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.