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by Nir Bashan | August 14, 2020

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To be more creative with our work and careers, we don't need to spend a penny. We don't need to buy new equipment, hire additional staff, or make expenditures of any kind. The truth is we have all that we need to be more creative—all of us have creativity deeply ingrained in our beings.

However, most of us have lost our sense of creativity. It was rooted out of us by schools, society, and the framework of the world’s love affair with analytics. We traded creativity for what we thought was more “serious stuff.” The spreadsheet logic. The love of data. The channels and rigors we create for ourselves in the analytical world are almost too strong to break.

The good news is awakening creativity—reawakening it, really—can be as easy as embracing three personality traits we already have. Here are the three key building blocks of the Creator Mindset.

1. Humor

Somewhere along the way we lost the importance of humor (and joy) in the workplace. Today, we’re so bogged down by analytics and, heaven knows, we lean on them hard. The analytical mindset will save our businesses from this Covid-19 pandemic. The analytical mindset will help us shelter in place while the economy, hopefully, someday, picks back up. Or so we tell ourselves time and time again. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth. 

In times like these, humor can be a saving grace. Humor not only makes it more enjoyable to solve problems but also makes us more vulnerable and approachable, helping to unlock our creativity. In today’s world, we need humor more than ever. When looking at problems with humor, we find permission to lighten our loads, and, in that little bit of ease, we awaken creative opportunity. 

2. Empathy

Empathy is a creative tool that can elicit wondrous potential to solve problems that analytics can never provide. Yet today in business, it’s the exception, not the rule. What’s going on here? Why are we, in the workplace, more pathetic than empathetic? 

Empathy creates potential creative problem solving because it allows us to really feel what it is that people are experiencing—in the way that they experience it, not in the way we think they experience it. It’s a critical tool to get us into a creative mindset.

3. Courage

Perhaps the most difficult to embrace of these three unlikely tools for developing a creative mindset is courage. To get into a creative mindset, we need a heaping dose of courage to let go. We need courage to recognize what we’re doing wrong and then more courage to try something new to fix it.

It takes courage to listen to the right sides of our minds when the left sides have been screaming at us for most of our lives to analyze, analyze, and analyze some more. And it takes courage to admit that we may have made a mistake—and that sometimes a fresh start is called for.

A final note

Humor, empathy, and courage are among the strongest tools of the creative mindset. They allow for continual, steady, sustainable creative growth. And they don't cost a penny. Anyone can use these tools, and they're available to use right now. Embracing them will enable you to find creative solutions to problems that analytics alone can't solve.

Nir Bashan is the founder and CEO of The Creator Mindset LLC, where he teaches business leaders how to harness the power of creativity to improve profitability, increase sales, and make work more meaningful. His clients include AT&T, Microsoft, Ace Hardware, NFL Network, EA Sports, and JetBlue. He received a Clio Award and an Emmy nomination for his creative work on albums, movies, and advertisements, and was one of the youngest professors ever selected to teach graduate courses at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about his work in his new book, The Creator Mindset: 92 Tools to Unlock the Secrets to Innovation, Growth, and Sustainability (McGraw-Hill; August 2020).

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