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The Art of Thinking Without Constraints | Creative Trust

21 October 2019 by Marie-Claude Trudeau, Creativity Lecturer

“IMPOSSIBLE IS TEMPORARY” – MOHAMED ALI – What would our life be like if it were based on a status quo, if it were free of opportunities, small follies, the unexpected? Creativity is essential to everyone’s balance. It allows us to think differently, to open up to the unknown, to dream the impossible. Overcoming the fears that stifle our creativity will enable us to consider new horizons, to better accept uncertainty and to move into action mode in the face of dreams that may positively change our world or its surroundings.

Creativity, or the art of thinking differently, is like a muscle: it requires stimulation and continuous training. Here are some quick tips for introducing you to the world of the all possible.

IDENTIFY YOUR CREATIVE SCARS

Creativity is above all a matter of trust. We are all born creative and young children are the best example: they explore the world with a new perspective, without trying to be “normal” or have the right answer. For them, a pot can be as much a hat as a musical instrument, which makes us laugh. On the other hand, our outlook would be different if we saw an adult reflecting the same way as a child! Almost all of us have experienced one or more episodes where another person has judged our creative vision of a situation. Consider the embarrassment and ridicule felt as a child when we realized that Santa Claus did not exist. The accumulation of these small “scars” inherited from childhood or acquired in adulthood had an impact on your creative confidence. They need to be identified so that they can be set aside.

DETERMINE YOUR “CREATIVE MOMENTS”

Stress, fatigue and performance inhibit creativity. Avoid putting pressure on yourself to be creative. Monitor your routine and identify moments when ideas flow, and your mind is more open. For some, it’s the first few minutes before getting up, when the brain is between the mists of slumber and the reality of the morning. For others, it happens in the shower, during a car ride, while walking… or during a visit to the spa!

INDULGE YOURSELF AND FIND THE EXTRA IN THE ORDINARY

Are you familiar with the art of serendipity? It is this exceptional ability to see the extraordinary and the magic in the unexpected. Required to feed your little athletes in the car to get to the soccer game on time? Transform this constraint into a magical moment for your children by renaming it “picnic in the car” and adding a catchy song. Chances are, this unique event will be among the happy memories of their childhood they will remember!

CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN BY AIMING FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE

With the constant pressure to do more with less, to go faster, to be more efficient, our brain has developed “shortcuts,” especially by repeating the same gestures or thought structures in similar situations. Which is why thinking differently and suggesting new ideas is often difficult. One of the best ways to signal to your brain into creative mode is to think without constraints, as if all is possible, imagining ideas that are unrealistic and impossible. Starting from this point in your thinking, you will consider some unique elements that you might not otherwise have explored.

TRY ON SOMEONE ELSE’S GLASSES

Do you have trouble thinking outside the box? Are you a little uncomfortable proposing fresh ideas? Use the straightforward technique of putting on someone else’s glasses to think differently about a situation. What would your favourite author, an inspiring speaker, a senior executive known for being outspoken, propose to you? Choose people, famous or otherwise, whom you perceive as having a different view of the world and, through them, make suggestions that you would have “naturally” less evoked. Result? An expanded range of possibilities.

Finally, make creativity a way of life. Focus on moments in which you feel confident and empowered creatively. The possibilities are endless: some stimulate their creativity in the kitchen, others in the garden, doing crafts with children, finding unusual solutions at work, renovating the house. What activates your creativity the most?

“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”

– Abraham Maslow

A LITTLE EXERCISE: IN FIVE YEARS, I WOULD LIKE TO…

 Shake yourself up and think differently about your destiny. Dream of all the possibilities, without constraints or judgment, and implement the five tips presented. Let yourself be surprised and find the extra in the ordinary. Visualize your usual routine and imagine ways to bring a little magic to it. Think about your life as if you had no professional, family or financial constraints: what would you do if anything was possible?

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