09/15/2014 04:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

3 Essential Traits to Enhance Your Creative Side

Bernd Opitz via Getty Images


Best selling author and TED fellow, Sir Ken Robinson knows a few things about creativity. He's spent the better part of his life in research, writing and application teaching people all over the world how to find their "element. That is, that place where we belong. Like a fish to water or a bird in the air, Sir Ken says that finding our element is essential, not only to success in life and business but in finding our higher purpose.

Creativity is a critical trait no matter what your endeavor. But what is creativity? Where do we find it? And how do we get to a place where we can harness its power? In this exclusive video interview and episode of Behind the Brand, I talked with Sir Ken about his own journey and thoughts on the subject.

Here's my takeaway and a few opinions. First, Sir Ken defines creativity this way: "Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value."

He is also quick to point out that creativity is not just found with those who are in the arts or publicly call themselves artists. From mathematicians to plumbers, everyone is capable of having brilliant original ideas that deliver value in their particular niche.

From my experience, here are the Three Essential Traits to Enhance Your Creative Side:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable:

Original ideas and the solutions to problems that follow may not always come when we want them. This feeling of not being in control can be unsettling to say the least, especially with impending doom or other deadlines approaching with each tick of the clock. But I've found that I can't force creativity. When I lean into my feelings of anxiety and just continue to calmly try and figure out solutions, they (eventually) come and sometimes when I least expect it. For example, a lot of my best ideas have come while I was driving or in the shower.

2. Say "no" to nothing at first...
When I'm writing to develop a new show concept or video strategy, I just throw it all down first. Anything that pops into my mind gets written down, then organized, prioritized or deleted later. If you create barriers right off the bat, you might have perfectionist syndrome where you're trying to get it perfectly right before you're even close to creating a bit of magic. Sir Ken reminded me that the definition of innovation is, "putting original ideas into practice." Create a laboratory and work out your experiments. Fail fast and keep trying until you find the right combination for success.

3. Don't listen to critics
Steve Pressfield calls it "the resistance." The resistance might come from your family, friends or colleagues if you're trying something out of your comfort zone (or theirs) or breaking the status quo. But as Pressfield explains, most often it is the negative voice in our head that is afraid to try something new. Why do we let fear or criticism paralyze us?

Are we afraid of what others will think? Do we fear reprocussions like public humiliation, loss of reputation and other forms of shame? When we can identify what really scares us and weigh the actual risks vs reward, we are on our way to overcoming it. One of the indicators that tells me whether or not I'm on the right path to creativity and innovation is if I get a lot of pushback on an idea. Stick with it. Work it out. And ignore the nay-say'ers.

What do you think is an essential trait to uncovering more of your creative side? Tweet me @BryanElliott or leave a comment below. To get free access to the full library of videos, don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel here: