How to Harvest The Power Of Creative Thinking
To be the best leaders in our business possible, and for that matter the best leaders of our lives, we need to constantly grow and learn new things. A powerful tool that we all use, even though we might not be consciously aware of it is creative thinking. Within the framework of personal growth, creative thinking is all about finding new and better ways to do the things we currently do.
In my last post I wrote about a process that can help us start thinking about how to increase productivity and profitability in our business. Similarly to our business, we need to make sure that we, as the leaders, apply a process or start habits that help us be more productive.
Personal growth is not a one-time event, it’s a way of life. And the more we can embrace creative thinking as a helpful tool, the easier it will be for us to identify areas of growth. Here are four strategies to help you harvest the power of creative thinking:
1. Ask: “How Can I do Better?”
The first step to stimulate creative thinking is to challenge status quo. Don’t be satisfied with how things currently are. Always ask: How can I do what I am doing better? How can I be more efficient? How can I satisfy my customers and vendors better? How can I improve relationships?
When you ask those questions, don’t just ask them for the sake of asking them. Write your ideas down on a note pad or carry a little notebook. It’s important to capture ideas. How often did you have a great idea, but then forgot it a day later? When we capture ideas in writing, we make a statement that we are open and receptive to new possibilities. We are ready to listen!
I have a special pad that is completely dedicated to things I want and need to remember. At the end of every day I briefly scan through them to see if anything needs to go into action. And once a week I completely debrief the pad.
2. Believe It Can Be Done
At one of my workshops I asked the participants if they thought it was possible to increase the profits of their business by 1000% within the next year. Immediately people started talking about that it would literally be impossible and gave many reasons why – structure of their business, profit margins, capacity, economy, etc. I expected that kind of response.
Then I asked them to absolutely believe (just for this exercise) that it would be possible for them to grow their business by that much. After a couple minutes participants would start to share ideas about how they could possibly make such a growth happen.
The point of the exercise was not to come up with ideas of how to increase profits by 100%, but rather to show how the mind works: If you believe something is impossible, your mind will justify your believe with valid reasons. If you believe it can be accomplished, your mind will get to work figuring out how it can get done.
The lesson here is to use your mind wisely, do waste your efforts trying to approach a challenge with the belief that it can’t be done. All you will get are reasons why it in fact can’t be done. Rather approach challenges with a belief that there is a solution to the challenge and that you can find a solution. You’d be amazed at how creative you are!
3. Be Receptive To New Ideas
The true potential of creative thinking is in the collaboration of minds. Napoleon Hill discussed the benefits of a mastermind group extensively in his book “Think And Grow Rich.” If you are up against a challenge in your business or your life, don’t try to tackle it all by yourself. Reach out for help and you will see that you can come up with much better solutions than if you were trying to figure things out by yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you should just act on other people’s input, but at least be open and receptive to new ideas and perspectives. Still, you have to make the final decision, but it will be a much better educated decision if you let other people partake in the process.
4.Capacity Is A State Of Mind
I love this statement. Simply said, “How much we can do depends on how much we think we can do.” As I said earlier, if we really believe we can do something, our mind will get to work figuring out solutions on how we can actually do it. Robert Allen said, "Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone."
When we really believe we can do more, our mind thinks creatively and starts figuring out how we can do more. Often times big opportunities in our lives are concealed as requests to do more and our tendency is to say, “I am already too busy. I can’t take on one more thing.”
But for people who use their mind creatively to figure out how they can do more, these opportunities can catapult them forward in their lives, their business or career.
Continually set higher standards for yourself and continually look to become more efficient and effective. If you start practicing some of the strategies above you will be well on the road to great success.