December 20. “Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity.” (Gerhard Gschwandtner)
In some parts of my life, I can be a fairly creative problem solver. In other parts of my life, I see problems as heavily reinforced concrete walls that are un-scalable and impenetrable.
When I am at work, for instance, I tend to be fairly creative when solving problems related to schedules, solving issues and managing risks. I am great at seeing a novel approach that might work well. Sometimes that novel approach helps me or others to see our way around a problem and gets us back on the right track.
When it comes to solving financial problems, though, I tend to see that wall. When a project is trending over budget, or just when the financial reports don’t add up the way I think they should, I start to see the wall. My palms get sweaty, my head starts to hurt. I cannot conjure up any creativity and instead I tend to try to push through the problem with a figurative battering ram. Sometimes that brute force works, but most often it just leads to more frustration until someone else can help me see the creative way around.
For me, whether I am able to be creative to solve problems really comes down to my comfort zone. When I am doing something I enjoy, or at least where I have attained a high level of comfort, I can look at a problem and keep that creative eye wide open. I look forward to trying to move forward, and see the problem as an opportunity to try something new. But when I am out of that comfort zone, that’s when problems become walls.
I suppose I am no different from anyone else in this regard. I think we all tend to see problems as opportunities when we are working on something we enjoy, or where we have attained a level of comfort. And I am betting that when most of us are doing something well outside our zone, which we really dislike, that’s when creativity can grind to a halt.
Today my reflection is on how I can look past my prejudices about things I don’t enjoy doing, and see ways to approach them more creatively when problems arise. As I am heading into the new year, full of goals both personal and professional, I will benefit greatly if I can do more that’s outside me comfort zone, and do it with my creativity intact.