5 Creative Habits for Better Problem Solving in 2023

Embracing our uniqueness and sharing it will make the world of difference in 2023. But, it can also make you feel vulnerable. Building creative habits this year can help you overcome the challenges you may face this year.

While people who embrace their differences are often labeled as misfits, weirdos, or oddballs, the reality is that we are all misfits in our own way.

Some of us just wear a better disguise in order to fit in or avoid ridicule. Why? To be like everyone else? Normal is overrated, but we have a strong evolutionary drive to fit in. It’s an obsolete operating system.

So, to stay relevant in 2023 and beyond, you need to confidently check your normal costume like a suitcase on an overbooked flight (to never be seen again – haven’t you seen the stories about checked baggage these days?)

We need creative minds to come up with resolutions to problems that are not yet solved. We need diverse opinions and perspectives, and environments that encourage free thought and creative problem solving.

We don’t need more robots, except to clean our floors.

Creativity for all and cheating with Artificial Intelligence (shh it’s still creative).

Creativity is a skill that we all possess. Creativity is not just for artists and knitting grandmas, it can be learned and developed.

The benefits of using your creativity are far-reaching. Increased happiness, resilience, job performance and satisfaction, confidence in uncertainty, golf handicap and more.

Okay, maybe it doesn’t affect your golf handicap, unless you are a creative scorekeeper.

Expressing our creativity can be hard. To share a fundamentally deep part of yourself with others feels risky.

But, to stay relevant in 2023 and beyond, we need to do new things, take risks, and find ways to solve our problems. And, although creativity can be used for good or evil, I hope you choose wisely.

Here’s an example of creativity that you can use today:

I wrote the paragraph above, but I’m lazy. I thought it was okay, but of course I did, because I don’t know any different. I put it into ChatGPT and got a duller response. So I asked it to improve the paragraph but keep the tone light and fun.

Pretty cool, no? Is that creativity? Well, I gave it the prompt, but I didn’t write it myself.

But, I can use AI as a prompt to help me think about problems in a new way, because AI doesn’t succumb to the same tunnel vision and unconscious bias (I hope) as humans.

Want to know the secret to how speakers overcome their fear of judgement to step on stage? Check out my series on Instagram where I interviewed speakers at the CAPS Conference to find out. 

Blue Monday: Gimmick or Genuine?

One example of evil creativity is the launch of Blue Monday. This is supposedly the day where we feel the worst all year, when the holidays are over and reality sets in.

This year Blue Monday falls on January 16, 2023.

The idea for Blue Monday was first introduced by the British media company Sky Travel in 2005, and is used by some companies to promote products that are supposedly designed to alleviate the symptoms of this fake holiday.

While it’s not a myth, it’s also not a holiday. It’s just something that marketers use so they can get you to buy more stuff. Just a way for companies to make profits by selling things we don’t need or want when we are feeling low.

Instead, spend time with friends, family, try a new hobby, meditate, or cook a healthy meal instead of buying into the marketing scheme.

Resolutions for a Better Year Ahead with Creativity

You might be considering your resolutions for a better year ahead.

And if you are someone who struggles with creativity, it might not be on your radar.

Take a chance on creativity, you might be amazed at the results.

Creativity starts with a creative mindset, and by embedding creative habits into your daily life. But it doesn’t have to feel like work. Creativity is fun and easy to practice, even when it is not easy, like the third batch of cookies that still taste like charred hot dog water.

Creativity is about seeing the world in a different way, about finding things that others might not see, and about seeing the potential in people and situations around you.

The good news is that creativity can be found anywhere—in nature, in a conversation, and especially just by being yourself. I can’t teach you how to be creative, because it is an elemental, human quality that happens right before your eyes, if you build the conditions for it to thrive.

Are you in? Read on to get some ideas to get the ball rolling.

Start Thinking More Creatively by Making These Simple Changes Today:

In my book “The Reluctant Creative: 5 Effortless Habits to Expand your Comfort Zone,” I distill years of study and experience into simple habits you can do in only a few minutes a day.

I guarantee* that if you practice these habits every day, you will start seeing more solutions to unsolvable problems, you’ll experience more joy in seemingly mundane and ordinary experiences, and you will start skipping to work. Ok, maybe you’ll just smile more at work. (Skipping is optional but encouraged, especially while wearing a tutu).

The habits spell the word DANCE.

So, if you forget all the habits, you can just…..dance, which will get your creative juices flowing anyway, with some music and self expression and exercise.

Creative Habit 1: Daydreaming

Leaders shift in their seats and managers look at me side-eyed when I bring up the importance of daydreaming.

But, did you know that your mind wanders 30-50% of the time anyway?

And, that you can actually improve the productivity of your daydreaming with some simple techniques? Things like daydreaming about a problem you want to solve, or considering a fantastical situation like living as a unicorn on Mars.

These techniques actually engage your Default Mode Network which help you get those elusive “Eureka” moments.

