Creativity Tip #7: Control Freaks Not Welcome!

Creativity. We can play with it. We can enjoy it. We can experience it. We just can’t – and shouldn’t – control it. But we want to!

Individuals love to control things. That’s usually when we get into trouble. Creativity doesn’t respond well to control. In fact, when we try to control everything, we stifle creativity.

Shame on us! We should know better, but some of us don’t.

As noted in a previous Creativity Tip, one doesn’t manage creativity (let alone control it); one manages for creativity.

Creativity, somewhat like a child, flourishes in an environment that encourages innovative thought – and the time in which to do it. Nobody gets ahead in a scenario that screams “I need a creative idea and I need it in five minutes, and, oh yeah, it better be a damn good one!” Sadly, that’s an environment that does exist. It probably hails from a mindset of fast thinking – most of the time.

Men in general, research suggests, tend to have this mindset; they feel they need to make decisions instantly. Women, not so much.

Here’s where we tend to get into trouble. By putting an unrealistic time parameter on devising a “creative” idea (I’m not talking about brainstorming, here), one tries to control the creative process. The opposite is usually the result. Creativity is stifled.

What happened to allotting time for quiet, contemplative thinking? Now, I’m not talking about going into a room, sitting in the corner and contemplating one’s naval for two hours. Sometimes our “quiet time” is no more than 30-minutes (if not less). Still, without this time to gather one’s thoughts and even put them in some sort of context, we’re short circuiting our creative process, and the end result.

Women, in general, are better at this contemplative thinking because they tend to mull things over more than men do. Now, obviously, one size does not fit all. I know several men and women who would turn these findings on their head. I, too, don’t usually make instant decisions, but it depends upon what I’m deciding.

When we slow down the fast thinking and spend more time in the contemplative state, our creativity will flourish and the end results will be much better.

But, do we have the courage to do that?

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