The desire to explore, the ability to see what’s not here, and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone – these traits are cousins who kiss. The same blood runs through his metaphorical veins. If you want to increase your CQ (creativity coefficient), the first thing you should do is remind yourself that we are all capable of creativity. Those who walk around proclaiming “I’m just not creative” are condemning themselves to a life without discovery. We can all express ourselves creatively. And we can all develop our capacity to do so.
DO YOU WANT TO EXPLORE?
Assess yourself: how willing are you to step out of your comfort zone, physically, emotionally, and mentally? If you are restricting yourself to the very thing that defines your life today, you probably won’t come up with brilliant ideas that will improve your life and / or the lives of others.
Here’s one way to deepen your curiosity: ask questions. They are not old questions, but those aimed at enhancing creativity. (Note what the father of modern management science, Peter Drucker, has to say about leaders: “Leaders know how to ask questions, the right questions.”) A good thought provoking question is the “What if …?” Question.
Be playful at first, so that you (and others, as appropriate) go into exploration mode. “What if elephants could fly?” for instance. You will think of things like “We would have to start making really big diapers.”
Then move on to more relevant questions: “What if we invite clients to a board meeting?” Or, “What if, after all, I decided to go to law school, despite being middle-aged?” Review all the answers and then modify them to make them applicable to your own circumstances.
DO YOU HAVE A VISION?
Getting things done involves a change from “good enough” to “improved.” In fact, having a vision is one of the two most valued competencies defined by our government. But if vision is the art of seeing the invisible, as Jonathan Swift claims, then visionary individuals accomplish no small feat when they imagine and then invent the future. Creativity is closely related to ability with such imagination, a quality that Einstein himself says is more important than knowledge.
As you work towards the reification of your vision, keep in mind the Japanese proverb that vision without action is a dream. And action without vision is a nightmare. Ideally, as a result of your hard work, you will not daydream or have nightmares. Rather, you will put your vision of an improved life or an improved workplace into action by taking action.
CAN YOU MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
Roaches do and have been doing it for centuries. If, for example, a certain cockroach discovers a new location that provides it with food, it will leave a chemical trail that the others will follow. Too often, as human beings, we prefer to stay in our known comfort zones, rather than blazing new trails. Change is difficult for us humans. Do you need proof? Just Google “books on change” and you’ll find nearly 500 million entries.
Many believe that cockroaches will inherit the earth if humans disappear due to a natural or man-made disaster. Insects change as circumstances require. Cockroaches exhibit very cooperative behaviors and are willing to rearrange themselves to suit their circumstances. For example, when the researchers placed roaches in spaces with limited capacities, they divided themselves equally between those spaces, rather than trying to squeeze the entire group into one space. They seemed to voluntarily give up their territory when physical conditions changed.
CREATE A NEW REALITY
Explore, imagine, change – in both big and small ways, you can create a better future. You owe it to yourself.