There’s a great line in Alice in Wonderland when the Queen says, “Sometimes I think of 6 impossible things before breakfast.” I think you’ll agree that this has to be creativity at its best! As a small business owner this is an ideal you really need to strive for … but how on earth can you open up your mind to get to the point where ideas just spill out?
Small business owners are expected to be creative and inventive, otherwise how could they run their own firm? If you have a sneaky feeling that creativity is not one of your strong points, what can you do to stimulate your brain and get it kicked-started?
Too many people are ‘limited thinkers’. They have their world placed squarely in a box and nothing can exist outside of that. If the newspaper reports something then it must be right. If Joe next door says that something is impossible then he must be right. As a small business owner, you cannot afford to be a ‘limited thinker’. You have to be an ‘unlimited thinker’. Get into the habit of seeing no boundaries; decide that there are no taboos. Have the belief that with a bit of focus you can find a creative solution to all of your problems. This is the foundation for a creative thought process.
Creative ideas invariably come when you ‘look’ into the future. The feeling of propelling yourself forward and seeing the problem solved is a great motivator. Do you think you could achieve the same result if you were backward focused? I don’t think so! Train yourself to be future-focused, always looking ahead, not a traditional thinker who tries to find answers in today’s world.
Be a Writer
Once you open your mind to the joys of creativity the ideas will quickly start flowing, as if someone has opened the floodgates! Just like flood water, unless you catch it the ideas are lost forever. Capture all your ideas by carrying a small pocket notebook with you. As soon as an idea pops into your mind, write it down. It doesn’t matter how outlandish it is, you can look at it in the cold light of day later on. The fact you are responding to the ideas by noting them will further encourage you to be even more creative – good deeds encourage more good deeds!
If you are naturally an untidy person, then get out of the habit! A cluttered office will lead to a cluttered mind. You cannot expect your brain to work efficiently when all it’s doing is constantly reminding you how untidy your office is. To be creative remove all the clutter from your life and free your mind.
All of these points are great, but if you don’t take any action with your ideas, then you may as well not have bothered. An idea is nothing but a thought unless you take a specific action to help bring it to life. Periodically review your notebook and see if there are any hidden gems, or ideas which can be quickly actioned. A lot of your ideas may not suit at all but in there somewhere is probably an idea, which if acted upon, could change you or your business. Commit fully to move forward on as many of your ideas as you can.
Don’t be afraid to break down the boundary walls. As John Stuart Mill said, “That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.”
Let me close with one question - can you be creative enough to be dismissed as a dreamer? No? Then get practicing!