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How to Solve the “Creativity Problem” and Stand Out in a Crowd

I think everyone has the capacity to be creative, but if you listen to some pundits it seems creativity is something only bestowed on an elite few.

The fact is, the word “creativity” itself can cause a lot of creative resistance, and make people feel that the bar has been set too high for them.

Relax. Being creative does not mean you have to be the next Shakespeare or Leonardo Da Vinci!

In fact, I imagine you don’t have a creativity problem at all.

Creativity is not scarce

What does creativity mean to us in this context? For most people the goal would be to create something that is …

  • New
  • Original
  • Interesting
  • Remarkable

When talking about apps, content, and media, of course creativity is rewarded. We absolutely want the new and the shiny.

This does not mean, however, that you have to be a creative genius, just that you have to deliver something (hopefully of value) that your audience has not seen before.

In the new media world you don’t even have to be entirely brand new, just different enough that people find it worth looking into.

How to make something original

At this point you might be thinking how difficult it is to come up with something that has not been done before, but the key part is it only has to be new to your audience. So, first, if it is new to your audience then it is new enough.

Most of my best content ideas come from my customers, directly or indirectly. This article came out of a conversation with Robert (you should check out his blog, by the way) where we were talking about SEO. In most cases if you can answer a question that someone has emailed you, asked in a Q&A or posted to a forum, then there is sufficient desire for an answer and they haven’t been able to easily find the answer in Google. So go for it!

The second point is probably the most important for how you are going to stand out it a crowd. Nobody else has your experience, your personality or your stories. They are unique to you. Globally unique.

Lastly, most creativity is built on the shoulders of giants. Many creative works that we admire are actually based on older ideas combined with something else to make them new. Your favourite films and novels are most likely based on the Monomyth, for example.

Bottom Line

I’m not writing this to downplay the importance of creativity but to encourage you to not hold back just because you don’t think you have ideas that are creative enough.

When you  combine your unique stories with a point, fact, news item or lesson that your particular target audience might not have heard before, then you have something interesting and original to share.

Of course then when you package that all together with great visual or copywriting techniques, such as a compelling headline, then you can really help your ideas spread.

I’ve never met anyone yet who couldn’t be sufficiently creative, so don’t doubt yourself. Get out there and create! :)

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Comments

  1. Good one, Chris!

    A huge myth is that you have to come up with something groundbreaking in order to do anything.

    But you don’t. In fact, big innovators actually came up with a lot of “crap” before they found something amazing.

    Sometimes I feel like these things just happen when you take action, but you have to first start somewhere.

  2. Creativity, like any skill, can be cultivated. It just takes dedication and passion, like anything else. And it’s a marvelous way to add value to your employers and customers.

    How to get started? There are numerous resources you can use to get started stretching your synapses and flexing your creative muscles – from books on brainstorming techniques to ideation apps for your mobile device.

    Like you, Chris, I believe now is the time to take action to grow your creative problem-solving skills. Companies are hungry for ideas to help grow the business and delight customers. Why not be the catalyst for growth and change in your organization? Coincidentally, I just posted a new article called “Don’t Hold Back” that encourages my readers to take action now.

  3. There is nothing new under the sun. I work and write about personal development and how this impacts your business, I have to say, nothing new there, old ideas.

    What we can bring, however, is our personal story, as you pointed out. Sharing our personal journey and how we tackled these ancient demons of self-doubt, creativity, time now that’s new. It might even be called authentic.

    Great post Chris, thanks for keeping us grounded.

  4. Hi Chris great post my friend very helpful information book marked :)

  5. Hi Cris, I very much appreciated this post. It is full of the wisdom of someone who has explored his own creative expression.

    I find several things open me to the creative flow:
    * When I slow down and settle into a more peaceful place in my body
    * When I quiet my mind by simply following my breath as I inhale and exhale
    * Trusting my intuitive nature, which has an endless supply of inspiration it is waiting to share with me
    * Making contact with the child in me which definitely knows how to be creative. I can use music, paints (colors), pictures and play to get me into my inner kid.
    * Lastly simply trusting in myself because within me is a higher nature that has infinite possibilities – creativity being one of the highest of human expressions.

  6. I’m always very inspired by the fact that each of our own unique experiences allows us to generate content that no one else can create. Our own platform to the world through which we can share our knowledge and be relevant and useful to others.

    Really great points Chris and thanks for the mention! :-)

  7. Thank you very much Chris. This article motivated me a lot. :-)

  8. Chris, I think you’ve read my mind with this post. Often creativity isn’t obvious and with a point and a perspective writing emerges. My best content ideas come from problems expressed by a potential customer and my thought process in developing a solution that is easy for them. As writers inspiration comes from many sources, paying attention to the triggers is the hardest part. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  9. Hi Chris, as a copywriter it’s my job to be creative :-)

    And some days the ideas flow, while other days I get tied up in the belief that creativity has to be totally original (which as you say it doesn’t).

    I agree the key to embracing your creative self is to realise your personality and perspective is what’s unique. Your individuality and experience can give an existing idea a fresh spin because no one else can tell it in the way you can. You can weave in anecdotes and case studies that are unique to your business and your client base. In addition, you can also show how to apply an existing idea to your niche, and again put your own stamp on it.

    It seems modern technology, blogging and social media have made this type of creativity much more possible, and even if you’re a very small business, you can still make a big impact.

    I think these are exciting times to be creative in business :-)