Creativity Portal - Spring into Creativity
  Home  ·   Creativity Interviews  ·   Imagination Prompt Generator  ·   Writing  ·   Arts & Crafts
  Prompts » Submit »
On the Other Hand: Perspectives
Royane Real : Do Creativity and Negativity Mix?

Do Creativity and Negativity Mix?

By Royane Real

Do you know any people who are always negative whenever new creative ideas are proposed? These are the people who are always saying, "That will never work," or "That's a bad idea." You may even be such a person yourself, always looking for and finding the flaws in any plan.

Is being negative about new creative ideas always bad?

It depends.

An ability to be critical of new ideas can be a force for evil, but it can also be a force for good. People who like to pick apart and criticize new ideas can actually be very helpful in some stages of the creative process.

People who are constantly negative and critical are often able to easily spot what is wrong with a new idea. Because people who are negative can easily see problems in a new proposal, these people can actually make very important contributions to a project. They can help their team mates find ways to correct potential problems in a new project before these problems happen.

The big danger when people are always negative about new creative ideas is that very often, their automatic negative comments can stop a good proposal before it gets started.

If these people make their negative evaluations at the early stages when others are trying to come up with solutions, they can stifle all the creativity in the room. The other people involved may get discouraged, embarrassed, or angry, and not bother coming up with any more ideas.

People who are consistently negative often have a hard time being creative themselves. This is because their own creative self may be too scared to come out anymore, afraid of inner criticism or ridicule.

In many cases, people who are always negative and who are critical of new ideas are actually jealous of the creativity of others. Many of the people who like to analyze and criticize new creative ideas are not really trying to make the new ideas work better. They may actually be trying to hurt and insult the person who came up with a good creative idea.

You can often tell when a person is negative just to be destructive. They make their attacks in a hurtful way, with sarcastic comments designed to personally attack and hurt the person who proposed them. This kind of negativity has no place in the judgment and evaluation of new creative ideas.

When a person automatically has negative judgments about each new idea they encounter, they are no longer evaluating each idea on its own merits. They are not being objective. They just feel compelled to look for all the reasons why something won't work.

When negative evaluation of new creative ideas becomes consistent and automatic, it is no longer a realistic assessment. The danger is that negative thinking will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you focus only on why something won't work, you won't be focused on why it can work. You won't be trying to create the circumstances to make it work.

Here is an exercise to help you become better at finding the positive aspects of new and creative ideas.

Whenever you encounter a new idea, instead of thinking and saying, "This will never work," think of ways to make the idea work. Don't just try to think of one way, but think of several ways to make it work. Improve the new idea. Explore new mental pathways. Come up with even more new ideas.

Practice assuming that the idea can work, and tell yourself that you will find ways to make it work. Think to yourself, "What would have to happen for this idea to be successful?"

You do not actually have to believe in the new idea. You are doing this new type of thinking as a mental exercise so that you can improve a mental muscle that is underdeveloped in you. It may not feel right for you to do this, and it may not be easy.

But remember, you are already very good at finding out what's wrong with an idea.

You need practice finding what's right with an idea. You need practice learning to find ways to make ideas work.

If you consistently look for ways to make new ideas work, you will find that your own creative abilities will also improve. •

© 2005 Royane Real

Royane Real is the author of the book, "How You Can Be Smarter — Use Your Brain to Learn Faster, Remember Better, and Be More Creative." More »