Of all the things you can consciously design into your Personal Culture of Creativity, attitude is probably the most important.
Not only for supporting and exploding your own creative potential, but also for encouraging greater creativity from those around you, as well as for increasing the synergy that can occur when two or more people create together.
Who you are being at any given moment determines:
- Your openness or receptivity
- Your curiosity
- Your awareness
- Your ability to make connections
- Your willingness to keep playing (in other words, your chances of taking an idea further vs. shutting it down)
Who you are being also impacts:
- Other people’s openness to you generally, and to what’s around all of you (openness to the creative space)
- Other people’s willingness to explore with you; to play with everyone’s ideas
- Other people’s willingness to be vulnerable with you; to share their own ideas in the first place
Think about it. Would you rather share an idea with someone whose arms are open, head is nodding yes and who has interest written all over their face, or someone who has arms crossed, lips tights and a blank stare?
Despite the fact that most of us would choose the former, it’s the latter that many, many, MANY people choose to adopt when hearing another person’s idea.
From the sounds we make (the “hmmm …” that sounds suspiciously like a “but” vs. the “hmmm …” that has that edge of “yes, go on, this is sounding good”) to the body language we inhabit or how relaxed or impatient we seem when someone is talking to us – ALL OF IT sends a message.
Not only to the people around us, but it sends a message to ourselves.
If we choose the closed off stance, how open are we to recognizing a good idea? And, how likely are we to draw out the best thinking from those around us?
I gave a presentation to a class of college seniors last week and every time I looked at the professor and the majority of the students, they were smiling and nodding – except for one person. She looked pissed, was turning slightly away from me in her chair and had her arms crossed.
Even though I want the best for her, too, she is not the person I’d choose to spend time with – and definitely not to brainstorm with if we were in another situation that required that. She is sending a message to those around her – to people who might have interesting ideas to share with her – that she simply does not want to hear it.
Granted, I might have been boring her to death. But the point is, how you choose to respond to other people is actually what helps them want to go further – to be more creative, to be more interesting.
We owe that to each other.
But being supportive doesn’t mean agreeing with ideas we don’t like. It simply means actively demonstrating that we believe that all ideas have value. When we do deliver criticism or build on someone else’s idea from that supportive place, we allow for ideas to grow. If we deliver criticism from a closed place, we shut down the process.
It sounds simple enough, but remembering to let the Personal Culture of Creativity that we’ve designed for ourselves shine through in our attitude takes conscious effort.
The next time you are hearing another person’s idea, remember the Personal Culture of Creativity that you want to foster and the attitude that is part of that. The next time you are sharing your own ideas, remember it, too.
When you intentionally adopt a supportive attitude around the creativity of others and around your own creativity, you are far more likely to attract bigger, better ideas. If you decide to be closed, you won’t even have a shot.
To recognizing the power of our attitude,