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Being Creative Takes Practice

 

Being creative takes practice

Being creative takes practice

“WE’RE GOING LEFT FLANKING!!” The enemy had opened up on my lead section and I had rushed up next the section commander to see what was going on. We were on a rise looking down into a wooded area where the enemy had opened up on my platoon. The lead section was returing fire rapidly to keep their heads down. The adrenaline was coursing through my body as I rapidly thought about how we were going to take out enemy.There was a lot of noise and smoke, people shouting at me for orders.

The ‘book’ says leave leave one section of your platoon and take the other two sections to flank the enemy. But I decided that I had the advantage over them in a big way, both physically and mentally. I was going to smash them. To the enemy’s rear and to our right I could see they had left their transport exposed. It was likely that they were going to withdraw to it and try to escape when I launched the main attack. But I was not going to let that happen.

“JONES! TAKE YOUR FIRE TEAM TO THE RIGHT. GET UP CLOSE TO THEIR WAGON USING THAT DITCH! WHEN I GIVE YOU THE SIGNAL, I WANT YOU TO DESTROY THEIR TRANSPORT WITH GRENADES. AND IF THEY TRY TO WITHDRAW YOU WILL ACT AS CUT OFF AND TAKE THEM OUT. WE’LL START THE MAIN ATTACK FROM YOUR LEFT SO KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN WHEN YOU HAVE DESTROYED THEIR WAGON!”

And that was it. That was the first time that someone told me that they thought I was in any way creative after that action. I felt nervous because I had not carried out the platoon attack ‘by the book.’ Fortunately, this was not a real enemy and we were just using blank ammunition. I was twenty-two and I was in Wales on an exercise during the British Army’s ‘Platoon Commander’s Battle Course.’ My instructor wrote in his report that he thought that I had “tactical flair.” My commanding officer was impressed.

But I hear the phrase “I’m not very creative” all the time from friends and colleagues, and it is an unfortunate belief which inhibits people from doing fabulous work. I admit that I used to say that about myself. The word ‘creative’ is often misinterpreted. I used to think it meant that I had to be a designer or an architect. But, of course, it does not mean that at all.

Being creative is something which has many levels of meaning. There are artists and musicians, designers, fashion designers and chefs who are creative, as well as sportsmen and women. But that does not mean that creativity is an exclusive club to them. It just means that they have practiced harder than most people and that they have found something they love doing and they become obsessive about it.

These days, I am often told that I have a lot of ideas, energy and enthusiasm for what I do. But there is no secret behind being creative. For me being creative begins with listening to a lot of radio, watching good TV programs on a variety of subjects, reading newspapers and blogs, learning about new trends and working out how they work, as well as trying out ideas, many of which have failed, and talking with lots of people to understand what they do.

Most people are not prepared to put in the time that it needs to do this kind of study and practice. Take blogging, for instance. Many people say they don’t have anything interesting to say. That’s simply not true. Most people have lots of interesting things to say and ideas to share. But they simply don’t practice by trying.

Of course, you can feel a little exposed to criticsm when you first start writing a blog or articles. But, the more you write, the more you understand how to improve your articles and entries by listening to people’s feedback and comments. “Where do you get your ideas?” I get them from everywhere.

For instance, I was standing at a pelican crossing in my local town at the weekend when I saw a sign outside one of the dwindling number of estate agencies which said “We have twelve computer linked offices in the county!” OK, I thought, that’s a feature of your business. Who cares if your offices are computer linked. What does that mean? I felt an article about how local businesses could improve their marketing coming along!

So don’t think that creativity is not for you. It is not an exclusive club. You are creative. If you don’t think you are, then you have not practised enough.

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