Melvyn Tan
November 1, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

3 Key Ways To Increase Your Creative Capacity

[blockquote source=”Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)“]But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.[/blockquote] Be An Encourager In John Maxwell’s book, Be a People Person, there is a chapter on being an encourager and inspire others to excellence. One of the stories in […]

[blockquote source=”Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)“]But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.[/blockquote]

Be An Encourager
In John Maxwell’s book, Be a People Person, there is a chapter on being an encourager and inspire others to excellence.

One of the stories in the chapter was about an employee complaining about the working style of a co-worker:
[blockquote]An employee of a company complained about the working style of a fellow worker. He said that when the guy wasn’t casually walking around, he could be found sitting in his office, feet on the desk, gazing out the window. He saw his coworker’s laid-back behavior as a waste of the company’s money. The manager replied to his concern with: “His last idea was worth two million dollars to the company. If he only comes up with one idea like that each year, he’s worth his salary.”[/blockquote]

Applied Creativity
The key message behind this story is about encouraging applied creativity. Let’s examine the word creativity.

Born With It
Some people tend to get the idea that creative people are just naturally creative.  Give them an ordinary day-to-day object, and they’d be able to create something unique, appealing, and people want.  They see creative people as “born not made”.

Jobs Specific
Others may think that only certain types of work calls for creativity.  They might even go further to say that creativity is largely the domains of designers and advertisers.  You know, the people with the cool dressing and wear their hair differently.  They box up creativity to be only applicable for some people.

Sparks of Inspiration
Still others think that creativity is about having an epiphany during shower.  Ideas are the work of inspiration and sometimes it happens to you and sometimes it doesn’t.  Here, people like to think that the conditions with which creative ideas are conceptualised are highly mysterious.

Bad News
Now, when you think of the characteristics of creativity as one of the above-mentioned, it seems rather dismal.  If you are not born with it, then tough.  Too bad.  Life dealt you an unfair hand.  If your job doesn’t require you to be creative, then again, tough.  Too bad.  You are just supposed to do the work.  There is no need to be creative.  And lastly, if the conditions surrounding creative ideas are so mysterious, then its a case of chance.  Again, tough.

Good News
The good news is – this couldn’t be further from the truth.  First of all, we are all capable of being creative.  If in doubt, just look at any child.  They are all creative in their own ways.  Silly as it may seems (to us adults), time and again, it has been proven that every child can be creative.  Of course, as we become older, we tend to be more “realistic” and hence decide to take the safer path.

3 Key Ways
Now, that we have established that everyone are and can be creative, let’s look at the three key things you can do to increase your capacity to be creative.  And they are by no means voodoo.

Personal Growth
One of the key factors for anyone who wants to enhance their creative capacity is to ensure that they pay attention to their personal growth.  Our minds are just so fantastic that it is capable of making billions of associations.  By investing in personal growth, whether it be through reading, networking with people from different fields, or just being intentional in your learning, it will enable your brain to build new neural pathways.  With each new neural pathways, we will be able to make better connections and associations.  This is highly critical as one of key skills of a creative is to be able to synthesise.

Risk Taking
This probably sound like a cliche; in order to succeed one must take risks!  Yes, it does sound like a cliche, but what really means is to get you out of your comfort zone.  With any new endeavour, there will be some level of uncertainties.  And if you are unwilling to live with the uncertainties, then you will naturally fall back into the safe areas where you are certain what’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen.

Decisive Action
Now, after you have committed to personal growth and are willing to take on some risks, the next big step is to take decisive action and actually make it happen.  Sometimes these decisive action could be a small one (like I’m going to write a post three times a week for a start) or it could be a big one (like I’m going to completely eliminate all my current form of work by end of 2015).

Whatever the decision is, you’d need to know that there will be seasons of highs and seasons of lows.  And that’s why it is so important to be able to encourage each other on a daily basis.

Father, we thank You for all the skills and talents that You have endowed us with.  We pray that we will use these skills and talents wisely to be able to bring glory to Your Name.  Please watch over us and encourage us each day with Your Word as we strive to live each day with You top of mind.  We pray all these in Jesus name, Amen.