It takes more creativity to break bricks than you might think.
I wrote on Monday about the need to approach your business with the proper mindset, and I shared how I learned some valuable lessons about how to get my head in the game by playing BrickBreaker. (Yes, I am writing this with a straight face.)
However, even with a geared-for-success mind set, you’ll struggle if you think you don’t need to be on the lookout for ways to do your work better and more effectively and ensure that it offers huge value to your clients. That’s where your creativity comes in.
Creativity is one of the crucial success factors that will help you thrive.
Since BrickBreaker is a wise teacher that addresses a variety of business situations, here are the lessons it’s taught me when it comes to being creative.
- Don’t assume. One of the “weapons” you can use to break bricks is a “gun”. I found out by accident that I can use this tool to break what I thought were unbreakable steel “walls”. Who knows how many more games I could have won if only I had not assumed that the walls were unbreakable? How many opportunities might have blossomed for you if only you had not assumed that “it’ll never work”?
- Think outside the bricks. Level 16 is a challenging level, since the bricks that you’re supposed to break are three-quarters surrounded by steel walls. It took me a few games, even after I discovered the gun could break walls, to realize that I was completely ignoring the potential of using it to blow a hole through the surrounding walls. When I realized I could intentionally create holes in the steel walls, I did just that to give myself easy access to the bricks hidden behind them. Result: I made it through Level 22 the day I started using a familiar tool in a new way.
- Love the plateau. In his great book, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, George Leonard describes how the path of mastery for any skill consists of a series of upward surges in progress, followed by a slight decline in results, then by a plateau. The good news about any such plateau is that it’s generally higher than any that came before. The bad news is that, while you’re on the plateau, it feels as if you’re not making any progress at all. According to Leonard, all who are committed to mastery learn to love the plateau and know that, lack of obvious improvement or not, they are improving. I guess I had a fairly long plateau at Level 16, but once I made that upward surge of progress, I completed levels 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21—all in one day. (You can understand why, if I play over my lunch break, I set a timer for myself.)
- Avoid complacency. I find that, when I fail to field a ball and thus lose a turn, over 80% of the time it happens when the ball is traveling at a slow speed. I think I become complacent and adopt a “Yodee, yodee, yodee-yo” kind of attitude when things aren’t zooming around fast. This complacent approach can destroy your success, whether in business or in BrickBreaker.
- Find an equilibrium between spending too much time planning and not enough. I found out the hard way early on that, if I don’t launch the ball at the bricks in a timely manner, it will launch itself. When that happened for the first time, I was completely unprepared; the results were not pretty. On the other hand, if I launch without any planning or strategizing, I risk missing the most advantageous move. Likewise, if you move too slowly you may miss opportunities, but if you rush in to quickly, you may simply bungle them and lose out that way.
So…you’re working on creating a winner’s mindset, and you’re honing your creativity. Both are crucial skills, yet neither will do you any good if you don’t know how and where to focus them. That’s what we’ll explore next week.
What are some successes you’ve enjoyed because you came up with a creative solution to a challenge? What did that feel like? It’s okay, you can toot your own horn here; we’ll celebrate with you.
By the way, thanks to mrsdkrebs for posting her image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.This entry was posted in creativity, flexibility, problem solving.