Importance of Creativity in Times of Crisis

We are living through unprecedented and challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic is going to bring many long-term changes to our lives, businesses, economy, and for some of us “what is really important in life”. There are many unknowns and uncertainties ahead, but one thing I know for sure is that we will make it through. Not only we will make it through, we will come out stronger on the other side.


If you read history, this is not the first time we have faced this type of challenge. There have been many pandemics, wars, economic collapses, depressions, and market cycles but we, as a human race collectively, always manage to come out stronger after every calamity. The reason why we bounce back is the power of human creativity. I am a strong believer of human ingenuity – our ability to think, reflect, collaborate and come up with novel solutions that make us even stronger and better. This is the one quality that sets us apart from all other life form on earth. It is the number one reason why we, humans, has come to dominate the planet in a blink of an eye. We are at the top of the pyramid because we are creative.


Unfortunately, creativity is also a very misunderstood skill. If you ask people “what come to mind when you hear the word creativity”, they will invariably say things like painting, sculpture, music, theater etc. Most people subconsciously associate creativity with disciplines of arts. But this is a very limiting and, in many ways, a very misleading view of creativity. This narrow view of creativity is the number one reason why many people fail to realize their creative potential.

Creativity is “use of imagination to do things differently.” Creativity is always very intentional and purposeful. Artists use imagination to find new ways to portray their subject, similarly scientists use imagination to find new ways to solve the problems, doctors use imagination to find cures, engineers use imagination to build stronger and more powerful machines, and lawyers use creative argument to persuade jury. Creativity is a very uniquely human trait. Our brains are wired to imagine and invent things. Imagination is as innate to us as speech or sight. So, if you can imagine, you are creative. Regardless whether you are an artist, scientist, engineer, doctor, lawyer, frontline worker, farmer, accountant, analyst, or any other profession, you can find creative ways to solve problems. Invention of light bulb was as creative as the portrait of Mona Lisa.

Creativity also plays a vital role in personal success. Let me give you the secret to success: your success, your net worth, your accomplishments are directly proportionate to your ability to solve problems creatively. All of us face problems – in our personal and professional life. We face problems in simple tasks like driving to work and we face even bigger problems when we get to work. As a matter of fact, you are hired to solve problems. Future Job Report published by Word Economic Form ranks Problem solving, Critical Thinking and Creativity as the top three desired skills in the workforce. People who succeed by leaps and bounds are those who combine all three and find creative solutions to everyday problems. These people advance in career, create successful businesses and produce noteworthy works of art. More creatively you solve a problem – more handsomely the world rewards you for it.

COVID-19 crisis had expose us to a new set of problems. Scientists are racing against the clock to develop accurate tests and preventative vaccines. Those of us who are not in the field of medicine, we are facing very different challenges. We need human creativity and ingenuity more than ever. It all starts with you recognizing that you have more creative potential than you think.

Creative thinking is a skill and just like any other skill, it can be developed. In my next post, I will share some tools to sharpen your creative thinking skills. In the meantime, stay well and healthy.

Advancing Your Career: Traits of High Performance Employees

Individuality

“I am stuck in my career”
“My boss does not appreciate my work”
“Why did that person get the promotion and not me?”

Have you ever had these feelings? I did. And millions others feel that way every day. Psychologists consider it to be the leading factor of anxiety and stress at modern workplace.

I struggled with these emotions at different stages of my career, and found my answers the hard way. I wish someone had mentored me when I was struggling with these emotions. I wish I knew what I am about to share with you now. I made my journey from an assembly line employee to Vice President of an established company. The process took me about 15 years and taught me a lot of valuable life lessons. Even though this article is driven by a research study, it reflects my thoughts and learning from my own career journey. My intent is to help you figure out what you should be doing so that you are not at the mercy of your boss, but rather your boss is having to figure out ways to keep you engaged. Continue reading

Happiness, Zen and the Art of Success

Imagine a scene: A village in a third world country, a group of boys playing soccer in a dusty patch of ground. A small skinny boy, bare feet, bruised knees, covered in dust, is guarding the goals and looking at his team mates chasing the ball; and dreaming of success.

Pause for a minute and think of what this boy is dreaming.

Another scene: In the heart of Silicon Valley, a beautiful corner executive office with ceiling high windows and a nice view. The occupant is looking out the window, gauging at neighboring office buildings; and dreaming of success.

Pause for a minute and think of what this man is dreaming.

What do they have in common? What are they dreaming?

All human beings have an innate desire to be unique and admired by others. The drive to be successful is one of the many aspirations fueled by this desire. Continue reading