Are You Creative?

Do you consider yourself creative? Some people do. Artists, writers, dancers for example.
The truth is, however, that all of us are creative. Creativity is a capacity we all have. It comes with the package, so to speak.
It's the human ability to imagine new things and have new ideas.
Our creative imagination is "always on" (that's why new ideas just suddenly pop into our heads), but we don't often harness it to address problems or to innovate.
Way back in 1926, in his book The Art of Thought, writer Graham Wallas gave us a beautifully simple and elegant process model for creative thinking that, to me, seems timeless:
In phase one, called Preparation, we tee up our creative capacity by selecting a problem or a topic, then gathering some data, doing some reading or research.
Next, in Incubation, we walk away and put our focus elsewhere. Go for a walk, as Einstein was famous for doing. Take a nap. Or just do something else. In this phase, you are distracting yourself from the focal problem so that your mind can go to work on ideas and solutions.
Illumination is the phase where the mind delivers its outputs, often in the form of words, images, ideas. These outputs are not always fully formed solutions, but are frequently bits and pieces that we experience with a 'eureka' feeling.
In the Verification phase, we put it together somehow, perhaps making a prototype, and we share it with others for feedback. This phase tests the idea, sometimes resulting in support for further development, other times not.
In 1981, I wrote this poem:
To create is to change
To be creative is to be changeful
full of change
is to be changeable
able to change

The Creator expects change
courts change

Creators open up
become soft
permeable
their boundaries loosen

Creators seek the Unknown
the Ambiguous
the Clash of conflicting waves
& keep an open mind
without closing doors
too soon

Creators play around
like kids
juggling elements
stewing ideas
cooking up the Impossible
then having a taste

& Creators get lucky
sometimes
& give birth
naturally

Then down from the hilltop they come
Speaking
breathlessly

Terrence Seamon, poet, coach, and change agent. Follow him on twitter@tseamon

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