Quick Demonstration of Creativity Problem Solving

Let me demonstrate how fundamental problem solving is to creativity. Actually, you're going to have to help me demonstrate it. Here's what I'd like you to do.

Ready? Be creative. That's it. Be creative.

Go ahead. Put the book down if you must. Now be creative. Come on. What are you waiting for? Be creative, for pity's sake. Have you done it yet? Are you ready to give up?

When I do this with people at my seminars, one of two things happens. The thing that happens about 99 percent of the time is nothing. I'll pick on someone in the front row. I'll say, "Please be creative for us." And that poor, pathetic soul just sits there wishing he or she had never sat in the front, wondering what you're supposed to do when asked to "be creative."

See? You're not alone in having a hard time figuring out how to be creative out of the blue. Without a problem, that is. These on-

the -spot victims look around for answers, with looks that say, "What am I supposed to do?" "I'll give it a shot." "I'll try to be creative for you." "But just exactly what am I supposed to do?"

Think about it. How can you possibly be creative without a context? And for all intents and purposes that context is a problem.

The other 1 percent of the time when I ask that person in the front row to "please be creative for us," I get the same look of shock, the hesitation, and the self-consciousness. But some people can only handle that awkward silence so long, and these individuals might stand up and make weird faces or wacky gestures or offer up strange sounds like a wounded duck or something. It's not a pretty sight. Basically, that individual created a problem to solve.

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