“Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration“, –Thomas A. Edison
You are already a creative being. I have since learned that creativity is more about psychology than intellect, and there are no secrets to being creative. Actually, there is no such thing as “being more creative”, you are already a creative being.
Start doing, and stop thinking. Your mind is creating all sorts of assumptions, self-imposed constraints and self-limiting inhibitions. I have found that we can remove these assumptions just by being in the moment; start doing, and stop thinking.
Innovation involves more than just great ideas. We need faith, hard work and a laser sharp focus for the end result to keep persisting for our vision in the face of roadblocks. We tend to see the end result of a creative idea in awe, but what we don’t see are the actions, hard work and persistence behind the scene to make the vision a reality.
Think outside the box. We need to free ourselves from these mind-created constraints by removing assumptions and restrictions. This is what we refer to when we say “think outside the box”. Encourage ourselves to be open to new ideas and solutions without setting limiting beliefs. Remember, innovation is more about psychology than intellect.
Think of mistakes as experiments. “Experiment is the expected failure to deliberately learn something.” (Scott Berkun). Instead of punishing yourself for the failures, accept them, then take your newfound knowledge and put it towards finding the best solution. Live up to your goal of producing the best result, but understand you might hit roadblocks along the way.
Our environment can and does effect how we feel. This is why ideas sometimes come to us in the shower or while we’re alone. Each of us have different triggers to access our creative energy. Many great thinkers go on long walks to help them solve problems.
Jot down ideas and thoughts. Some keep a sketch book, scrap book, post-it notes, loose paper. They all have a method to capture their thoughts, to think on paper, to drop their inhibitions and start the creative process.
Ideas come from other ideas. Did you know that Edison wasn’t the first one who came up with the invention of the light bulb? He was the first to build a workable carbon filament inside a glass bulb, that made light bulbs last longer. You can increase your exposure to new ideas, look for patterns and see how you can combine ideas to improve upon existing solutions.
See things differently. Many innovators are just curious people who are inquisitive, and like to solve problems. For example, When seeing the solution to a problem, ask yourself, “What are some alternative ways to doing this?”. Ask a lot of questions and challenge the norms or existing methods.
How many times have you read a business or self-help book, said, “Wow, that was cool,” and then, well, nothing changed? That’s the whole problem with that genre; it’s always someone’s idea of what works for him or what he thinks will work for others. It really doesn’t account for the billions of variations on the theme of human intelligence.
Still, Stephen R. Covey’s got millions of fans who swear by his seminal book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. So, with all due respect to Covey, here’s an adaptation of his seven habits that I think fits innovators and entrepreneurs :
Habit One : Be Passionate. Finding your passion is the key to business success. As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Habit Two : Do Something. You don’t always know where it’s going to lead, but it’s always better to do something than to suffer analysis paralysis. Legendary oil-man and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens has a way of quickly sizing up a situation, coming up with a plan, and acting. There’s no sitting around or endless analysis and debate. It seems to have worked for him.
Habit Three : Put First Things First, Second, and Third. Covey says prioritize, but I’ll take it one step further. Whoever said, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” was right, and I’ll add, “don’t do or even think about the small stuff.” Every successful innovative person I know jumps on hot opportunities and critical issues like they’re the only things that matter on god’s green Earth.
Habit Four : Think Win. Former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner may have been a world-class a-hole, but he was a remarkably rich and successful world-class a-hole who let nothing stand in the way of the only thing that ever really mattered to him, winning. Show me a successful entrepreneur and I’ll show you someone who puts winning first.
Habit Five : Seek First to Understand, then to Innovate. The key to innovation is to first understand a big hairy problem that, to date, nobody’s been able to solve. Once you’ve got that, then, and only then, does it even begin to make sense to do something about it. Otherwise you’ll just end up with a great product nobody needs.
Habit Six : Energize. With rare exception, successful innovators are high-energy people with a unique ability to stimulate and motivate others. Without it, you can have the most effective habits or the best ideas in the world, but nobody will ever know it, because nobody will care and nothing will actually get done.
Habit Seven : Question the Status Quo. Andy Grove built semiconductor powerhouse Intel on several principles, two of which were “only the paranoid survive” and “constructive confrontation.” That means never rest on your laurels, continually challenge your own assumptions, and always question the status quo. That’s how Intel became a high-tech dynasty.
With that aside, this is an interesting list, not only for innovative but for productive, and even happy people. Being passionate is hard if you don't know what you are passionate about, and knowing this can lead to hard, rough and wonderful changes in your life. Follow these good 7 habits and you will be one of the most productive people in your generation.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.“ –Thomas A. Edison Thank You Very Much SompongYusoontorn