Ingenuity is an inside job
Think the genius genes passed you by? Think again claims Tina Seelig, internationally best-selling author of the book, InGenius. “Creativity is not magical, rather, it’s the result of a clear set of processes and conditions.” Historically, people looked outside themselves believing that goddesses, muses, and great writers were the rare ones gifted with creative inspiration. According to Seelig, “It’s an inside job to ignite inborn inventiveness.”
Being creative is not just for artistic endeavors. In today’s world of record-speed advancements in everything from the cars we drive to using an app to turn on the air conditioning, to online ordering for anything including 3-D printers so easy anyone can use them, a crash course in creativity is beneficial for anyone who wants to half-way keep up with the changing times.
Seelig states that a creative consciousness sees problems as potential, obstacles as opportunities, and challenges as a chance to create breakthrough prospects. With spring around the corner, Mother Nature shows off her creativity with beauty everywhere—the desert, mountains and coastline. Each region is unique in its own expression–what shows up in one is not another.
How can we incorporate a few of Stanford professor Seelig’s ideas into our own lives? One suggestion for problem solving is asking the right question. For example, there is only one answer to the question, What is the sum of 5 plus 5? Asking the question, What two numbers add up to 10? has an infinite number of answers. The difference is what question is being asked. According to Albert Einstein, asking the right question is the easiest way to solve the problem. Seelig agrees stating that “mastering the ability to reframe problems is an important tool for increasing your imagination because it unlocks a vast array of solutions.” Now that’s something any of us can do, right?
Other suggestions include resisting the temptation to run with the first idea that comes to mind. A willingness to look at more ideas can produce even better solutions. Brainstorming is an excellent technique to strengthen imagination because it defers judgment and generates, encourages and combines ideas. Cultivating acute observation also fuels imagination. Ha! Magicians are counting on us doing just the opposite. And the most important aspect of being a creative genius? Believing that we are!
This spring let Mother Nature inspire your imagination. Remember it’s the powerful spark of your attitude that sets the creative process in motion and being a genius is not a prerequisite. As long as we believe, we all have the potential to be InGenius.
Originally published, Orange County Register, March 12, 2020