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Value Creation Blog

Want To Be A Creative Genius... Start With Small Changes

Posted by Josh Patrick

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I often read about the creative geniuses in the world like Steve Jobs. If you believe what you read you might come away believing that the only way to be innovative and improve your life is to take giant risks. I want to disagree with that statement. Not only disagree, but vehemently disagree.

I want you to instead consider small changes in your life. Small changes are easier to put in place. Small changes can happen quickly. You can move away from the small changes that don’t work easily and with little cost.

Always start with a small experiment.

When you’re thinking about doing something new and different, you always want to start with small changes.

There are two reasons for this. The first is when you make a small change and it doesn’t work you can easily move away from what you’re doing. There’s a principle at play here called sunk costs. This principle is simple. The more effort and time you put into something the harder it is to stop. This is why most people hate change. They spend way too much time thinking and working on a change they want to make. Because most changes you try won’t work you get frustrated and just don’t want to try again.

The second is something I just referenced and most changes you try won’t work. Because these are experiments there’s a good chance the experiment goes wrong. If you’re just doing small experiments, there’s a good chance you won’t quit and will try another. It’s when you put too much time and effort in that you don’t have the bandwidth to do lots of experiments. I want you to have a success which means you have to try a lot.

So, go ahead, make those small changes and see what happens.

Even if you hate change you need to realize the world doesn’t stay in the same place.

I’ve worked with lots of people who hate change. I understand where you’re coming from. Here’s the problem with that… the world isn’t standing still. The rate of change is fast and will probably speed up.

You need to understand that change is just part of life. Wouldn’t it be nice if you learned to enjoy change. There is an easy way this can happen… keep your experiments small and the experiments that don’t work won’t intimidate you.

Change can be fun if you play with it.

When we were kids, we loved to play make believe. We would pretend we made the world in our vision. It’s too bad that as we get older that love of play and make believe goes away.

You see change and innovation is often about the make believe. If we say to ourselves “I wonder” or “what would happen if” we look at the world differently.

The next time you face something that has changed I want you to play with it. Don’t take it too seriously and have fun. Then see how you can get that change to fit into your life with the questions above and see what happens.

We continually go through change in our life.

We think change just comes a few times in our life. The truth is change is happening all around you all the time. If you learn to love and play with change, you will find that your life gets better. You won’t dread change because you make it small and you make it fun. Isn’t that something you would enjoy?

Let’s talk about what happens with innovation and change.

My friend Susan Bradley has done a lot of work in the world of change. She’s come up with what are the four stages of change. BTW, the same is true with innovation because innovation is just a sub-set of change.

Here are the four stages:

  1. Anticipation - this is where you are thinking about the change that will happen. Sometimes this anticipation is with dread and sometimes with excitement. Most of the time whether it’s dread or excitement it's based on how you manage change in your life.
  2. Ending - This is when the old ends and you move to what’s next in your life.
  3. Passage - We often see this as the tough part of change. This is where often I see people make change a great big project instead of a bunch of small experiments.
  4. New normal - You’ve gone through passage and your new situation whether it’s a new job, retirement, losing a spouse or having a child has happened and you’ve integrated the what’s new into your life.

 

So, what do you think about change in your life? Why don’t you leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Topics: innovation, changes, small changes

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