None of us are free from unhelpful thinking patterns, often we don't even know we're thinking them because they're subconscious. We act out conscious thoughts partly based on what our subconscious mind has already decided. Don't worry, you're not your thoughts. It's a reflection of you in the water of your biology. But the point remains, we learn unhelpful ways of thinking through all kinds of examples and lessons which have what I like to call 'shady' wisdom. It's just not true, despite how good it feels. So with these little nuggets of fool's gold in our heads adding their rationale to our subconscious patterns of thought, it's no wonder we sometimes get stuck.
Perhaps the first thing that stifles progress and creativity is thinking we already know the answers. If it's creative then it's novel and interesting and none of us have any answers. Acting like we are the intellectual authority over a thing when we don't fully understand it is something that often gets in the way. It takes courage to put on the humility hat and accept general ignorance. Maybe because the word ignorant is often used as a negative connotation, we don't want to admit it. Ignoring something deliberately is of course truly ignorant and a negative behaviour, we reserve it for things we dislike or make us uncomfortable. But not knowing much isn't ignorant, not knowing much and then saying that it's a bad idea simply because you personally can't see how it will work is far more ignorant. Avoid doing this.
Being put off by not knowing is equally as show-stopping. The design thinking side of operations wants to imitate everything proven to work. In one way this ensures success and it works to a degree. When creativity and innovation are involved though, things become less regimented. And we need these things if we are to improve on the systems and technologies we have at this time. The world isn't perfect so we are in need of creative, innovative, and sometimes unclear ideas. Not forgetting the sacrifice to test each one, however when we think of the whole planet and what's at stake, it's always worth it.
So it's risky, and we naturally want to blunt the blades in case we slip. We want to eliminate all risk. It's okay to think like this, but if the blade isn't sharp enough, it won't cut the thing we want it to. There has to be an element of risk, and then skilled operations to carry out the function. It's always risky when we put time, money, and emotional sweat into a project. If it doesn't work out for us then it's a horrible and desperate feeling. We wonder what we did wrong, and in this we learn how to improve. We can't be scared of this.
Treating creativity as an external and distant function prevents the genuinely good ideas from ever seeing their potential. By making it seem that there's a clear difference between the regular people and those who are creative gives a culture of us and them which results in negative comparisons.
That's because many of us are naturally critical and love to find the fault in things, this is actually really bad for creativity. Yes, find the faults and be critical, but don't enjoy it so that you forget to see the good in something first. An appraisal begins with positive news, it acknowledges everything right and then it highlights possible flaws with tact. Putting off an inventor by hurting their feelings could have cost us the next antidote.
Some people love to feel above others and won't acknowledge something from a lower level that challenges their authority. If a person feels challenged or intimidated by another's good idea then they'll not push it. They'll sweep it under the carpet and maybe claim it was their own. This is not how we progress and it's another matter of being humble enough to recognise when another person is equally as valuable and worth listening to.
Finally, we have to recognise that even if we are on the top of the ladder and enjoy the rewards that it brings, there are people working really hard on the bottom of that same ladder. The only way we will encourage progress and innovation that works and is implemented is to make sure that those on the bottom can feel able to take the steps up. We can sometimes remove some of the rungs between the bottom and the top so it's impossible to climb. It's good to keep inspirational people in our circle and they can come from any rung of that ladder. Put those pieces back in if you haven't already. Anyone caught cheating can be given a healthy kick back down to the bottom.
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