A good friend of mine is fond of reminding me that meetings are not outcomes. How hard it is to avoid being distracted – or, even worse, satisfied – by the process of change rather than focusing on meaningful outcomes. This article by James Clear, takes a different perspective: neither process nor outcome is the be-all and end-all. Creativity allows us to express ourselves, even if only to ourselves.
Clear argues that setting ourselves challenges within very demanding constraints propels us into a creative mode that is more free, less process-driven, than Dweck’s ‘growth mind-set’. Working within a small space, be it conceptual or environmental, makes us resourceful, according to Clear. And the discipline of doing it, regularly, repeatedly, broadens our knowledge.
Besides self-imposed constraints and consistent effort, Clear offers a couple more strategies to develop creative thinking. Sleep and sunshine both have proven benefits which are easy to understand. On a recent trip to a botanical centre, my wife pointed out it was the first time I’d seen so much natural green in weeks. Putting the pixels away is good for the eyes; feeling soft grass under your feet is good for the soul, too. And then it doesn’t matter what outcome you’ve been struggling for or what process you thought was holding you up, your creativity will lead you both to different methods and unexpected results.