This article continues with the topic of the imaginative mind and today I’ve cover another look at creativity, but from the social aspect this time. If you missed the last article, here it is: The Imaginative Mind: Mental Creativity
Cycles of Creativity
Creativity is very much a process, not a single event and so there are cycles of creativity in our actions and thoughts. Some days creativity just flows and others, it seems so distant. These cycles exist within our minds in all the same areas covered from the previous section on mental creativity but now we’ll look at it these cycles in a larger social environment. The same type of cycles where creativity is obvious, encouraged, built on, extended and heavily supported occurs in all kinds of social arenas.
- friendships and relationship
- organizations and clubs
- businesses and work groups
Even larger segments like geographic regions, industries, municipalities or media exposure groups can experience these up and down cycles of creativity. All of these cycles occur because of creative influence that either inspires or suppresses creativity throughout that social sphere and it cascades the effects. The same reasons why brainstorming is useful to the mind to spark new ideas and keep associations active in the mind applies here to social creativity. Each idea feeds the ideas of others, expanding the creative impact to larger groups. Things that stifle creativity make a similar impact by slowing down or eliminating the connections for creativity to grow.
Impact on the Mind
Understanding how these cycles impact our work, lives and environment gives us a more accurate model to predict and control the swings that social creativity is impacted by. Keeping active with the actions that spread creativity and avoiding some of the typical problems areas that kill creativity works in a social environment to ensure the imaginative mind has a sandbox to explore. I believe the mind is at its best when learning, growing and building itself and it can only do this to its fullest when the imagination is active with as many options for creativity as possible.
Contributing to Creativity
There are a number of ways to contribute to socially boost your creativity. The ones I think have the biggest impact are the following:
Eliminate Criticism and Complaining
Criticism and complaining are really the quickest things that kill creativity. Criticism can emotionally shut down a person so quickly that the only creative thoughts they will have is of escape or revenge. It is something that naturally transforms our minds into a completely new state unless we learn to handle criticism and control our response and state of mind consciously.
The social impact this can have can reach many people at once and unfortunately this bad behaviour can also be quite contagious. The best thing you can do with these items to contribute more to social creativity is to eliminate criticism of others, of ideas and of actions. The same goes for complaining since it encourages a very negative thought process not helpful in activating the imagination in any way. Obviously eliminating these is not easy, but they can certainly be reduced and they can definitely be done in private at least in order to minimize the influence to any audience available.
While I covered this in the previous article on mental creativity it is certainly applicable here in a social atmosphere as well. Brainstorming in a group activates the imagination of the whole group and quickly allows ideas to germinate with each other and spread between everyone’s minds. It can be done as a group on purpose with a specific topic or goal in mind or it can happen through other media with no initial intention of doing it! Social media and viral systems are perfect examples of this as a group gains access to shared thoughts and ideas, they become enabled to share more themselves which continues to feed the process. This type of social brainstorming happens a lot with online social groups like twitter (buy cheap twitter followers)and stumbleupon , as with all the other social networks.
Asking Questions – Question everything
Questions come about from curiosity and of course curiosity broods creativity. Therefore, questioning is a powerful action to contribute more to creativity as well. Everything a person questions, they can learn from and gain some kind of insight from. Questions about how and why something is how it is, leads to seeing more pieces of any puzzle and that puts the mind into a state where it has to think beyond the logic to imagine the solution before all the pieces are understood.
Questions are a huge part of a healthy learning process and they will trigger the mind to explore and wonder with curiosity at things. I’ve written about using questions for learning and training others in this article here, Using the 5W Questions to Provide Training . Questioning the things around you has other benefits as well, it is a useful tool to expand your relationships as well. This is because it shows curiosity to another person. Read about that here, Open Ended Questions .
My final point in looking at social creativity and the ways to contribute to it is to avoid perfectionism. Perfectionism slows down any creative process and it quickly strangles any new ideas from emerging as it keeps the attention on an original subject or topic while it is closely scrutinized and perfected. There is some room to explore perfecting something with a creative look, but it is usually too focused on one thing where new ideas have no place to be explored until the first topic or item is first perfected.
Getting past perfection so that more ideas can be explored gives way to identify more possibilities and have more options to approach things with. This applies in everything from simple day to day life plans and tasks, to complex engineering design problems or even social planning. The Pareto principle is useful with social creativity as well and that is where you apply the 80/20 rule. Perfectionists try to get things to that 100% level and they spend most of their time and effort making very little progress once past that 80% point.
So, next in my next article, I’m going to explore how the imaginative mind is applied for innovation, which I consider to be the application of creativity. If you are not signed up yet and don’t want to miss any future articles, please sign up for my RSS feed here or by email here .
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