This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four becoming living legends when they showcased their immense musical genius on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Many experts have noted that the Beatles’ music inspired a generation to see the world in a new light. Some musicologists claim their music, like that of Beethoven and Bach, will live on for hundreds of years.
I am a huge Beatles fan, and it is quite obvious that they became legendary because their music was not only original but also timeless. Just as important, the depth of their music progressed though the ’60s. They refused to write the same old tunes. They moved from wanting to hold your hand to pondering what 64 years old would feel like to seeing what is across the universe. Their creative genius grew with each album.
Being creative is hugely important in business, as well. We always hear the necessity of thinking differently, more creatively and “outside the box.” This ability will help you to move your career up a notch as well as help company profits.
Unfortunately, throughout our school years, we have been trained to perform by rote — to think inside the box and never break free of simple regurgitation of the material. Original thought was rarely encouraged. Now, when it is vital to be creative in our working life, it is very difficult.
Practice being creative
The good news is that creative genius is not born but is exposed and enhanced with practice and hard work. You, too, have creative genius, and with effective practice, you will be able to create beyond what you thought possible.
Take Mark Twain as a case in point. We all know of his brilliant literary work such as the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
But did you know he practiced being creative? When I toured his house in Hartford, Conn., the docent said the family ritual was for Twain to sit in the parlor after dinner and make up stories for his three young daughters. The stories would always include the objects that sat on the mantel, and they entered the stories always in the same order.
Yes, Mark Twain was a creative genius, but he practiced this skill every night at home.
Here are some exercises that will help you think outside the box:
• Turn on the television, but turn off the sound. Begin to make up dialogue for the characters. Just go with it and be as creative as possible. Perhaps you might get so good that you begin to write your own sitcom.
• Create a creative routine. In the movie “Shakespeare in Love,” young Shakespeare would spit on his hands, spin around twice, sit on a stool and then pick up his quill and begin to write. Before you begin every creative activity, have a consistent routine. This will tell your mind it is time to become creative. It could be as simple as tapping your chest three times. But only do this routine when you are going to be creative.
Practice your creativity and you will begin to hear the music of your success.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is author of the best-selling business book “Full Throttle” and speaks to businesses about improving attitude and performance. Learn more at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.