Creativity Comes In Many Forms

Creativity Comes In Many Forms

Chances are, if you don’t work in a “creative” industry like advertising or the arts, you may not spend a lot of time thinking about creativity. Your job might not call for creativity in the traditional sense of the word. But no matter what you do, you will run into problems at work. Some of those problems can be conquered with creative solutions.

Being Creative

When it comes to creativity, there is no shortage of quotes and anecdotes about what creativity is, and how to be creative. Here are just a few. Maybe you haven’t thought much about creativity. Or maybe you don’t think of yourself as a creative person. If you’d like to be more creative, the question becomes, can you? How do you begin to get those creative juices flowing? We decided to look a little bit deeper into a couple of quotes about creativity to find out.

Pablo Picasso – The Artist

Pablo Picasso said that, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” The truth of this is easy to see. This line of thinking suggests that we all start out as creative, and some of us lose the inclination as we age. It’s no secret that children lack many of the inhibitions we slowly age into. This leaves kids able to explore and make mistakes without the fear of what others may think. Often too, with the rules of the world coming into focus as we get older, our imaginations can dwindle. Children are the most inventive because they don’t care what the rules are.

Leo Burnett – The Business Man

Leo Burnett started one of the worlds most successful advertising agencies. He said this about creativity. “Curiosity in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” They say that curiosity is a cat killer, but Leo Burnett suggests that being curious, asking questions, and investigating why things are they way they are is the secret to creativity. Looking at any small thing and wondering about it gets your thoughts moving and looking for ways something can be done differently.

Albert Einstein – The Genius

Perhaps the most famous smart guy ever, Albert Einstein said that, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” The key takeaway from this sounds like it should be the “having fun” part, but I think the focus should be on the bit about intelligence. A common phrase among writers is to write what you know. This old adage suggests that you must know your subject before you write about it. The same is suggested by Albert Einstein, to be creative, you must first have the intelligence, and then you can have fun with it.

So Turn on Your Creativity

If you’re faced with a problem at work, or you’re just looking to turn you on your creative faucet, follow the advice of these three. Leave your inhibitions behind and don’t focus on what you think is possible. Always be curious about the situation. Ask questions and poke and prod at a thing, no matter how small it may seem. Finally, learn about stuff. Learn everything you can about the problem at work, or whatever interests you. Then let that intelligence play around.

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Do You Choose Comfort or Do You Choose Challenge?

Do You Choose Comfort or Do You Choose Challenge?

Let’s imagine two people at the beginning of their careers. Both start in an entry level position with basically the same qualifications. Both say they aspire to one day become head of a corporation.

 

Easier vs. harder

Both are presented with the opportunity to take on a new challenging role. Neither are particularly qualified for it.

 

Person A decides they’d prefer to stay where they are for a little longer and get more comfortable in their present position before taking on something quite that challenging.

 

A little nervous, Person B decides to take the chance anyway. Person B. doesn’t do all that well in the role. They realize they need to expand their skills in XYZ. They take the opportunity to seek out and shadow people with XYZ skills.

 

Consistent choices

Over the course of their careers, Person A and Person B are given the opportunity to take on extra work. Person A will generally choose to go home at the end of the work day and relax or hang out with friends. Rather than do that, Person B will generally choose to take on the extra responsibilities.

 

Person B will consistently put themselves in slightly uncomfortable situations in the name of testing what they’re made of and expanding their bounds.

 

It’s obvious where this is going. Person A always chooses the comfortable option. They won’t become head of a company, but it turns out when it came down to it, all that talk about possibilities was in actuality just talk.

 

Person B generally chooses to push out of their comfort zone. Even if they’re afraid of failing they try anyway. The shallow end of the pool is safe, but it holds no interest for them. There’s a big blue ocean out there. There’s no telling what they’re going to find in that ocean, what dangers may be lurking in its depths or what beauties, but they are determined to find out.

Person B may or may not become head of a corporation, but they will certainly have made way for the possibility!

