Don’t Use Goals To Force Creativity

Don’t Use Goals To Force Creativity
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We like to think that creativity is a spigot you can turn on and off, but it just doesn’t work that way for most of us. Over on FiveThirtyEight, they take a look at some of the research behind creativity and suggest shying away from using goals in an attempt to focus your ambition.

Photo by laffy4k.

Work and life often force us to put objectives and goals on creative endeavours, and that’s certainly still ok. But try to leave room for novelty while you’re at it. Speaking with researcher Scott Barry Kaufman, FiveThirtyEight has this to say:

Although this openness to new ideas might sound like just waiting around for serendipity to strike, it’s a more deliberate process… Simonton’s research has similarly shown that the best predictor of creative achievement is an openness to experience and cognitive exploration…None of this means that goals don’t have a place, but they’re not a great driver of creativity. Rather than beginning with a specific goal, most creative people “start out with with a hazy intuition or vision,” Kaufman told me. “After a lot of trial and error they get closer and closer to discovering what their idea is and then they become really, really gritty to flesh it out.”

End goals and objectives are obviously still necessary in a lot of cases, but when you’re trying to create something totally new, a goal often gets in the way of what you’re really trying to do. When you can afford the time, let a project go off in some weird directions.

Stop Trying to Be Creative [FiveThirtyEight]