Image by Daniel Hannah
There’s a saying that everyone has a book inside them. While I don’t know if that’s true, I do believe that everyone has something special to offer the world. Sadly, most people keep their gift hidden, even from themselves, and there are many reasons why this happens.
For some, the idea is too vague, they simply don’t know how to make it happen, or it might be a lack of self-belief. For others, they have no idea what they are meant to do. They just know they are here for a reason.
As our world becomes more automated, the inspired will be on top. Over time people will fit increasingly into boxes, and the creatives, the freethinkers, will stand out. Innovators will rule.
The inspired have already changed the world. They have brought us cars, planes and space rockets. They have achieved medical breakthroughs and made discoveries most of us would never imagine possible. Some were treated like oddballs or even lunatics at first – their ideas and dreams seemed crazy – but when their inspired ideas worked, they were hailed as heroes and suddenly everyone wanted to know their secret.
The sad truth is that for every crazy inventor or innovator who achieves renown, there are thousands if not millions of people with ideas that never see the light of day. Most people have the ability to make a dent in the universe, but sadly they won’t.
You Were A Child Genius – So What Happened?
A study commissioned by NASA to measure the creativity of their rocket scientists and engineers led to a surprising discovery: we are all born creative geniuses.
NASA employs some of the smartest people on the planet. They needed their key people to be highly creative, so brought in two specialists, Dr George Land and Beth Jarman, to develop a highly specialized divergent thinking test to measure the creativity of their rocket scientists and engineers.
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The test was a huge success in identifying their most creative thinkers. It also proved to be very simple to perform, and allowed them to conduct further studies. Intrigued by the results, Land and Jarman posed the question: What was the source of creativity? Could it be genetic? Based on life experience? Or perhaps something else entirely?
The pair then conducted the test on 1,600 children between the ages of four and five. The results were astonishing: 98 percent were in the creative genius category. Five years later, the same children’s results had rapidly declined to just 30 percent – a 68 percent reduction.
The same study was conducted again five years later, on the same group of kids – by now in high school – and they had dropped all the way down to just 12 percent. After numerous studies, the findings showed that less than 2 percent of all adults (average age 31) scored at genius level. “What we have concluded”, wrote Land, “is that non-creative behaviour is learned.” (See: https://ideapod.com/born-creative-geniuses-education-system-dumbs-us-according-nasa-scientists/ and https://www. creativityatwork.com/2012/03/23/can-creativity-be-taught/.)
The good news is your creativity is not lost. It is just lying dormant, waiting to be reawakened. (Editor's Note: See video at the end of this article for a TedTalk presentation by Dr. George Land on success and creativity)
The Imagination of a Child
Oh, to have the imagination of a six-year-old child! Because in that imagination lie the genius ideas, the answers to problems and the innovative ways forward. Kids don’t censor – and that is the big difference between adults and children. Children allow their imagination to flow free.
When we free-flow, some of what we come up with will be gobbledegook, but hidden within it could be the odd stroke of genius. The key is to let it flow, and see where it leads us. Not to filter it. Some of the smartest people I have met allow their creative mind free reign. They play with ideas. They have fun!
According to Dr Stephanie Carlson, an expert in childhood brain development at the University of Minnesota, children spend up to two-thirds of their time in non-reality, i.e. imaginative play. Dr Carlson found that using your imagination by pretending gives you the edge in problem solving, allowing you to see things from a different angle – and more creatively.
The Genius Younger You
There was a time when you were young and your creative genius was at its highest. You allowed it free reign to twist and turn. It flowed and had fun and sometimes didn’t make any sense at all – and at others, it was pure genius. We are going to travel back to that time and tap into your childhood genius.
EXERCISE: TAP INTO YOUR CHILDHOOD GENIUS
I want you to imagine you are floating high in the air, looking down on a road, and that road represents your life up to this present time. As you look down on your path, know that the beginning of the road is the day you were born, and it runs right up to your present moment, exactly where you are floating right now. Drift above your road and look back along it to your past.
As you linger gently above that path, which is your life, gazing back toward the beginning, know that you are gazing through time, and in a moment you are going to move through time , above your path, back to the exact point where you were at your most creative.
Use your instincts: your unconscious knows exactly where to stop. Allow your unconscious mind to find the answers because it knows precisely where to look. Just float above that road – float back and back and back, until you are suspended above the precise time when your creative genius was at its highest. Look down now and be fully aware of how creative you were at that time.
Now begin to descend, and arrive at that time. See your younger self standing before you. Get a sense of what age you were at that time. The point in time when you were at your most creative. This is you. Feel the memories surface of the time when you were a creative genius.
Notice how it feels. Is it a warm feeling, calm, focused, exciting? Think of what words you would use to describe how you feel at that time.
How did your creativity manifest? What form did it take? Did you have a vivid imagination? Did you play? Perhaps you made up stories? Did you draw or paint? Maybe you loved music? Or perhaps you designed something? Did you build or make things?
Allow your mind to free-flow.
Were you uninhibited, allowing your creativity to free-flow? Maybe at times you became lost in thought.
