If You Want To Be More Creative, Do This First

Boost Cognition, Cacophony and Cheating

A picture may paint a thousand words, but that sort of painting will no longer happen in this newsletter. It seems that pictures in emails add more than just a thousand extra words. They also trigger spam detectors and other creative AI thingies that are designed to make life better for us but don’t.

From now on you will have to “picture this” without pictures from me. But don’t fret. I will give you three words to boost your creative picturing of this and of that.

Cognition. Cacophony. Cheating.


Believe Differently To Create Insight

A long, long time ago two shoe-salesmen went to Africa. (Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. And often. But have you heard it with a cognition spin? Thought not.) (And they were men. Hence, not “salespeople.”)

As I was saying, a long, long time ago two shoe-salesmen went to Africa. Soon the one wrote to his boss, “Coming home. People don’t wear shoes.” The other telegraphed his office. “Urgent. Send shoes. Huge untapped market.”

Both were looking at the same market, but seeing it differently. (Their mental process of acquiring information and making sense of it differed greatly. Or, if you will allow me, their cognitions were contrary.)

Peter Drucker once wrote that selling refrigerators to Eskimos to keep food cold is one thing. But selling fridges to Eskimos to keep food from freezing is creative.

Unless you understand the relationship between people, objects and their environment, you will believe that Eskimos don’t need fridges. (Even though Eskimos could use something which will prevent food from freezing while keeping it fresh.)

And you will believe that people who don’t wear shoes don’t need shoes.

Do you think that seeing is believing? Don’t. Scientific evidence shows that if you believe something, chances are you will see it. (Seen any UFOs lately?)

No doubt, seeing differently creates insight. But you won’t see differently unless you first open your mind to different ways of believing.


To Be Creative, Create Coffee Shop Clatter

What is it about coffee shops that so many people like to “work” there? It’s not the coffee because, as an espresso drinker, I must say that few of the concoctions that I see displayed on coffee shop tables look like coffee to me.

Is it the companionship, reminiscent of old drinking halls and smoking dens? No, that cannot be, because loners possess most of the tables. (If you’ve seen them like I’ve seen them, then you’ll agree that “possess” is the accurate term in both meanings of the word.)

Surprisingly, it is the cacophony of the place that makes it work as a workplace. The constant clatter of crockery and cutlery, the background music mixed with many muted mumbles, all contribute to making you mentally sharper and even more creative.

Does your boss still need convincing? Then quote the scientific research led by Ravi Mehta which shows that we think better when distracted with modest background noise.

Correct. Cubicle clamor and household hubbub do not boost creativity. Noise is noise.


Don’t Tell, but Cheating Boosts Creativity

Demands for more creativity at work have me very worried about the future of our society.

I am against the silly notion called “think outside the box.” Unless there are boundaries and constraints on your thinking, your creativity will unlikely be practical enough to be useful.

And now it seems that the lack of boundaries and constraints can even be dangerous. Here’s why.

Cheating can boost creativity.

(That’s according to experiments conducted by Dr Gino of Harvard University and Dr Wiltermuth of the University of Southern California.)

It gets worse.

Apparently the link between creativity and dishonesty is a flexible attitude to rules. This implies that creative people tend to ignore rules. Or that to be creative, you should ignore rules. (Pick one.)

Demand creativity at work if you must, but be ready for disobedience, insurrection and revolution. You have been warned.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.


The Nonsense At Work website has been redesigned. Take a look. And I have also fiddled with my “formal” coaching site. (It is amazing what one can get done when one ignores what one must get done.)

Previous post you may have missed: Why You Should Aim for the Power of the Easy Way

The most recent Friday Trigger Q: Will you (still) dream big?


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