Why A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Why A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Everyone knows, if you want to remember something you should write it down.  But did you know an even better way to establish something in your memory is to draw a picture? In a study from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology participants were asked to remember a particular word by writing it down and by drawing it. Later when asked to recall the words, people remembered the ones they drew better than the ones they wrote down.

 

No art skills necessary

The other interesting thing was memory was boosted not only for words, but for concepts, ideas, imaginings. The drawing doesn’t even have to be good, it just needs to be enough to jog the memory. Something drawn in ten seconds or less will do the trick!

 

Your relationship with the visual

The reason drawing something creates such a strong bond is because in order to draw it, you have to focus on the thing you want to remember much harder than you would if you were simply writing the word down. You have to imagine how you’re going to draw it, and then take the time to draw it. Writing is automatic, but for most of us drawing is more involved and engaging.

 

People remember visuals more readily than words

Go ahead and try it yourself. Make a list of ten things you want to remember three days from now. Write down five of them and draw a picture of the other five and see which ones produce the better recall.

 

Drawing is something just about everyone enjoyed doing as a kid. Now it’s time to start enjoying it all over again as an adult. Take advantage of the benefits of drawing pictures as a memory aid and bring a little more art into your life!

Been Asked To Write Your Own Performance Evaluation?

Been Asked To Write Your Own Performance Evaluation?

Performance evaluationss are a part of every job. In general, the review is given to us, but sometimes we are asked to give a self-review.

 

Some people will jump at the chance to weigh in on how they’re doing. Others find the whole prospect so intimidating they’d rather pass on the review altogether.

 

If you’re in group B, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

 

What should you include?

Remember, even if you’ve been asked to do a self-review it doesn’t mean the powers that be don’t already have a clear picture of how you’ve been doing. They know what they think. They want to see what you think, so be honest. Talk about what you did well and where you fell short. Also talk about what you learned and ways you see to improve.

 

Questions to ask yourself

If you don’t know where to start here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

What aspects of your job do you enjoy? Why?

Is there an accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

Is there anything where you feel you missed the mark entirely?

What new things have you learned?

Are there things you would have done differently in retrospect?

Where do you feel you could use improvement?

Are there new skills you feel you need to acquire to better do your job?

 

Be professional

If you don’t think your boss or co-workers are doing a good job, now is not the time to bring it up. Focus on what you have done/plan to do. Don’t finish the review and hand it in immediately. Sit on it overnight. Read it again in the morning with fresh eyes to ensure everything is grammatically correct and you’ve included everything you wanted to include.

 

The benefits of a self-review

Even if you’re not thrilled at the prospect of doing a self-review, it is an opportunity to actually scrutinize what and how you’ve been doing. It’s one thing to passively listen to someone else tell you how you’ve been doing, it’s another to spend time determining it for yourself. Once you’ve done an honest self-evaluation you can take steps to improve where you need improving. You can set goals and make plans for what you want to do going forward.

 

Keep track of your accomplishments

Whether you are ever asked to write your own performance evaluation or not it’s a great idea to keep track of your accomplishments as you go. Not only are you keeping yourself on track, but if a self-assessment should come up, you don’t have to scrounge for examples of what you’ve been doing. You already have a list!

“What Sets You Apart From Other Job Candidates?”

"What Sets You Apart From Other Job Candidates?"

You are sitting there in your job interview and things are going well. You are qualified for the job, you’ve developed a rapport with the interviewer, you believe you can be an asset to this company.  The thing is there are ten other candidates interviewing for this position with just about the same qualifications. The interviewer has to determine what sets you apart from the pack. There’s a good chance he or she will come right out and ask – What makes you unique?

 

Don’t underestimate the importance of this question

If you’re not prepared for this question you might be inclined to go with the first thing that pops into your head. Something about your love of Fellini movies or a joke about never actually feeling unique because you are a twin.

