What thoughts come to mind when you think of the word creativity?
Take a minute now to make a list of your thoughts…
- ideas, ideas, ideas
- outside the box
- abstract thinking
- a happy little accident
- ah-ha moments
- (what thoughts did you come up with?)
“Creativity is a fundamental feature of human intelligence in general. It is grounded in everyday capacities such as the association of ideas, reminding, perception, analogical thinking, searching a structured problem-space, and reflecting self-criticism. It involves not only a cognitive dimension (the generation of new ideas) but also motivation and emotion, and is closely linked to cultural context and personality factors.”– Professor Margaret Boden from the University of Sussex
Some people always seem to be so creative, while others… well run-of-the-mill? Having a run a mill for over a decade, I grew to laugh at that expression – there was nothing farther from the truth. As a promoter of the soon to be formed Artisan Fiber Mill Network, more and more creatives in the vast expanse of the fiber space and beyond will revel in the fact that we have set our sights on pushing the realities of artistry and craftsmanship.
Is creativity just something you’re born with or are there habits you can form that will grow your creative muscles? Is creativity something that all of creation is latent with including us human beings? These are good questions to wrestle with. Can I grow my ability to think creatively? More importantly, how can I put those creative ideas into action?
In the world of craftsmanship, creativity is key. Stir inside the craftsman that desire to be an entrepreneur and forge a new business venture and his ability to be creative is at a premium. Every great business plan sees a problem and seeks to come up with a great way to solve it. That’s creativity! But what makes that solution a great one? How can the craftsman make sure that they don’t launch their idea half-baked?
Here are 6 things that we can do to grow our ability to be great creatives:
- investigate your problem – it’s one thing to know you have a problem, but do you understand that problem to its depths and at its core? Make that problem your intimate friend. Enjoy the quest, and embrace the mystery of the unknown. Study it. Research it. Invest in it your time, energy, resources, and network. Discover what makes that problem tick. This reality of taking action to learn about the nature of your problem will begin to bring it out of the shadows into the light of day. Set aside your best moments in the day… clear your desk… put your phone on silent… and give yourself 30 minutes dedicated to learning something new about your problem. Becoming a “creative” is a discipline – it takes diligent effort/work. Imagine that day when you are able to speak a beautiful eulogy that puts that problem to rest!
- bring in a fresh set of eyes – often times we need to have another perspective on the situation. We’re too close to it. We “can’t see the forest for the trees” as they say. Do you have someone in your life that thinks differently than you? Bring them in and explain to them what you’re seeing, sometimes just explaining it to someone else does the trick. Let them ask you questions and be a guide so to speak that will lead you deeper into your investigation of the problem. Often times as the conversation unfolds we find that they are able to give us insight from their own experiences that spark ideas and new questions.
- keep records/gather data – one of the great ways of bringing clarity to a problem is to bring definition to it through taking objective measurements. Sit down and write out a plan for a series of test that attacks the problem with slight variations. Then run those tests. Observe the process and the results and document them. Then take that data and chart it, see if you can find correlations between the “phenomena”. These tests are like turning the light on in a dark room. When the lights are off everything seems ominous and mysterious. But when the lights come on we can begin to more easily navigate our way around the room and see what needs to corrected.
- Organize and systematize what you do know – when we don’t have a clear strategy that we execute, everything seems more chaotic. The organization of a process brings structure. As the structure solidifies it becomes a sort of foundation upon which we can stand more firmly and begin to more easily see where the problems lie specifically.
- Love your process – things that are unknown, if left unknown, become areas in our workshop that create fear and anxiety. Perfect love casts out fear. We must determine that we love our craft. We must choose to love learning. We must seek out opportunities to discover something that we don’t yet understand and enjoy it. As a craftsman, we are students of our process.
- Reverse engineer your problem – when you encounter your problem, don’t get upset, instead, we upset the result. Take that result and deconstruct it. I remember often taking a yarn that I had created that had defects that I didn’t want in the final product. I would take the yarn and begin to undo it. I would take a similar yarn that had the same type of fiber in it and undo it too. I would look at what was the same and what was different. Then I would ask myself what would have caused that difference? Where in my process did I think that could have happened? Was there anything that I had done differently in the process between those two yarns? Did they have the length of fibers?
- Have a Bob Ross moment – it takes a true artist to make a “happy little accident” on purpose. We have to be confident in ourselves. Trying something that we wouldn’t normally do allows us to explore spaces we haven’t allowed ourselves to go to before. It pushes us to discover things about ourselves, our process, our equipment, our skills. These “happy accidents” challenge us to think outside the box and stumble onto something that can ignite new understanding. It’s okay to get a little crazy and be a little weird. Remember, we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.
The Master Crafted is determined to “inspire joy-filled business” in others. We know that there is a posture and a path from which joy springs. Joy is a choice. Maybe you’ve not considered it that way. Maybe it’s been easier to choose something other. But joy is a simple decision. I’m not suggesting that it is easy, but joy can be chosen. Bob Ross discovered the joy in painting and it mesmerized his audience. His calming voice as he described his methods inspired others to give creativity a chance.
Be encouraged. There is a deep abiding joy to be discovered in creativity. It is discovered as we walk out the disciplines of grace and humility. I believe that creativity is the muscle that attaches our “souls” firmly to the earth beneath us and allows us to walk out our destiny in Christ. Grace proclaims that there is space in our lives for the things that our pride rejects -crippling our God-given creative spirit. Humility confesses that God is a Master Craftsman and that we are His workmanship.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10