June 18, 2024


I Fall For Art

Metaphors Gone Wild: Cousins and Creativity

The desire to explore, the ability to see what isn’t here, and the willingness to move outside your comfort zone–these traits are kissing cousins. The same blood runs throughout their metaphoric veins. If you want to increase your CQ (creativity quotient), the first thing you must do is remind yourself that we are all capable of creativity. Those who walk around proclaiming “I’m just not creative” are dooming themselves to a life devoid of discovery. We can all express ourselves in a creative fashion. And, we can all develop our ability to do so.

Assess yourself: how willing are you to step outside your comfort zone–physically, emotionally, mentally? If you are restricting yourself to the same ol’, same ol’ that defines your life currently, you are probably not going to come up with any brilliant insights that will improve your life and/or the life of others.

Here’s one way to deepen your curiosity: Ask questions. Not any old questions, but those targeted to creativity-improvement. (Keep in mind what the Father of Modern Management Science, Peter Drucker, has to say about leaders: “Leaders know how to ask questions–the right questions.”) One good thought-provocative question is the “What if… ?” question.

Be playful at first, to get you (and others, as appropriate) into the explorative mode. “What if elephants could fly?” for example. You’ll think of thing such as “We’d need to start manufacturing really big diapers.”

Next, segue to more relevant questions: “What if we invited customers to a board meeting?” Or, “What if I decided to go to law school after all, despite being middle-aged?”Examine all the answers and then modify them to make them applicable to your own circumstances.

Getting things done implies a shift from the “good enough” to the “improved.” In fact, having a vision is one of the two most highly valued competencies defined by our government. But if vision is the art of seeing the invisible, as Jonathan Swift asserts, then visionary individuals accomplish no small feat as they imagine and then invent the future. Creativity is closely ability with such imagination, a quality Einstein himself says is more important than knowledge.

As you work toward reification of your vision, keep in mind the Japanese proverb that asserts vision without action is a daydream. And, action without vision is a nightmare. Ideally-as a result of your hard work-you will neither daydream nor have nightmares. Rather, you will put your vision of an improved life or an improved workplace into action by taking action.

Cockroaches do it and have been doing it for centuries. If, for example, a given roach discovers a new location that provides nourishment, he will leave a chemical trail the others will follow. All too often we as humans prefer to remain in our known comfort zones, rather than blaze new trails. Change is difficult for us humans. Need proof? Just Google “books about change,” and you will find nearly a half- billion entries.

Many believe that cockroaches will inherit the earth if humans should disappear because of a natural or man-made disaster. The insects change as circumstances warrant. Cockroaches exhibit remarkably cooperative behaviors and are willing to reorganize themselves to fit their circumstances. For example, when researchers placed roaches in spaces with limited capacities, they divided themselves equally among those spaces, rather than trying to squeeze all of the group in just one space. They seemed to willingly give up their territory when the physical conditions change.

Explore, imagine, change–in ways both large and small, you can create an improved future. You owe it to yourself.