You have to think of yourself as a creative person, as a person who comes up with innovative ideas.
Consider this story: The management of an oil company knew that they had two different groups of engineers: They had creative engineers, and non-creative engineers. What they didn’t know was what set the two groups apart.
So they commissioned a team of psychologists to study what set apart their creative engineers from the less-creative ones. For three months they studied the engineers: their background, their educations, their emotions, their likes and dislikes, and so on. And they found the one thing that set the two groups apart: The creative engineers thought of themselves as creative, while the less creative engineers didn’t think they were creative. That’s it.
Why is that belief—that you’re a creative person—so important? Because, if you don’t think of yourself as being creative, you won’t put yourself into positions that require creativity. You don’t make yourself think creatively, to think playfully, to look for associations between diverse fields. You don’t ask “Why?” or “What if?”
The fact is that we were all born to be creative. Just spend some time playing with children, and you’ll see what I mean. Somehow, somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten how to be creative, what it feels like, and what it means.
Creativity is not an inborn trait, like hair or eye color, that you either have or you don’t. Creativity is a set of skills that anybody can learn and develop.
And that process begins with your mindset, with deciding that you are going to learn the skills of creativity and innovation.
Image credit: Gabor Kalman/Stock.xchng.