Smiling designer using tablet with team at work behind herMany underestimate their creativity. Do you? When I present a lab session on thinking approaches, I ask participants how creative they think they are. Few rate themselves above 5 on a 10-point scale.

When I ask, “Why?” most say they are not as creative as someone they know. They mistakenly compare themselves to whomever they hold up as the example of creativity and rate themselves as less.

Let’s debunk the notion that some are creative, and others are not.

Creativity is looking at usual patterns, ways of doing things, ways of thinking about things, and rearranging them in different ways. Sometimes we arrange them in ways no one else has tried. The more “un-usual,” the more creative we regard them. So, people who are more unusual more often are thought of as more creative.

Here is what I have come to believe. Those we credit with being more creative simply give themselves more permission to be more unusual more often.

But many find comfort in conformity because it is less risky. Standing out attracts attention. Attention attracts critics. And critics can be cruel, which is threatening to self-esteem.

Critic definitionCritics delight in telling you why something won’t work before it’s tried, why it can’t work while it’s being implemented, and why it would have worked better if only we had listened to them earlier.

Here’s my advice: don’t get distracted by the critics, and don’t get boxed in by other’s limits, when you are more than you think you are!

One of my first posts was about seeing the world through a different set of eyes. Here’s the link in case you missed it.

Trust me, You are more creative than you give yourself credit for being. But if you want to improve your creative energy, all it takes is a little practice. Here are three simple things you can do today to stretch your creative boundaries.

  1. Think of three free things you can do this weekend that you have never done, and do one of them.
  2. Identify someone you do not know very well and invite them to lunch or coffee for the expressed purpose of getting better acquainted.
  3. Try a different genre of book, movie, music, etc. or a different taste in food. Experiment and experience.

In a recent movie,The Yes Man, the hero, Carl, changed the direction and quality of his life by accepting a challenge to say, “Yes,” to any request no matter how trivial. INPowered people make things better for themselves and others.

When you say, “Yes,” to opportunity,
you unleash your creative energy,
and you become 
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