Get in ShapeShare
Getting in shape physically and improving creativity have much in common. Mainly, we are so good at making excuses as to why we can't do it!
I would like to start once again with a confession. I know it seems like starting my articles with confessions is becoming quite the habit, but what can I say, it's good for the soul.
For years I hated the idea of going to the gym. In fact, I hated the idea of putting so much time and effort in "getting in shape." Now, please don't get me wrong. I'm a reasonably intelligent guy if I may say so, so of course I knew and understood perfectly well why being in shape physically is essential. I knew that failing to do so was bound to have its consequences. But the investment always seemed so huge, especially when I considered my lame starting point.
And since I knew how important being in physical shape is, and since I really didn't want to make an effort, I've created this fantastic theory (which needed no proof because I was also its target audience) that some people are just not born for all this fitness stuff. Not everyone can paint, or write a great novel, so why should we assume everyone can run a 5K-run and live to tell about it?
Could it be that we are using the same kind of excuse when we are thinking about being creative?
Creativity for All
Like any good lie, my excuse was built on a grain of truth: no matter how hard I train, I will probably not be the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. At least not in this lifetime. Most of us won't.
But, no matter what your starting point is, you can (and should) get in shape, and improve and maintain your physical fitness. Most of us won't be the next Roger Federer, but we can't use this as an excuse to spend our lives on the couch.
And the same applies to creativity. We can't all be Steve Jobs, or Picasso, or Steven Spielberg, or Paul Auster. That's easy to prove statistically. But this is no excuse for doing nothing to ignite our imagination and strive for being more creative. In that sense, creativity and physical fitness are much alike: no matter where we start, all of us can and should improve our creativity.
Say Hello to Your New Habit
Many companies and organizations are talking about the need to be creative, but unfortunately, don't manage to do much about it. They hang posters; they buy (and maybe even actually encourage their employees to read) some books on how to be creative, or even try some workshops for their staff. And the same applies to individuals (well, except for the posters part maybe). But when was the last time you've met someone who got in shape by reading a book about fitness or doing a one-time workshop?
Here's the hard truth: neither getting into physical shape nor improving creativity can be done in a one-time effort. For both you need to practice - ongoing practice. Just like the case is for improving physical fitness, the only way to improve creativity is by making it a habit.
It's not that books and one-time workshops can't be valuable. Learning the theory might be useful and sometimes even give you a real push to start things going. But only ongoing practice will make a change.
Just Do It
If you really want to improve your creative skills (or maintain them - keep them in shape), there's no better option than to "just do it!" And do it on a daily basis. And if you ask "what is it exactly I should do?", the answer is whatever challenges your creativity.
Write something every day, or photograph something, or come up with a crazy idea - any creative challenge which is open would be great. You can come up with your own, or use seempli as an endless repository of creative triggers. Just make sure to do it daily. It might be difficult to maintain this daily routine at first, just like adopting any new habit, but soon enough you won't be able to start your day without it.
There's only one catch: you must have fun doing so. If this new habit you are trying to acquire won't be fun, there's little chance you will be able to keep it. So whatever you chose to do, make sure it makes you smile.
And if you are managing a team or an entire organization, instead of just talking about how much creativity is essential to your business, encourage your staff to actively do something creative, even if it has nothing to do with their current tasks. Encourage your team to get in creative-shape and you will soon see the benefit in the way they solve problems, in how they come up with innovative ideas, and even in their mindset in general. Just like getting in physical shape, you just can't lose.
How to get Started?
I know, it's easy to say but much harder to do. And the first steps of making any new habit are always challenging, even when you do have fun. So, here's a little something to help you get things started. All you have to do is one simple thing. Ready?
Open you Calendar app or your To Do app. Create a recurring event or task that will pop-up every morning (preferably as soon as you wake up). In this event or task you are creating, include a link to the seempli Get in Shape page.
Now, every day when you see the reminder, go to the Get in Shape page where you will find a Seed - an open creative trigger. Just keep it in mind (or bookmark it) and throughout the rest of the day try to look around you mindfully and capture insights inspired by that Seed. You can capture them by taking a photograph, in writing, or in any other form you wish.
When you do this creative workout on a daily basis, you will gradually acquire the habit of looking at things differently, igniting your imagination, and improving your creativity. In no time you will feel you are starting to get in shape. And then it will be even more fun to challenge yourself further.
Just like being in shape physically, being creative is both an investment and the source of immediate joy. But just like getting in shape, the first steps of acquiring the habit are the hardest. Using simple fun exercises as part of your daily routine can help you develop the habit. Once you do, you won't be able to imagine life without it!
Lidor’s visual artworks, which are focused on the things hundreds and thousands of people pass by in the street every day, led him to create seempli to inspire people to practice creative observation on a daily basis.
Using seempli Lidor works with people, teams, and organizations seeking to develop and enhance their creativity.