Teaching Creativity

After finishing another incredible Empower U program, I have been reflecting on one of the topics we cover over the course of the weekend, which is one of the keys to having strong conversation skills, forming relationships, problem solving and innovative ideas. This topic is ‘Creative Thinking’.

Creative thinking is one of the best skills a teenager can have. It can lead to business ideas, strong relationships and conversations, clearer ability to express themselves and more confidence. Throughout the 2-½ day Empower U Program, we play a number of games and activities to open our ‘Gatekeeper’. Our Gatekeeper is essentially the thing inside our brain, which stops thoughts from our subconscious entering into our conscious mind, halting our creativity. As we get older, that Gatekeeper grows stronger. This is due to the negative references we may have built out of embarrassment of saying something wrong, or behaving out of what others consider acceptable.

So many of the participants that I see come through Empower U are so worried about what their peers may think of them and for many, they would rather keep quiet than risk saying something wrong. Their Gatekeepers are so built up by this fear that when we ask them to be creative and take their Gatekeeper down through a series of games and activities, many find it quite challenging. It may take a while, but once they loosen up and get into it, so often their confidence is boosted and they are far more willing to speak in front of everyone, have a guess at an answer, or just share their story and allow themselves to open up with other people.

So while Creative Thinking may not be the first thing that you think of when it comes to building confidence, conversational skills, and potentially even coming up with a profitable business idea… It is certainly a skill to foster.

The only catch is, you can’t be taught creativity but you can learn to become more creative again.

Creativity is something you’re born with. If anything, you unlearn it when you go to school and work, and suddenly develop those negative references around saying or doing the wrong thing. Therefore, the only way to pull the creativity out again is to develop positive references. At the Empower U Program, we can’t teach the participants creativity, but we certainly create the space and opportunity to let them open up and let their mind’s go crazy with possibilities.

For more information on the Empower U Program, head to www.tomorrowsyouth.com.au/empoweru/

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