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The ABCs of Creativity: Well

Working at a regular requires that you take a break every once in a while, if you want to be good at it. Your brain and body need regular rest during the day, the week and the year. It’s one of the reasons why jobs have breaks every two hours, every five days, and for two weeks out of the year. Employers have recognized the importance of giving people the opportunity to recharge.

The same is true for creativity. You need to take a break from the actual work of creativity and replenish the well that you draw from. This doesn’t always mean getting fully away from a creative project. Coming up with ideas is often more like an Artesian well, if you stop the flow it may not come back.

It does mean that you need to do things that help you create better. For some people watching a movie or reading a book is a good enough rest to get them recharged and creating again. Others need to travel to their favorite destination, like Hawaii or Disneyland. Stepping away from a project is paradoxically sometimes the best way to get it completed. Fill yourself with ideas and refill when you need to.

For more on creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Get “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories” and improve your creativity for a better life and world. For more on the Disney company, get “Penguinate! The Disney Company.” Join us at Patreon for the “Secrets of Creativity” available only to our Penguinators.

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Warning: Use These 8 Steps for Creativity at Your Own Risk

Studies have shown that creative students are disciplined more often than less creative students even in classrooms where the teacher says that he or she values creativity. The same holds true for people in the workforce; creative employees are less likely to receive promotions and raises, even in companies that encourage their employees to be creative. Creativity comes with a risk. It’s up to you to decide if that risk is worth it.

  1. Take a Risk

If you’ve decided to take the risk and be creative, that’s a good start because you’ve already taken your first practice step. To be more creative, you’re going to need to take more risks. Your first solution to a problem might solve that problem adequately, but you need to go a little further to see if there’s a better solution. It’s a risk to take that time and the extra step, but it could pay big dividends with a better solution that solves multiple problems.

  • Take a Walk

The best ideas always seem to happen when you least expect them. In the shower, in the car, or when you’re on a walk. There are many theories about why it happens at these times; it may have to do with defocusing on the problem and relaxing a little, which removes the pressure and stress that can stifle creativity. Walking has the added advantage of improving blood flow and helping you be healthier. Plus, you can take a notebook and pen with you so you don’t lose the idea.

  • Take It Down

Always have a notebook with you. If you can’t carry a notebook, use your phone to record ideas and transcribe them later. Ideas can strike at any time. If you don’t record them, they will fade away like mist and be gone forever. Keep a notebook by your bed. Keep a waterproof one in the bathroom. Whatever it takes to harness your ideas, do it. The more ideas you record, the more you’ll get.

  • Start the Project

All of the ideas in the world won’t help you. You need to start working on one. Choose the best idea, choose the easiest idea, or choose the weirdest idea. It doesn’t matter which one you choose at first because you just want to get started on working on something. The idea may morph throughout the project, but unless you start, the idea will never exist at all. Write words on the page, put paint on the canvas, make the weld – whatever your medium, well begun is half done.

  • Finish the Project

Starting is great. Finishing is better. If you finish a project, you beat out all of the people who started and never completed their projects. By finishing the first project, you’ll get a sense of self-confidence that you can finish other projects. (The other projects may not be easier, but you’ll know that you’ve finished one, so you know you can finish more.)

  • Show the Results

This is one of the hardest things for any creative project and the person who created it. You’ve got to release it into the world. Some people won’t like it. Many more will be neutral about it. Some will love it, and some will actively fight against it. Sharing allows you to get your ideas out there, and it allows you to draw strength from those who will support you. This is especially important if you’re going to turn your creative efforts into a business or a way to move forward at your place of work.

  • Take a Rest

Even the best creators need to take time from their work to replenish their well. Resting from a creative activity includes doing those things that will help you create more later. New experiences, reading, movies, travel… the list is endless. Just give yourself some downtime before you move on to the next project.

  • Start a New Project

Hopefully, you don’t stop coming up with ideas while you’re working on your project. When you get ready to start again, you should have plenty of ideas to work on. Choose one and get started again. The more you work on your creativity and your creative process, the more creative you’ll become.

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ABC Stores, ‘This Week Oahu’ and Creativity

In an interview with “This Week Oahu” (Nov. – Dec. 3, 2018, p.28), Publisher Kent Coules asked ABC Stores President and CEO Paul Kosasa why Kosasa would explore opening restaurants and other businesses rather than just continue to open more stores in his already successful franchise.

“’We like to experiment,’ says Kosasa ‘Doing the same thing over and over again breeds complacency. You have to take risks… By expanding our expertise, we’ve learned things that we’ve brought into the ABC Stores – and vice-versa.’”

Risk taking is essential for creativity. When you do something new, it is a risk. You could fail; you could make a mistake. It’s all part of the learning process, and risk-takers use those mistakes and failures as stepping stones to success.

Creativity happens at the intersection. With the expansion of his business operations into other fields, Kosasa has been able to bring what he’s learned from one domain (restaurants) to another (convenience stores).

One more point Kosasa made in the interview is that he drew inspiration for the Island Country stores from magazine photos. The Island Country stores are upscale grocery stores on Oahu.

Media is a good way to get inspiration and to refill your creative well. With more information input, you can make more creative decisions. The hardest part is knowing when inspiration is going to strike – maybe in a free magazine with an article about a local business that has extended its reach internationally.

For more on Oahu, check out these links. For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”