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Anti-Creativity Forces vs Creativity Triggers

Cultural mind-ruts to weed out.

By Edward Glassman, PhD | Updated July 16, 2018

Anti-creativity forces are in constant array against the triggers of your creativity. Even though being creative is the natural state for humankind (we could not have survived and flourished in nature without it), anti-creativity forces surround us and reduce our capacity to think creatively to produce high quality creative outputs.

What are these anti-creativity forces? We can see anti-creativity forces operating in children, bright creative pre-school youngsters, who slowly lose their creative edge as they progress through the school system. Rules are anti-creativity, and yet, we must instill some societal restraint, else chaos result.

We see anti-creativity forces in how negatively we greet new ideas, killing them swiftly, though sometimes kindly.

We also see anti-creativity forces operating when we lure people away from their internal daily enjoyment of creative effort with long-range external rewards, such as, salary raises, promotions, medals, etc.

And we see anti-creativity forces marshaling their strength against creativity triggers when people take no responsibility to create a creative environment.

Finally, we see anti-creativity forces operating when people avoid the 8 rung problem-solving ladder described in my book and make no effort to learn or use the advanced, focused creativity triggers that prop up the 8 step sequence and help it succeed.

Anti-creativity forces are not evil. They are us. They constitute our cultural mind-ruts and are very difficult to weed out. The following table makes this clear:

Anti-Creativity Forces versus Creativity Triggers

1. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Receiving new ideas with a supportive, positive manner. "I like that idea. Let us improve it together."

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Receiving new ideas with a non-supportive, negative manner. "That idea is no good."

2. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Focusing on the daily enjoyment of creative effort, the internal reward.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Focusing on long-range external rewards, such as, salary raises, promotions, medals, etc.

3. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Learning and using advanced, targeted creativity triggers, such as, brainstorming, brainwriting, forced combinations, fresh eye, how-to's, metaphors and analogies, future fantasy, idea card, idea grid, etc.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Not learning, not using, and avoiding advanced, targeted creativity triggers.

4. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Seeking to discover and utilize personal environmental creativity triggers.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Not seeking and avoiding personal environmental creativity triggers.

5. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Enjoying and welcoming bizarre ideas as triggers to better ideas.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Avoiding and squelching the use of bizarre trigger ideas.

Taking 100% responsibility to create a climate conducive to creative effort.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Taking no responsibility for a creative climate.

Learn and use the 8 rung problem-solving ladder to attack problems creatively.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Avoid & ignore systematic approaches to think creatively and to solve problems creatively.

8. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Seek many alternatives to avoid the quick fix.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Jump right into the quick fix by selecting the first adequate idea.

9. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Listen to and get inspired by other people's ideas.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Stay away from other people.

10. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Forced-withdrawal, seeing things through a fresh perspective.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: Staying sharply focused and avoid different paradigms and points of view.

11. CREATIVITY TRIGGER: Spend time incubating the problem and thinking about it.

ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE: No time allotted for incubation & thinking.

Add your own ANTI-CREATIVITY FORCE here…



How can you defeat your anti-creativity forces?

One way you can slip out of this difficulty utilizes 8 rung problem-solving ladder which allows the sequence to lead you to a solution that works for you. Thus, creativity triggers can provide their own mechanism to win against your anti-creativity forces. Affirm your intention to use the creativity triggers more often and on more problems. Make the creative process a daily, on-going habit. Combine old ideas into new creative combinations.

Next: Anti-Creativity Habits and a Fun Puzzle

©2011 Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.

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Edward GlassmanEdward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity ...

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