netti netti).

Once we get oriented in this way of playing, we are creative. We rotate between four roles or six thinking hats with ease. We balance our wild diverging in the field of possibilities with the tame converging in the realm of realism. We combine "what-if" questions with "what-is" data. We become pragmatic visionaries. We are of a mind to play with problems. (to be continued).

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