 

Go deeper into your qualifications

This is not the time to try and wow the interviewer with unexpected answer or a joke, it’s time to double down with particulars of your qualifications. Get specific with details or anecdotes about your skills, or your experience. Talk about unique experiences you have had and how they will benefit your new employer. Or a situation where your skills made a difference either in a previous job or some other relevant aspect of your life. This is a good time to bring in numbers to back you up. With my X skill I was able to implement a time saving strategy that saved my co-workers Y hours a week.

 

Demonstrate how hiring you will make their lives better

Many people have similar qualifications. What is it about you that will make life in their location more productive/more pleasant/smoother. Are you particularly good at motivating others? Are you particularly adept at problem solving? Again don’t just say “I’m good at motivating others.” Put that statement into some sort of context with details to back it up.

 

The point here isn’t to toot your own horn about how great you are. It’s to talk about things you did that made a difference in previous situations. Let the interviewer conclude for themselves how great you are.

Move A Mountain One Stone At A Time

Move A Mountain One Stone At A Time

What is your ultimate goal? Go wild. Think of a mountain moving goal. If you could achieve anything what would it be? Assuming you went for that huge goal rather than something easily attainable, achieving it must feel nearly impossible. Of course, the mountain is impossible to move. But what about a stone? You could certainly move a stone. The key to achieving any goal is to step away from the overwhelming big picture and concentrate of the smaller things you need to do to get you there.

 

Now let’s say your goal isn’t actually mountain sized (even if it feels that way), but simply something you truly want to achieve.

 

Create a plan

Back to those stones. You don’t want to just go around moving them willy nilly. Although you might eventually make some headway, it won’t be as fast or efficient or helpful as if you have a plan. The way to achieve a long-term goal is by setting and achieving short term goals that get you from here to there. Write down everything you need to do, everyone you need to speak to, any courses you need to take, accomplishments you have to attain. What do you need to do first, second? Put them in order and set up a timeline for the completion of each.

 

To keep you motivated, your goals need to be attainable and relevant. They need to be SMART

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

 

Celebrate achievements along the way

On the way to achieving your long-term goal, you are achieving short term ones. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for those achievements. Reward yourself for a job well done. Give yourself reasons to feel good about yourself. Getting to the destination is great, but it’s also important to enjoy the sights along the way. To sometimes stop and take pictures and have a glass of wine in front of a job well done.

Keep Distractions At Bay Twenty Seconds At A Time

Keep Distractions At Bay Twenty Seconds At A Time

Sometimes you when you have a lot of things on your plate or one very important thing, you may find that the harder you WANT to concentrate, the more impossible distractions become to resist.

Many people believe the internet is the big problem so they try switching the WI-FI off for set periods of time. That is certainly a good start, but what happens when you need to check something on the internet? Like eating chips, it’s nearly impossible to stop at just one. You get the information you went in there to find then you check one more thing on Facebook or Twitter, and then two hours of distractions have sailed by.

Even if your internet is off, if you don’t make valiant efforts to vanquish the allure of distractions you will never be as productive as you say you want to be. However there is something very simple every single one of us can try to keep those distractions at bay.

Twenty Second Rule

The 20-second rule was created by positive psychologist Shawn Achor. In the course of his research, Achor discovered something interesting about the unassuming little twenty second increment of time.

By simply adding or subtracting 20 seconds to how long it takes to do something, a person can change their entire perception of the task.

Subtract 20 seconds

For example, if it normally takes you three minutes to make your lunch in the mornings, but you found a way to do it in 2 minutes and 40 seconds you’d be more inclined to go ahead and do it on a regular basis rather than choosing the lazy I’ll just buy my lunch route.

Twenty seconds isn’t a significant amount of time, but it’s enough to change your attitude about something.

Add 20 seconds

Which brings us to distractions. This time we’re going to add twenty seconds instead of subtracting them.

Let’s say you’re in the middle of writing a proposal or a letter – or whatever it is you do during the course of your day, and you get the urge to check your email or call your best friend or check to see if that sweater you’ve been keeping an eye on has gone on sale. Instead of following through on that urge like you usually do, just tell yourself, I’ll do it in twenty seconds.

That twenty seconds is often enough time to get you back on task and focused on the work at hand.