It doesn’t feel like anything, but you are possibly doing everything. I use the analogy of launching a spaceship into the universe of your mind, and the spaceship silently travels the galaxies in search of skills, knowledge, stories, experiences, that can be collected and made into a new solution. So, next time your mind is wandering, you can tell your boss you are engaging in Productive Daydreaming™️, thank you very much, and please will they close the door on their way out.

Pro tip: do your daydreaming while looking out of a window at a nature scene, or while taking a walk outside. Your boss will never follow you out there (especially if you start talking to yourself). But they might send security.

Creative Habit 2: Ambiguity

Humans hate ambiguity and uncertainty, which is why binge watching whole TV series has become a thing, and why Uber was so successful.

Apparently, Uber’s quick success was more related to the ability to see exactly when your driver will arrive, watching the progress in real time as they near Joe’s Crab Shack to pick you up and take you home.

Uncertainty affects the way we respond to people, our biases, and our decisions. Not in a good way. Because when we feel uncertain, we jump back to solutions that have worked in the past. We jump into action to resolve the discomfort of feeling unsure, and continue patterns of behaviour without thinking.

This might be a good thing if we lived in caves and were eating berries (not those ones, they will kill you), but in a turbulent and volatile world where things are changing? What worked yesterday might not even work tomorrow.

Creativity requires a pause in face of ambiguity, a mindfulness around when our outdated instincts kick in, and an intention to evaluate our actions with a fresh perspective.

Creative Habit 3: Novelty

If you do the same things all the time, you won’t have a very interesting universe brain.

Your galaxies will be tired, your asteroids outdated, and the intergalactic infrastructure lacking.

When you try new foods, make new friends, and have intercultural experiences, you add stars, planets, and Starlink satellites to your brain universe.

Then, when you daydream engage in Productive Daydreaming™️, your spaceship has so many places to stop and collect unique ideas to collate into an amazing AHA!

Creative Habit 4: Curiosity

If you can’t ask yourself how things could be different, how can you think differently? Curiosity is the foundation of creativity.

Looking at things with a beginner’s eyes allows you to see things in a new way, instead of accepting the way things are at face value.

It’s easy to be curious, just pretend to be a kindergartener or toddler (the WHY WHY WHY chant is optional but encouraged). 

Creative Habit 5: Edit Later

Hemingway is quoted as saying “Write Drunk, Edit Sober”.

You don’t need to drink to be creative, but the idea of loosening your inhibitions when you are trying to think of ideas is important.

Idea generation is called Divergent Thinking. There is no bad idea.

Unfortunately, we self edit our ideas before we say then, and even then we don’t speak up because we worry about what others will think. A trick used by creative problem solvers is to think of ideas that will get you fired.

Once you have completed the divergent thinking portion of the program, you will need to choose an idea to move forward with. This is the convergent phase.

It is very important to separate the divergent from the convergent phase. Divergent thinking should be unfiltered, unrestricted, unlimited. Then, move to convergent thinking where assumptions are tested, challenges are posed, and a selection of an idea is made.

Start Building Tiny Habits Instead of Big Resolutions

If you want to speak out at meetings more, and bring more of your “you-ness” to work and into relationships, start with the basics.

Courage takes practice. You can’t get to the courage Olympics by sitting on the couch.

Creativity is a bootcamp for facing uncertainty, probably failure, and immunity against judgement from others.

Start with one or two of the 5 habits in the first week, and build on that in the second week.

And remember:
You don’t eat an elephant in one sitting, but one bite at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
Success is a staircase, not a doorway.
Don’t eat yellow snow.

Finally, I found this quote from a wise sounding guy called Mike on therandomvibez.com in a list of quotes about baby steps. I loved it immediately.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.

Mike Murdock

*To collect on the guarantee please provide your birth certificate, report cards from grades 1-12, and reference letter from Steven Tyler saying that you were a complete and utter creative bozo prior to reading this article. Then, send a self-addressed envelope, including your school picture from grade 2, notarized on the back that it looked like you in grade 2, as well as a manifesto written in Times New Roman 12-point font with APA reference style listing the ways that the habits didn’t work. Don’t forget to include your daily, minute by minute agenda of what you were doing every minute and when you practised the habits, notarized (obviously). Upon receipt of these items and with satisfactory proof, I’ll send you a letter in the mail apologizing that you are still a creative bozo. And a box of chocolates.

Learn more about the 5 habits for better problem solving in 2023 in my LinkedIn Live how to have a great new year without resolutions - with creativity!

Use creativity to find new solutions to old problems, face uncertainty with confidence and DANCE your way into the new year with a creative mindset!

**A replay is available at the below links

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What habit will you try today to face the future with courage tomorrow?

How will you change your life so that you don’t look back and wish you had lived a life true to who you are, instead of what others expected?

I’ve got your back.

Need help? Reach out anytime, I’m in your corner.