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Cultivating Creativity
By Eli Bay   Printer Friendly Version

Never before has creativity been more in demand. Like other intellectual capital, creativity is being recognized and fostered as one of the "keys to success" by today's leading-edge organizations. Throughout the '80s and '90s researchers in artificial intelligence seriously explored how our minds work and began to appreciate that we humans have awesome abilities, which we do not exploit well. The cultivation and support of these dormant capacities will become a growing part of the agenda of successful companies as we move into the new century.

Innovation is the engine of today's changing times. New ideas lead to new products and new revenues. Sensing trends in advance leads to greater market share. In a rapidly changing global marketplace, new kinds of issues cry out for new types of solutions. The tragedy is that just when insight and creativity are most in demand, our organizational and cultural structures actually inhibit it.

The current work culture, for example, is a monumental obstacle to creativity. Long hours at the office. Feeling unremitting pressure to do more and more in less and less time. Coping with the assault of constant change. It requires all of our energy (and then some) to just be able to stay afloat in a turbulent sea of demands that stretches us in every direction. We all are living with high levels of stress and since stress is a threatened "fight or flight" reaction, it is obviously not the best condition of body and mind to support the flow of creativity and the flowering of intelligence.

For most of us creativity is haphazard and rare because chronic stress forces us to be always on guard, keeping our minds on overdrive and preoccupied with worry, regret or administrivia. And, of course, in our hectic lives we rarely give ourselves any quiet time to allow our creative intelligence to percolate forth with insights from our subconscious mind.

If gaining a creative edge is important to you, one of the most effective ways to get the creativity happening is to employ simple breathing and meditative techniques. Taking the time to quiet and focus your chattering mind and permit your body to release itself from the grip of a mobilized "fight or flight" arousal naturally opens you up to an abundance of insight. Numerous studies have proven that the relaxation response gets the creative juices flowing.

As we move into the new millennium, forward thinking individuals and organizations would be wise to consciously cultivate and harvest their creative capital. It's a good bet that one can predict which companies will be most successful in the next decade just by analyzing their support (or lack thereof) of creativity among their human resources today. Those that are too busy "doing" and unwilling to support "being" will likely end up with an overabundance of do-do.

1996, Eli Bay empowers people to successfully co-exist with change and stress, and offers twenty-first century survival skills through keynotes, workshops, television and audio/video learning systems he teaches the practical "how to" of adaptive self-renewal to individuals and organizations.

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