So many times when we think of creativity, we think of art, music, design, sculpture or photography. These are all fine examples of creativity that have been manifested. When we see artists, musicians and photographers produce good work (or any work for that matter), it is easy to classify these individuals as “creative.”
When we compare ourselves to these “creative” individuals, we sometimes get the feeling that we are not creative because we don’t always have anything to show for it.
Browsing the news on the Internet and talking to some friends of mine, it really struck me how all of us use our creativity every day at just about every moment. Here are a few examples:
- A man who completed his MBA in 2005 and was making six figures gets laid off in December of 2008. He decides to mow lawns for a living, has over 30 customers and is making roughly $45,000 a year. He works long, hard hours but manages to stay afloat in these challenging times. His decision to do something many people consider “beneath” them is a simple act of creativity in order to make ends meet.
- Saturday in the Smith household is considered “pancake day.” Every week Mrs. Smith, the hardworking mother of two follows the directions on the pancake mix: 2 cups of pancake mix, one cup of milk, two eggs. One Saturday, however, Mrs. Smith decides to add cinnamon, chopped walnuts and a small dash of vanilla extract to the mix. The family is surprised by the tweak to the pancake recipe and they love it. Mrs. Smith’s creative twist to the recipe has made an ordinary Saturday breakfast memorable for her family.
- A very successful salesman has been out of work for more than a year. He has spent considerable time making calls, networking, sending out resumes and creating his profile on various social media tools. In doing his research, he discovers a company overseas that does not have a presence in the United States. Instead of a resume, he submits a marketing plan that details how this company could expand into the U.S. After several meetings, the salesman is hired to help the company expand into the U.S. market.
- A recent college graduate aspires to be a director and producer of television commercials. He knows that one way he can get his foot in the door is to get hired as a production assistant (essentially a go-fer). Because the industry is so competitive, even getting a job as a production assistant can be difficult. In his cover letter to various production companies he offers to work for free for three days instead of the usual rate of $150 per day. He knows that once he can demonstrate his resourcefulness, that companies will soon want to hire him. He gets hired as an unpaid production assistant, which leads to additional paid opportunities and hasn’t looked for work since. He knows that he is on the right track to eventually becoming a television commercial director.
The above stories are all examples of problems and situations that we encounter all the time. These stories also involved varying amounts of skill, determination and creativity in order to stand out and be a little different… but usually they don’t involve paints, chalk or even crayons. All of us encounter roadblocks and challenges along our daily paths…and all of us have the opportunity to use a little creativity and tenacity to get past these problems. Sometimes the solution is just a matter of a slight tweak, a different approach to the way we do something.
How about you…have you used your creative problem solving skills to get past any obstacles recently? Have you made any recent changes to your “usual routine?”
Creative commons photo by laffy4k.