“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein (allegedly...).
A certain world is reassuring. Habits, routines, patterns, familiarity. There isn’t the fear of the unknown, the unease of potential mishap and failure that goes hand-in-hand with creative pursuits. In childhood, you may have been told by parents or teachers to do things in a certain way - ‘the right way’. Research has consistently found that teachers often dislike the personality traits associated with creative pupils. This may be understandable when faced with a class full of young people all needing to be taught a set curriculum for an exam of which the teacher’s skills will also be judged. As creativity may manifest itself as risk-taking, ‘doing things differently’, and resistance to authority, it can be shut down in educational settings.
To add to the fear factor, dictionary definitions and ingrained perceptions of creativity can be misleading. It is hinted as an exclusive trait, something that people possess or do not. As Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the recently published ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ describes, people may become anxious by the word creativity, having “fallen for the myth that it only belongs to the special, the tormented and the professional”. People can be afraid of doing things in a wrong or different way, risking potential failure and rejection. It can be hard to swim against the current and go against the crowd. And not all creative ideas are original, marketable or groundbreaking. It is no wonder that for a variety of reasons, people may grow to be fearful of allowing themselves to engage in creative thinking. But this is dangerous state of affairs, and particularly salient for business innovation.
Creativity is vital for an advancing, well functioning society and economy. People need to transcend current ways of doing and look at problems in different ways. For innovation, we require individuals to detect links between ideas and patterns and make changes in light of ‘bigger picture’ interpretations. This is a markedly different, yet complimentary, thinking style to the logical, systematic thinking that hallmarks the ‘rational mind’ as described by Einstein. Without a creative component to business and decision making, effective innovation is unlikely. And if people have this fear of creativity, it follows that innovation will be hampered.
A key component of creative thinking is the use of intuition and intuitive hunches; intangible, non-conscious associations, often described as ‘gut feelings’. When intuition is incorporated into thinking and decisions, a more holistic analysis of a situation can be achieved. This is likely to result in a more considered and strategic outcome.
The Decision Profile is unique in the realm of psychometric assessments for its ability to extract people’s use of intuitive hunches within their decision making. This assessment provides an in depth analysis of decision making, shining a spotlight on potential areas of development and use of intuition. What has often been found in Decision Profile results is that people report experience of intuitive hunches, yet do not incorporate these into their decision making. They are hesitant in trusting their hunches, and therefore do not view a situation in as balanced and holistic way as they could. And as creativity goes in hand in hand with intuition, people are not decision making as creatively as they could be. It can be very illuminating for people to see how they make decisions, and if they are incorporating their intuition. From there, individual and group decision making can be further explored and developed.
Allowing yourself to think creatively can be scary. Knowing how you incorporate intuitive hunches into your decisions is an excellent step to developing your decision making and how you view the world. Gilbert recommends people to ‘have a little conversation with your fear’ when it begins to rear its ugly head.
Thinking creatively isn’t going to harm you or anyone else. It could improve your business strategy in substantial ways, and give your own personal wellbeing a nice boost too.
Visit www.decisionprofile.com to explore how you make decisions.
Katy Davies Business Psychologist and Decision Profile Consultant Thompson Dunn Ltd.