Happy New Year! Greetings! For many of us, the turn of the year is a time to take stock and look ahead. It’s the time to set new goals and resolutions for the year ahead, and you probably have already done this. So, in the “wee days” of 2024, allow me to pose seven creative questions that connect you to your essential genius core and core capabilities to set you up for success as a creative leader in 2024. After all, “The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything,” the Czech novelist Milan Kundera noted.
1. What core beliefs drive you forward in 2024?
When listening to the hugely negative news flow these days, it’s easy to get dragged down in anxiety: doubts, worries, and fears about the future. Interestingly, most people fail to realize that the average state of human living conditions has never been better than in our current age. Fortunately, creative leaders know better than to become frozen into inaction by the challenges of a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) that SUCCS (i.e., is characterized by speed, uncertainty, complexity, change, and surprises). Grounded in an unshakable core belief, they courageously take action on their plans and move forward on their strategic roadmap.
“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"What core beliefs propel me forward? I feel blessed to be the only person I know who has experienced a Eureka moment of breakthrough creativity twice at critical times in my life. With the firm belief that this double-WOW is way too unlikely to have happened by chance, I boldly move forward on the road less traveled of building and scaling up a creative wow, know-how company. I trust in being divinely guided, supported, and protected on my path and ultimately getting richly rewarded by staying on course and true to my cause."
2. Who are you? What is the essential core of your being?
My second creative question reconnects you to your essential being. Creative leaders understand they must stay true to themselves and be original to create original ideas and value propositions. As the German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it: “To create something, you must be something.” So, who are you?
“Insist on yourself; be original.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
"While juggling various responsibilities as an entrepreneur, author, academic faculty, and researcher, I know the essence of my being deep down inside: I am a creator of creative methods and tools. I am a creator of superconscious creative leaders and their creative teams. I am a meta-creator of creative breakthroughs."
3. How can you approach the new year with a beginner’s mind?
The world is full of wonders and unlimited possibilities for a young child. There are so many exciting new things to learn and experience. My third question invites you to reconnect to and embrace your inner child. Why? The world is changing exponentially at an accelerating pace, so adopting a “beginner’s mind” in the new year helps you to playfully open up to the opportunities and challenges of the Sixth Wave of technological progress that will drive economic prosperity in the coming two decades.
“It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.” —Steve Jobs
"In 2024, I will continue to openly and curiously embrace new generative AI tools with a playful, positive mind to harness their potential to massively increase my productivity and learn how to harness this technology’s potential in our business. At the same time, I will continue playing on the countertrend and deepen my know-how in sub- and superconscious creative techniques and practices that generative AI won’t be able to tap into in the foreseeable future."
4. What do you really love doing? And why does this matter?
My fourth creative question forces us to take a deep, possibly uncomfortable look at how we use our productive time. In essence, it probes whether we work primarily for the money a job pays us or if we are deeply passionate about our occupation and have a deeper reason for why we’re doing it. (As some may notice, it connects with and builds upon my second creative question).
“You’ve got to find what you love.” —Steve Jobs
“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what be one’s aim.” —John D. Rockefeller
"I love creating new creative content —creative methods, tools, exercises, articles, blog posts, and —soon to come— video posts. I love to teach and speak about creative leadership, business creativity, and innovation. I love to guide creative teams through innovation projects and help them develop breakthrough solutions for their wicked innovation challenges.
I do what I love doing because I am on a mission to empower creative leaders and their teams with creative breakthrough know-how that can help them come up with groundbreaking new solutions in the Sixth Wave of technology innovation."
5. How can you get fresh creative inspiration in 2024?
It's safe and comfy to stay within the familiar tunnel of our expertise and the confines of our conventional ways of thinking. But creative leaders know how to inspire breakthrough creativity: By venturing out of their expert tunnel to collect fresh dots that their imaginative minds can then connect to their creative challenges.
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." —Albert Einstein
"How do I aspire to bring fresh creative inspiration into my life in 2024? For one, I recently joined a new professional network (Entrepreneurs' Organization) that relates to but ultimately is outside of my focus domains. For two, I intend to reach out to the Southeast Asian VC and fintech scene to connect my first career in banking and finance to my new mission as a creative leader of creativity and innovation. For three, I plan to voyage to 2-3 new places in 2024, as traveling is one of the best ways to learn about other ways of thinking and living and connect to the natural and cultural wonders of the world."
6. How can you get out of your comfort zone in 2024?
Creative leaders realize that we’re at a turning point where a new technological long wave will dramatically change the ways we work and live in the coming years. Knowing that growth happens outside our comfort zones, they think about new action routines that can help them to up their physical and mental prowess and shape up for a brave new world full of new opportunities for the brave at heart. At the same time, they also think about mindful routines that calm their minds in hectic times.
“All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.” —Tony Robbins
"I plan to get out of my comfort zone by adding an hour of daily laser learning into my workday, where I focus on learning new know-how and skills that I identified as critical for seizing upon the opportunities of a long cycle. Moreover, I have established two handfuls of daily routines that I follow rigorously on most days to ensure I shape up physically and mentally while living mindfully. For example, I usually exercise for at least an hour, spend 20 minutes in nature, and meditate daily."
7. How can you induce more creative flow into your life?
Professional athletes perform best when they’re “in the zone.” Musicians play in sync when they “feel the groove.” Likewise, many creative leaders know this state of optimal experience when they are “in flow” and their creative juices flow. In these moments when we’re in the zone, we can easily, effortlessly, and enjoyably perform at our best and open our creative channels up for receiving a breakthrough idea for an essential creative challenge that we’ve pursued for some time. So, how can we bring more flow into our lives?
“The happiest people spend much time in a state of flow — the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
"My answer to this question relates to how I can design a harmonious work-life rhythm into my daily work that ensures I stay creative, productive, and resourceful in the long run. While my schedules vary on some days, I intend to follow a harmonious rhythm between periods of concentrated, focused, and ideally creative work and periods of relaxation (where I practice some mindfulness routines or exercises mentioned above). And whenever I can follow a rhythm over longer periods, it’s easy to experience creative flow states regularly."
Conclusion: Get your creativity flowing in 2024
My seven creative questions relate to the essential creative mindsets and routines of outstanding creative leaders in Genius Journey, the creative leadership development program I created for Thinkergy. Nowadays, I live in harmony with my Genius Journey model on most days. The ten Genius Mindsets are my inner compass guiding the empowering behaviors, attitudes, and routines that define my character as a meta-creative leader. And guess what? After answering all creative questions, I feel reinvigorated with a renewed focus, inner joy, and connection to my essential being and purpose in life. How about you? Will you make 2024 your creative breakthrough year?
- Genius Journey is Thinkergy’s creative leadership development method. Learn more about how the Genius Journey method works its transformational magic by checking out this video and downloading this booklet.
- We offer experiential Genius Journey training courses for companies. Alternatively, we can arrange for a more extensive Genius Journey development program for a group of executives eager to reconnect to their inner genius.
- How can we help you and your team achieve creative breakthroughs in 2024? Contact us to tell us more about your innovation agenda for 2024 and get a free consultation session.
© Dr. Detlef Reis 2024. This article is earmarked to be co-published in the Bangkok Post in the coming weeks.