Why A Creative Mind Is Essential For Success

Posted in: Innovation

Does everyone have the ability to be creative?

So many people limit themselves with the notion that they are “just not creative.” Even way back to my elementary school days I remember silently dreading art class. In math and science I could put in my best effort and get the perfect score I craved; but in art class, no matter how hard I tried, my delicate recreation of the Mona Lisa turned out more like a stick figure portrait. I just didn't have that creative “gift” that came so naturally to others.

As I got older, I often heard that people are either right-brained (creative) or left-brained (logical), and remembering my sad art class projects, heck, I was left-brained all the way. Then, when I started my career, I stepped out of my comfort zone and had  an “aha” moment that set my creative barriers free. It’s simple: being creative is not just being good at art or nailing that Pinterest craft. It’s mindset; a way of thinking that can be developed, just as you learn to read, write, add, or subtract.

And I believe developing that creative mindset is the key to your brightest possible future.

Creative people seem to take on the world a little differently. “It’s no longer a luxury. It’s about survival,” Gerard Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at New York’s Buffalo State College, told BBC. The secret getting ahead in your career is a simple one: A creative mind knows where to find the inspiration to excel, to grow, to succeed.

And there’s inspiration to be found everywhere, if you know where and how to look for it. No doubt it’s tempting to let your let your brain slip into “weekend mode” or to approach your work the same way you always do, but keeping your eye out for opportunities to be inspired, to create and to innovate at every turn can give you the edge you need to succeed.

Be a standout employee.

Your ability to be inspired and think creatively where others can’t sets you apart from your peers — in a big way. Innovation is crucial to progress, and there’s not a profession out there that doesn’t benefit from forward thinking, fresh ideas, and active imaginations. You can make a huge impact and impress your colleagues with the ability to think on your feet, stay on your toes, and turn around a bright idea at the drop of a hat.

Reach a wider audience by drawing uncommon connections and bridging gaps.

A creative mind makes connections that others don’t, because they see nuance that doesn’t present itself so obviously. In this climate of endless connectivity between people and ideas, your reach matters. Drawing uncommon connections helps to bridge gaps, and the inspiration to make those connections is always present, sometimes just beneath the surface, where only a sharp creative mind can detect it. An errant comment from a stranger on the street, a scene down on the corner, even the shape in the foam on your morning latte can trigger the creative mind to see what others don’t, and help to make that connection a reality for a wider audience. When you reach out of your comfort zone and let yourself be inspired by the everyday things that touch all our lives, you too become a channel through which dynamic interactions can flow.

Create solutions rather than complain.

We all know that guy: The guy who’s got something to say about everything, takes issue with every strategy, and finds flaw with every idea, yet never ponies up a solution of his own. You don’t want to be that guy, and your colleagues don’t want you to be that guy. Instead, you want to be that guy who’s always working on a way to do what you’re doing even better. Be the guy who’s inspired by what’s working and finds solutions for what isn’t. The guy who knows that there are no dead-ends, just stubborn passages. Solutions aren’t always easy to find or create, but staying open to ideas and inspiration can help you uncover solutions to problems and further enable success and innovation.

Maximize the minimal; make something out of nothing.

Do you believe in finding the beauty in every little thing? That every dark cloud has a silver lining? Sometimes it takes a very dedicated mind to find something sweet in the sour, or to find the inspiration where others see none. Keeping your eyes open for the magical in the mundane sets you miles apart from those who can only see things at face value. When your creative mind is on and in gear, who knows what kind of inspiration you’ll find while out on a walk, flipping through a magazine, commuting to work, or perusing aisles at the grocery store? Just because everyone else has decided to call it quits for the day doesn’t mean the chances to be inspired have too.

Be on the cutting edge.

In a world where everyone wants to be at the helm of the next big thing, and there’s no shortage of incredible and ground-breaking ideas, sometimes it all comes down to timing. When creating tomorrow’s go-to social site or a business model to revolutionize an industry — Uber and Airbnb, anyone? — often, whoever gets there first wins. Staying on the lookout for your next innovative idea or the best way to improve on what we’re only doing “alright” puts you at the head of the pack when it’s time to take those ideas and inspirations and turn them into something real.

In what ways do you constantly seek out creative inspiration? Be sure to share your tips with us in comments below!

2 comments

  • Anson Pavlov
    September 25, 2014

    Hey Guys! Great post. I run through a similar list when I’m faced with a big problem. Personally I find the Maximize the Minimal tip to be most helpful. People often overlook things that are small or mundane but the way I see it, boring has the most potential to be beautiful. Something unimpressive has the most room for growth and therefore a great chance to be truly amazing.

    (And just so you know I encountered some issues while composing this comment. Hitting the left or right arrows on my keyboard would send me to the next blog post rather than allow me to format my comment and subsequently eliminating what I had previously written. So I figured I would leave a helpful comment rather than just pointing out a flaw and being the aforementioned ’That Guy’)

    Have a great day!

    • Rilee Chastain Rilee Chastain
      September 25, 2014

      Thanks for the great feedback, Anson! We will try and get that fixed for future comments. Great input on the blog post!

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