Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Creativity and Love

I've been reading a business fable by Steve Farber lately, it's called the The Radical Leap, a personal lesson in extreme leadership. It's an interesting book and what resonates with me in particular is the whole idea of love being a central aspect of effective leadership. It's been politically incorrect to talk about love in a business context as far back as I can remember and I really admire Steve for making the case for it. I believe, as Steve does, that love is essential to leadership, and that it helps create transcendent businesses.

I want to take the case for love into the world of creative thinking. I want to state for the record the simple idea that love enables creativity. It enables it in yourself and it enables it in others.

If you want innovation, you need creativity. If you want to stimulate creativity, in yourself and in others, you need love.

Here's my logic to support the statement. Creative thought happens best when we are feeling light hearted, curious, and when we have an open mind to possibilities and options. Brain research indicates that creative thought is a higher order of thinking than logical/rational thought.

That space, that state of mind where wonderful ideas happen, is not such an easy place to get to. The harder we try the more elusive it becomes, when faced with the fear of a difficult challenge, it often feels impossible to get into that creative head-space.

DeBono says we cannot come up with a fresh idea through logic alone. A challenge is in our head, and then a solution spontaneously occurs to us. When we think more about it the logic becomes apparent. It's logical in retrospect.

As an improvisor I know that when I "think" in a scene all is lost. The scene has already gone by me and what I think of as clever comes across as inauthentic to the audience. On the other hand, when I simply "do" and react to others in a scene without thinking, spontaneous things happen. I'm with the flow of the scene and ideas just pop out.

Okay, here's the love connection.

When we experience love, from others, or even better, within ourself, it can put us into a secure place. It's a thinking step up from fear and panic. From that secure place we can in a relaxed way ask our mind for ideas to answer the challenge or problem in front of us. We begin to play with ideas. So, from love we remove fear and reduce anxiety, we step up into a higher order of thinking about everything, we open the doors to allow our subconscious to suggest ideas to us. With love in our hearts and love for what we are thinking about we're motivated, we're unblocked and good ideas are likely to happen for us.

The Beatles were right. All we need is love.

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