From increasing happiness to building career skills, there are many reasons to be creative. But creativity, by definition, is fraught with uncertainty. That is, whether we can come up with ideas, bring them to life, and how they are received. Uncertainty causes anxiety. To effectively confront this creative anxiety, you need to know what to expect and what behaviors and strategies to use to enhance your creativity.
In the first post of this series, we covered what you need to know to build your creative potential. In this post, we discuss lessons on what we can do.
willing to take risks
Creativity is dangerous. We face the risk of not being able to do what the creative task or project asks of us. Do teachers appreciate student work? Do supervisors approve projects or allocate resources to creative projects? Do literary, musical, or other critics appreciate our work? Will viewers love, ignore, or hate our work?
Creativity involves accepting intellectual risks (e.g., learning new skills when needed) and social or reputational risks (e.g., pursuing unconventional or unpopular ideas) Willingness is required. However, creative individuals are better suited to risk-taking rather than risk-seeking. Instead of taking risks for the thrill of it, they are taking risks to achieve something specific. Increased creativity requires taking calculated risks. The risk of deviating from conventional approaches to problems while balancing viable goals.
open your mind to new experiences
The number one question when I introduce myself as a researcher of creativity is how do I come up with new and original ideas? The great Leonardo da Vinci put it so well: , dresses and other endless objects. These confusing lines have the inventive geniuses excited about new endeavors. ”
What Leonardo described is part of what psychologists call openness to experience. People differ in how natural it becomes to view the world with curiosity and wonder, to enjoy flights of fancy and imagination, to seek connections between seemingly disparate ideas and topics, and to seek diversity in experience. (as opposed to wanting routine comfort). There is quite a genetic component to our tendency to be more or less open to new experiences, but it can also be driven by our behaviors and educational experiences that make our world bigger. I have.
When you take your mind off your tight schedule and create space to daydream and go down the rabbit hole of your curiosity, you can connect ideas, ask new questions, and become a more original thinker. There is a nature. To do this, we must reject the cultural pressure (at least part of it) to always be fully productive and give ourselves permission to explore, whether or not we have immediate goals in mind. I have. You are more likely to come up with new and original ideas.
think of multiple ideas
Most of us have probably attended a brainstorming session. These sessions typically begin with a prompt about a problem or task, asking participants (such as members of a work team) to submit ideas. In most cases, this task only takes a few minutes. Ideas come quickly (3 minutes!). So it’s not surprising that the more ideas people generate, believing that their first idea is the best, the lower the quality.
The truth is just the opposite. If you say, “I’m ready, go!” In a brainstorming session, you want to start coming up with ideas quickly without annoying delays. Naturally, the first idea tends to be the obvious one. They are based on strong associations in our minds, made many times before by seeing the connections between objects and ideas. will be Obvious associations disappear and more difficult and original associations emerge.
For example, consider a common creativity exercise used in both research and training. Have students think of different uses for everyday items, such as tin cans, paperclips, and bricks. The first idea is general usage. Bricks can be used as building materials (walls, garden paths, etc.) or as heavy objects (doorstops, weapons, etc.). When you run out of those ideas, accept the uncomfortable “I don’t know if I can come up with anything else” annoyance, and if you keep thinking even though the ideas don’t flow seamlessly, you’ll find more and more original ideas (e.g. , grind). bricks to get colorful sand for art projects). The best way to deal with creative anxiety is to not run away from it.
Get better at managing emotions
Let’s face it, creativity is hard. We may start out enthusiastic and energetic, but then start questioning. Most of the time you will encounter frustration. Deadlines and assessments can get stressful and overwhelming. Or you feel confused and anxious about what to do when you don’t know what to do next. Left unmanaged, these emotions can rob and kill creativity.
Luckily, you can learn how to effectively manage your emotions using strategies. Building skills takes time and practice and cannot be achieved without setbacks. But it is possible. In a Yale University study of educators working to develop innovative teaching methods in their schools, one participant described how he or she coped with emotions when things got tough: said to Also, talk to your close friends about specific frustrations. Take time to catch your breath and relocate so you can reframe your perspective when needed. ”
This example shows two important things about managing emotions. First, some strategies tend to help, such as seeing support from someone you trust, considering different perspectives on the event that triggered your emotions (e.g., ray of hope, lessons learned from the situation, etc.), and mindful breathing. there is Second, it’s important to include multiple strategies in your toolkit. If one strategy doesn’t work, you have other options and more confidence that you can manage your emotions.
In my lab, we explored how the ability to manage emotions effectively helps creativity. We started by assessing creative potential, such as people’s desire for originality, their tendency to be curious, imaginative, and have unconventional ideas. We also asked the people who knew the study participants best if they were original and creative. Did. Those recognized as the most creative started out with creative potential. But even high creativity without the ability to solve emotionally charged problems had nothing to do with creativity. It helped me keep it going.
When you get stuck, rethink, adjust, and change course
Even if you have a creative idea, the challenge of realizing its potential still lies ahead. Creating something is by definition new and original, so there is no road map you can follow. Lack of progress (when we want and expect) or lack of success causes anxiety. What do we do?
In order to bring our ideas to life and turn them into tangible products and performances, we will need to adjust our approach and perhaps relaunch what we are doing. you even have to. This was the case when Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevsky set out to develop their tablet-based multiplayer game Fates Forever. The game won many awards but failed to attract many users. The founders realized how difficult it is to communicate with friends while playing games using existing apps and decided to make the in-game chat feature a standalone product. Adjusting the approach meant abandoning a game idea that the founders loved. and start something new. There was uncertainty about whether new ideas would work, which added to the anxiety and stress that the initial plan didn’t work out. But their willingness to learn and readiness to change course in the creative process ultimately led them to success.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called this process problem finding and considered it the most important part of the creative process. He watched art students create still lifes. All participants were given the same set of objects to choose from. His question was how do the most creative of them choose objects and create drawings. They were created by artists who spent a lot of time researching and examining them. They felt them and weighed them. They arranged some and then others. They added and removed objects.
Creative achievements ask us to live with a certain amount of anxiety. If you’re going to try something out of the ordinary, you have to tolerate a certain amount of uncertainty and risk. You never know what will happen with an idea. We have to experiment with ideas and possibilities for longer than we are comfortable. becomes less viable.