Be Creative in Your Own Ball Park

Do you know someone who tends to ask a lot of questions? Maybe he or she gets on your nerves because of the questions you have to field and because it seems you can’t get through a conversation without numerous interruptions. Don’t despair. This may be a very creative person from whom you can learn and someone who might help you increase your own ability to be creative.

In my “A Strategy For Winning” book, principle number three is Be Creative. I define creativity as doing a common thing uncommonly well. It is taking what we have, where we are, and getting the most out of it. It is looking at old things with a fresh pair of eyes and seeing them differently. When aptly applied, the questions “Why?” and “What if?” can change one’s life and change one’s world.

In 1901, H.C. Booth was sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch in America’s rural Midwest watching the sun set. He was also watching the dust blow across the prairie. As he relaxed and rocked, he asked himself, “What if we could reverse that wind and pull the dust rather than blow it?” H.C. Booth invented the vacuum cleaner.

Have you asked, “What if?” lately? “What if we tried it this way?” Maybe, “What if we changed that procedure?” It could be, “What if I changed my attitude?” There are many areas in which we can ask, “What if?”

Most people can learn to be more creative by learning to be more in touch with their subconscious minds. The subconscious mind is similar to a VCR or DVD. It records everything we experience directly or indirectly. We can actually set aside some time each day to relax and let those stored memories come to the surface in different combinations – like H.C. Booth.

Individual creative people may be quite different from one another, but most also share common characteristics. As mentioned previously, most are infinitely curious. They seldom take for granted what they are told. That’s why sometimes they may get on people’s nerves or appear to be “difficult.” They are independent in the way they think and act. They take risks, take advantage of the unexpected, and are not afraid of being wrong or falling on their faces.

A large number of creative people have told of being highly influenced by another person. It might have been a parent, grandparent, teacher or some other mentor. The influencer communicated to the creative person: you are somebody; you matter; you have worth as a unique human being.

Sometimes we get the wrong idea of what true creativity is. You don’t have to write soul-stirring novels, create music that moves people or paint scenes of pure magic. As a creative person, you can stir souls, move people and show your magic by, as Henry David Thoreau said, “affecting the quality of the day.” You can be creative in business, family, community and life. You can be a creative parent, spouse and friend.

Creativity is not limited to a particular field or profession. In fact, it is possible that a writer, musician or artist can be less creative than a salesman or auto mechanic, because a work of art created by an uninspired, routine formula is really less creative than an imaginative sales campaign or an ingenious solution to a mechanical problem. Artistic output may be one expression of creativity, but it’s not necessary to be a writer, musician or artist to be creative. A person involved in creative programming, creative management or showing creativity as a teacher is just as creative. The only difference is the ball park.