Do you wish you were more creative? I do. Creative people get ahead in business. They're always coming up with a new way of doing things. For some of us, creativity flows easily. For others, we have those days where we struggle with it and it zaps our time and energy. Today my guest blogger is David Goldstein who has written a book called Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive. In his book, David addresses how personality types influence our creative abilities and how we can get better at it. David certainly has great credentials: He's an artist, entrepreneur, and researcher with a science and business background. He also writes a popular blog Courageously Creative.
Today there's so much pressure to set ourselves apart from the crowd to get ahead. Fortunately, David offers some advice for how to do that without sending our work life balance into chaos.
Wherever we go, with our smart phones in our pockets, many of us are always and instantly plugged into to our work so wouldn’t it be wonderful to like what we do? Apparently this isn’t always the case. A study by Tom Rath of Gallup shows that 71 percent of people aren’t engaged at work. This is especially troubling since he also shows the leading factor in well-being is career satisfaction.
What would you say if you were asked whether or not you were engaged at work? My answers would fall in the minority. In fact, when people ask me if I work from home, I often feel reluctant to say the truthful answer is: “No, I live at work.” And the key word is “live” since I enjoy what I do. I see most of my work as a chance to act creativity and when we are acting creatively, we are being fully engaged.
In fact, today, creativity isn’t just for people doing art or advertising – it’s for all of us and it’s about inventing better ways to do our jobs. Whether we realize it or not, we’re all naturally creative and by acting more creatively at work, we can be more engaged and happier.
One simple way to do this is to know your creative style — and this can help you get unstuck when you get blocked. While there are so many different ways to be creative, there are just as many ways to feel blocked in expressing ourselves. Although there are many reasons for getting stuck, understanding your personality provides one of the keys to unlocking your mind and achieving balance. Just as a fire won’t start without the right mix of air and fuel, our own combustion of ideas must have the right mix of gathering new information and making decisions.
The first way to overcome a block is to relax and not let it get the better of you and realize that we can’t always be inspired. Next, knowing your personality type is like having jumper cables to give you the spark to get going again.
To know about an essential part of your personality, one question to ask yourself is: Do you prefer to make final decisions and reach closure or do you prefer to continue to gather information and leave things open? We all prefer to do one over the other most of the time.
If you like to make final decision and reach closure, then you may also see new information as a distraction and quickly make decisions to filter out the unwanted noise. You then get blocked by closing off new information and paint yourself in a corner. For you, the answer to getting unstuck is as easy as “temporarily” backing off your convictions and re-opening the window and letting in fresh air.
If you’re this type of person — try doing something out of order, not according to plan, off topic, and seemingly pointless, picking a magazine to read that is clearly irrelevant, going to a meeting that you know is going to be a waste of time, talking to someone who you know you have nothing in common; all may open up new and unexpected possibilities. If you are this type, your creativity is reawakened by temporarily letting down your guard.
On the flip side, the remedies that help this first type of person get unblocked are the wrong medicine for another person who likes to leave things open — since more information drives them further off course and perpetuates procrastination. If you are this type of person, then you get blocked by too many choices, and then can’t decide where to start. You can gain focus by constricting the flow of new information and making some decisions. While you usually don’t like being locked in, a few tentative decisions can help you prioritize and get back on track. Ranking ideas, choosing a subject, going through the exercise of developing a “tentative” outline, and taking steps to reduce distractions are all helpful. For people with this personality —once they start, one idea leads to the next.
Knowing your personality type can help you find your own balance. It can also help you to unlock your creativity and lead to happiness at work — it’s just a matter of balancing the right amount of information we take in with the decisions we make.