The Courage of Creativity

Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got? Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman: Courage!

Cowardly Lion: You can say that again!

I hear a lot of people throwing around the word ‘creative’ as it is some sort of huge unconquerable mountain or some rare special quality that only a few possess that makes them worthy of a badge of honor -   “…but he is a creative genius”, “She is so much more creative then I am”, “you are creative, and I’m not”.

We are all creative. I doubt that anyone can go through a day without at least one original idea that breaks the barrier of what average folks would feel to be the norm -  "if only I could hook up an IV to the coffee machine, I could feel that sweet caffeine effect faster", "If dogs could take themselves out, then I wouldn't have to walk outside in the cold", "I wish that shirt had sleeves like that jacket", etc.

If you tell yourself your idea is nuts, or that others are going to view you as crazy, then you will resign yourself to walking the dog in the snow wearing a t-shirt half asleep at 6am every morning.

Being ‘creative’ isn’t difficult really – In fact, it comes naturally. BUT expressing those thoughts or ideas openly or producing something that is seen by others as innovative is where the tricky part comes in. That’s the part that takes a bit of bravery.

Here are some tricks that can help you find the courage and put a little hotness in your Hottentot.

  1. It’s sometimes cool to be 6 – Use your imagination and have fun: Think back to when you were a kid. You and your friends built a fort in your backyard. The thought never crossed your mind that if you picked up a stick, rode it around and called it your horse that you friends would think "Madness! What the crap is she talking about? A horse?  I'm not going to play that weirdo anymore!”. More then likely one of the other kids grabbed a stick too and told you their horse’s names were "Lightning" and "Joe".  There is some point as we are growing up where we’ve started to put limits on where our imagination might take us. Start to collect your proverbial “sticks” daily. Keep a file of those crazy creative ideas that you can refer back to at a moments notice. It never hurts to play around with ideas either. The more you play, the more confidence you will have and the more fun it will be too… and the more others will want to play too.
  2. Sticks and stones... so what! – Don’t worry about what others are going to think. You know that saying we tell kids when they come home crying 'cause "Jimmy called me a goofball" *insert wailing*. As adults we worry way too much about what others think of who we are or think of our ideas. Consider those innovators with the wild ideas that changed the world. You think they bothered worrying "omg! I can’t possibly suggest *insert your amazing idea here* because Jimmy is going to call me a Goofball". Screw Jimmy. If you believe that your creative idea has merit and knowing that it can better your personal situation, more then likely it can also help others also. If it fails, it fails, if you succeed – you now have the upper hand on your competitors. Jealous Jimmy and others who are openly verbal about what they think of you and your idea are probably wishing they thought of it first!
  3. Sheep are only good for wool and Greek food – Stand out in a crowd. There isn't anything wrong with following the trends, in fact it's pretty safe to have done your market research before any pitch and know what is in and what is out. However, it's a safe bet also that the next sales person your customer talks to has done the exact same research, will be pitching the same or similar products, and probably the same way. Don’t be a sheep. Take that pitch a step further. Don’t just suggest an idea - try awesome graphics or videos to make your ideas shine over the rest. And don’t be shy, push it a bit further. Layout a plan that might suggest how you can help them not only with this specific idea, but put some steps in place regarding how you can continue to help them in the future. This show of confidence will allow others to have the confidence in you.
  4. Be un-boring! – Be different! Let's set the scene... You are walking down a busy city street at lunch-time mid week. There are a blur of people filtering in and out of buildings, dressed general business attire. Suddenly a guy with a bright red mohawk catches your eye which shakes you out of your mid afternoon stupor. You watch him a moment out of curiosity. Back at work, you are catching up with your work mates and say "you would never believe the guy I saw today".  Good or bad, that guy has made an impression on you or you wouldn't have talked to others about him. Speaking as an artist, when we create memorable artwork that drives some sort of emotional response from our audience, we have succeeded. Offering a creative idea that totally breaks out of the ‘average box’ is more then likely leave more of an impression on your audience.  If you want to be memorable – suggest something you know is going to be different, new or even a little insane!  When others see your courage, they are more likely not to forget it.

A little courage regarding your creativity can go a long way. We are all ‘our own worst enemy’ sometimes when it comes to taking a step into the unknown. That fear of failure sets in and then BAM we are done.  But if you are not in a life and death situation trying to save the world from rabid flying monkeys, will it hurt to think outside the box a bit? Throw caution to the wind and try something new and who knows, you might just succeed and get your own badge of honor.

Article written by Tee Hamilton.