I want you to remember what that felt like and bring that feeling to the fore. You still have your creative genius within you. As you bring up that memory, bring up the feeling with it, and allow that feeling to flow through your body. Take some time to play, and enjoy your creativity. What would the creativity of your younger self create today? What new ideas would it give you?
Now keep that energy and that feeling flowing through your body. Keep it with you as you float back to your present time.
You are now free to use your child genius creativity whenever you want it and whenever you need it. Take a moment to get used to it. Allow it to flow right now, allow it to have fun. What ideas does it have for you? Use it to deal creatively and freely with whatever you need right now, in your present time .
Know that now you have brought your childhood genius to the surface, you can use it any time you wish.
If you tap into your child genius every day, just for a few moments, it will keep getting stronger.
Travelling in Search of Creative Genius
Creativity can seem magical. We look at people like Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan, and we conclude they must possess supernatural powers denied to mere mortals like us. They are “creative types”. We’re not. But the truth is you can reconnect with your creative genius, once you know how.
Chris Baréz-Brown has been described by the Guardian newspaper as a long-haired, twinkly eyed cross between Richard Branson and a wizard. (See: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/07/go-for-walk-discover-meaning-life.)
Chris teaches people how to get their energy right, so they can get their extraordinary on. He has written bestselling books such as How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas, Shine: How to Survive and Thrive at Work and Free!: Love Your Work, Love Your Life. In 2017, he launched his latest mission: The Great Wake Up!
But let me backtrack to Chris’s previous career. On paper, he was extremely successful. The company he ran turned over a billion pounds and won the “brand of the year” award. His career was booming but he had a restlessness that he called, “an itch that he couldn’t scratch”.
Chris went in search of answers and did what most of us do at such times: he went on holiday, consulted his friends, read books and went on courses. But the underlying feeling of restlessness persisted. So Chris packed in his job, jumped on a plane and went travelling for a year.
He told me, “I discovered that getting off the merry-go-round helped me to see things with clarity and realize the world’s immense possibilities. I learned that we all have the gift of creative imagination, but we are never taught to use it properly.
“All too often our imaginations are only employed in the field of dreams. By dreaming we don’t advance our lives; we just live in an escapist world. Now I was using applied dreaming, that meant my creative efforts were not merely whimsical but productive. I was creating my options for my future.”
Chris played with different ideas, used different forms of stimuli and noted what reactions these created within him: “Every reaction gives us information. Either we want more of it or less of it. If we want more of it, then create it – it’s as simple as that.”
I asked Chris what we need to do to find our creativity. He replied, “When I ask my clients where they have their best ideas, they never say sitting at their desk. It is always while they are taking the dog for a walk, or jogging, or in the shower. When we travel, we decompress, we enter an existence where we are more creative.”
The speed of change is like never before – and that will continue. I often ask my clients how much their lives have changed in the last five years and they tell me it is beyond what they could have imagined. Well, life is not going to slow down in the near future. The world will keep accelerating and we need to know where we are heading. We need to be more aware of how to get our energy right every day and how this affects everything we do: how fulfilled we are, how creative we are and the impact we have on those around us...
Here are a few of Chris’s tips, which he generously shared with me:
- Our state is more important than any tool, technique or even our own abilities. Most people have their best ideas lying in bed, in the shower, walking the dog, in fact at any time that they are relaxed and having fun. If we get our state right for things we want to achieve, then everything else is easy...
- When experimenting with new things or creating new ideas, small groups work best. Keep it to a maximum of four people and it’s way easier to manage the energy of the group and the outputs you receive.
- Make sure there’s a reason to care about what you’re doing. It’s impossible to be impactful or creative without some type of emotional connection to the brief you’re working on.
- Talk it out. Go for a walk with a buddy and take it in turns to rant about the issue. We’ve created Talk It Out as a social enterprise that’s free for anyone to use, such is our belief that genius will come from your subconscious. (To find out more about Talk It Out, visit www.uppingyourelvis.com/talk-it-out.)
- Make it real. Bring your ideas to life and try them out practically and you will learn faster and improve them no end.
©2020 by Anne Jirsch and Conor Corderoy.
All Rights Reserved. Excerpted with permission.
Watkins Publishing, London, UK. www.watkinspublishing.com
Future Vision Your Working Life: 10 Strategies to Help You Get Ahead
by Anne Jirsch
Just imagine if you had something that gave you the edge, that steered you in the right direction, filtering out erroneous information, leaving you to focus fully on exactly what you need to know. Future Visioning is a unique tool that will allow you to anticipate the way forward in your career or business, but also help you to thrive and enjoy the journey. It will help you navigate the best path to your future. Fusing clinical hypnosis, visualization and intuition work Future Visioning will help you tread your future work path.
For more info, or to order this book, click here. (Also available as a Kindle edition.)
About the Author
Anne Jirsch is an international trainer and speaker, but she is best known as an intuitive, leading world pioneer of Future Life Progression (FLP). This technique uses a blend of clinical hypnosis and visualisation to guide clients into their own future to discover their best options regarding life choices. Anne’s FLP training company is now in 20 countries and she is regularly consulted by business leaders, Hollywood directors and politicians for advice. Visit Anne’s website to learn more www.annejirsch.com