So, What is New?
When you encounter something creative, do you find that it’s delighted or provoked you in a way you hadn’t expected? Maybe it surprises you, as something you hadn’t seen, heard of, or thought of before?
In other words, does it seem new to you?
This quality of newness is an essential aspect of creativity. It may be the newness of something you experience; or it could be a startling new idea that comes to you in your imagination. Regardless, the importance of newness to creativity can’t be overstated.
Creativity and Newness/Novelty
In sweeping terms, creativity is the bringing of something new into the world, from the work of nature to the artifacts of human culture across millennia, to the innovations that are emerging all around us, continually shaping our world today.
In individual terms, as a creative person, this generating of newness or novelty comes from you. You conceive it, cultivate awareness for it, channel it, materialize it, shape it, and synthesize it.
So it becomes super important that you’re comfortable with all of this newness. You need to be open to novelty, and you need to be able to regularly seek out sources of newness in order to generate new creative material to work with.
Openness to Experience
Openness to novelty has been identified as one of the three main affective, or emotional, skills that support creativity and creative thinking.
And, being open to new things is, in turn, one way of being open to our experiences. This may seem like an obvious point, one not worth drawing attention to. However, “openness to experience” is actually quite significant in the world of psychology. It’s included as one of the “Big 5 Personality Traits” in the Five-Factor Theory of personality. Among those five traits, “openness to experience” just happens to be the one that correlates the most closely with creativity.
So, if you’re connecting the dots here, you can see how being open to novelty leads to conditions that are favorable for creativity, which is all about bringing something new into the world.
Trying New Things
As a creative person, in order to keep yourself humming along in this space of being comfortable with novelty and generating new ideas, it’s essential that you DO new things — that you expose the photographic plate of your creative imagination to new experiences, new thoughts, new sensations, new awareness, and new points of view on a regular basis.
This does a couple of things: it keeps expanding your tolerance for novelty. “New and different” can equate to potentially foreign and threatening, by the way. This is why we can’t take “openness to novelty” for granted, as though it’s a walk in the park. It’s not. We’re wired to be suspicious of what we don’t recognize or understand.
Secondly, trying new things on a regular basis increases the variety of raw material you have to work with in coming up with your own creative products or ideas. It gives you more to play with.
I encourage you to really focus on this idea of trying new things. Practice it on a regular basis. Make it an objective. Only then can you be assured that you will have a constant stream of new inputs to fuel your creative inspirations, and that you’re maintaining a position of openness to novelty, which is so important for supporting your creative efforts.
“Try New Things” is the first step I recommend for being able to fluently access your creativity. If you’re interested in learning more, I have a guide on “Four Proven Steps to Activate Your Creativity on Demand” that goes into more detail on additional steps you can take. You can get the link to download the guide for free here. You’ll need to enter and confirm your email, and the download link will be sent.
Until then, go out and try something new — today! 🙂