One of the most fundamental things to success which is generally overlooked is the creative process. Or creativity in general really. The Independent recently reported that new government figures showed that the creative industries such as film, music, art and other creatives generate around £84 billion a year. That is a staggering £10 million an hour!
When you consider the success of JK Rowling with her Harry Potter stories you can see how this works. A lot of people are employed in the creative industries and that number is growing. Entertainment is big business, people love to be entertained. Whether it is reading books or ebooks including comics, watching films or TV shows, listening to music and going to gigs or going to events like the theatre or art exhibitions –– people love to do fun stuff.
I want to talk to about being creative and the creative process. I am not going to focus on the actual creative industries such as writing or making music as I have covered those before in great detail, today I am going to talk about the creative process for business and success.
The creative process is by far the most powerful and important part of any business. It it that process where all of the best ideas and solutions come from. It is also one of the things that is most overlooked.
What do I mean by that?
If I was to give advice to youngsters at a school I would use gang violence as the main example.
Gangsta Rappers & Knife Crime London
I grew up listening to a lot of early Hip Hop and Rap and so I would always be frustrated when I would see the news reporting another senseless death on the streets of our cities. London was having an epidemic of knife killings as the number of local gangs grew. Youngsters with so much potential and unused talents were killed because of stupidity and misunderstanding of basic principles – and rap music often got the blame.
Youngsters were idolising Gangsta rappers from the US like 50 Cent and Dr Dre while watching violent gangster films made by Hollywood. Youngsters would ‘copy’ their lifestyles and what they saw in the films. (I know the gang issues are a lot more complicated than just copying rappers and also things like poverty and unemployment play a big part but stick with me here.)
One sad story was a young lad was murdered in or near a chip shop for disrespecting a gang member, that disrespect was actually a snap response to constant bullying and disrespect from the gangs themselves. It was and probably still is getting out of hand.
Many youngsters are now locked away for years for killing people for one reason or another. Many of them will now spend most of their adult lives behind bars and when they are eventually released they will struggle in the new outside world because they missed so much of it. All because they didn’t think things through properly.
Some of these gang members responsible for serious violent crimes posted videos to YouTube showing themselves rapping in the style of their American Gansta rapping heroes. They were imitating and trying to act and behave like these rappers, they wanted the money, fame and the success that they had –– but here is where they got it so wrong.
Misunderstanding The Gangsta Rappers Success
The Gansta rappers of the US mainly spoke about how life used to be, the life they were trying to get away from. Occasionally they may have a beef with other rappers and say things like ‘what they may do’ but that was only as lyrics. What the youngsters were missing was that these rappers and DJs were spending their spare time avoiding trouble and practicing their craft.
They were engaging the creative process thinking up new lyrics, they were practicing their rapping skills, they were in the studio making music and creating beats, they were going to freestyle rap battles at clubs. They were not going out looking for trouble, they were trying to escaping that lifestyle. They were focused on the creative process. The process which took them to fame and fortune.
Dr Dre lost a brother to gang violence back in the early 80s and his mother tried her hardest to keep him away from the gangs. He turned to music; first being the DJ in the World Class Wreckin Cru then moving on to the legendary N.W.A. He is now one of the world’s wealthiest paid music producers with his name behind a range of speakers and headphones which was recently purchased by Apple for $3billion in cash and stocks.
World Class Wreckin Cru ft. Dr. Dre – Surgery
Dr Dre went from gangland Compton to becoming a billionaire rapper.
The reason many Gangsta rappers become successful is because of the music they make, the songs they record and the performances they do. The very same reason JK Rowling is a very wealthy author, they decided to use their creativity and focus on that alone.
It was never the gang lifestyle that made them successful. The time spent in gangs may have toughened them up and made them more determined to succeed but the actual gang banging would not have done them anygood. If they had continued in that lifestyle they would probably have ended up in prison or worse – dead.
That is why so many youngsters are in jail here in the UK for knife crimes because they focused on the gang lifestyle itself and not actually used their creativity. They simply did not think clearly or properly.
To idolise and copy your heroes is one thing but to do it wrongly is dangerous and for many youngsters they were so far off the mark it has ruined their lives.
The creative process is so important to business as this is where the good ideas come from. All businesses, films, books and pieces of music came from an idea generated by the creative process.
People Simply Don’t Think.
The late Nobel Prize winning Dr Albert Schweitzer was asked in an interview many many years ago, “Dr, what is wrong with men today?” After pausing for a while his answer was “men simply don’t think.” Now he wasn’t just being flippant, he was referring to proper creative thinking.
Mankind bumbles from one thing to another, preoccupied with daily dramas and gossips, their minds and mouths filled with complaints but they do not actually give themselves time to think. When people do stop and think they come up with ideas, ideas which lead to solutions or become solutions themselves.
Earl Nightingale suggests that people should spend sometime alone with a notepad and pen everyday for 30 days. It could be an hour or just half hour but during that time they should try and think up 5 new ideas. After 30 days of coming up with ideas a person would have 150 new ideas to work on. (Listen to what Earl Nightingale says in the video below. Highly Recommended!)
The Strangest Secret Earl Nightingale Conant
One of those ideas could be the way out of your debt, it could be the end to the rut you find yourself in, it could be the change to your life that you have wanted for many years. Ideas alone will not change your life without action but they are the ancestor to action. A single idea has the potential to change a person’s life forever.
When JK Rowling had her idea for Harry Potter she was a single mother on benefits. She used whatever spare time she had to write her first draft of the book, often she was seen sat writing in coffee shops across Edinburgh. Her life is now a lot different to what it was back then.
We all have ideas come to us, you can be sat on the sofa when a flash of inspiration hits you but how many of us write it down then explore the idea more with creative and analytic thinking? I have been sat in pubs with my friends who have spoken of their latest great idea but they have never given it anymore viable thought other than to tell us of their great idea!
The great thing about really thinking is that not only do you get great ideas, you often figure out a plan and how to go about things which makes the whole process of turning that idea into a reality a lot easier.
Having A Good Idea & Creating A Plan
Recently I have been writing a couple of fiction stories: I needed an idea so I sat and brainstormed a few. I soon had an idea for the story and the main character but I needed more. So I sat and started to think up the other characters, what happened in the story, how things happened and in what order (mostly).
Having this background prepared I was able to sit and start writing. I knew what to write and that made it flow a lot easier. Without that plan I would not have two connected short stories totalling 28000 words written which have been read and loved by several members of my family. (Family make the best proofreaders and critics 🙂 )
With our busy lives and constant distractions from TV, radio and social media it is no surprise that people do not think much these days. It has been said that we are now more reactional than proactive. People react to dramas and situations in a stressed and panicked way regularly –– as seen on TV soaps –– but never prepare for or plan their way out of possible future issues.
The life we live today is the result of our past performances.
If we are poor today that is because we have not earned enough money last month or worse, cultivated the skills and discipline to do the work that is necessary to bring in the money that we need.
If we are struggling to afford the bills this week then maybe we should have not spend so much last month or if spending money wasn’t the issue then we need to make more money and that will not happen if we spend the time burying our heads in the sand and allowing ourselves to become distracted.
Our minds are the best source of riches on the planet. As the writer Russell Conwell said, there is more wealth buried in our minds than in an acre of diamonds. (Or words to that effect!)
Maybe it is time for you to turn off the TV or the radio, put down the tablet and smartphone, close the laptop and pick up a notepad and pen. Maybe it is time to do some real creative thinking. Maybe it is time to come up with ideas, create plans and focus on them until they become your reality.
Remember; the two most powerful ingredients to success are thinking and action.