054 How to unleash your creative power

Creativity. Whether you think you have it or not, you are creative. And one of the keys to unlocking more margin in your life is to increase your creative power.


This week’s Inspire Me quote is from one of the most creative minds, Albert Einstein:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

In episode 50, Leary and Armin talked about the need to develop strategic margin. The key concept from that episode is that to increase margin, it’s more effective to increase personal power than decreasing load. This episode discusses the fourth of five ways to increase your personal power by increasing your creative power.

Creativity is giving yourself permission to play. We’re often so busy trying to manage our responsibilities that we don’t fall in love with an idea. Robert Fritz, in his book The Path of Least Resistance, says, “The reason you would create anything is because you love it enough to see it exist.” More often, we get infatuated with ideas, rather than making the commitment to love them.

Fritz goes on to describe two orientations that we may take: A “reactive/responsive” orientation that is motivated by our circumstances or a “creative” orientation that is motivated by the outcomes we desire to create. These are in opposition with one another. Those in the reactive/responsive orientation seek only the hows to survive their situation, whereas those in the creative orientation seek the whats or the outcomes of what they want to create, regardless of their circumstances.

Back in Episode 44: The art of self promotion, Leary and Armin introduced the creativity cycle. They elaborate on it further in this episode:

  • Curation. This is the stage where you gather input from a variety of sources. Reading widely helps to foster the development of what Steven Johnson calls “liquid networks.” He further writes, “The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.” That’s curation.
  • Cultivation. In this stage you add your unique perspective, experience, skills to the parts you’ve gathered. Journaling is one of the best ways to cultivate an idea.
  • Communication. Don’t keep your work hidden. Putting it out there, even when it’s raw, completes the cycle and gives you more to curate. As G.K. Chesterton puts it, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” A distinguishing characteristic of creative genius is immense productivity.`

This week’s Challenge Me:

Consider the Creative Cycle above and score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is high, 1 is low. For Curation, ask yourself: Am I reading widely, meeting new people, learing new things? For Cultivation, ask: Am I taking time to evaluate, reflect and play with new ideas? For Communication, ask: Am I putting my work out there for others to respond to, learn from and offer feedback? Then for each score you gave yourself, decide what it would take to increase the score. Pick one thing to work on this next week.

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