Help Others Be Creative-Use Your Improvisational Skills

Psychology Today May/June 2020 pp30-31 Solutions Creativity|Parenting “Overcome Creative Buzzkills “Lessons learned from improv theater may help resurrect imagination stifled by setbacks and shame” by Clay Drinko, Ph.D.

“Creativity-in any form-takes courage”. “Progress requires perseverance…but sometimes criticism stops creativity…as [in] creative suppression or the more enduring creative mortification”. Suppression may be triggered by self-doubt or criticism which is usually a fleeting feeling unlike mortification which can be a throw-in-the-towel sense that draws on deep-seated feelings of incompetency or worse shame. “Feedback and criticism are vital to the creative process” so we want to find ways to best contribute.

The author uses improv as a vehicle which is built on listening/understanding exactly what is being said rather than interrupting etc., agreeing with the contribution at hand and adding to it. In the form of Listening and Yes-Agreeing for now and adding to the idea. “There’s a mouse in the corner!” you say and “Yes it seems to be playing possum” responds an engaged improviser listening in the audience.

There’s no judgment. It’s often hard to “quiet the critic” in ourselves. This idea is called divergent thinking-“ideation, the process that generates as many ideas as possible”. Convergent thinking is finding the correct solution. Actually, that’s not a real mouse it’s a toy mouse. Both types of thinking are needed for creativity to generate ideas and arrive at the best solution. Key is keeping the processes separate.

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