A creative person looks at the same thing that everyone is looking at from a different perspective. He or she can ‘notice and observe’ better than others. This is where ‘awareness’ comes into the picture. If you are more ‘aware’ of what’s happening around you, you have a better chance of noticing and observing what others are NOT noticing and observing.
At the same time, being ‘more aware’ is not an excuse for losing focus. Focus is equally important if you want to get things done.
This is precisely the reason I cringe when I look at some of the ‘awareness tests’ that are used by some ‘creativity gurus’ to highlight a point.
The example of one such awareness test will be something like this: The ‘creative guru’ will ask the audience to spend a minute focusing on all the “green objects” in the room. After that one minute, the ‘guru’ will ask the audience members to close their eyes and recollect all the “yellow objects” in the room. You fail in this ‘awareness test’ if you can’t recollect ‘N’ number of yellow objects.
The point is that if you do recollect ‘N’ number of yellow objects, you win in the “awareness test” but you probably failed in the ‘focus test.’
You can’t have one (awareness) at the expense of the other (focus.)
There is a famous video that has made the rounds on YouTube that will demonstrate this awareness test.
The summary of the video is “It is easy to miss something that you are not looking for” and I agree. It has nothing to do with awareness. When you specifically ask someone to look for something, you are forcing the person to focus. Asking a question outside of that “focus area” is moot.
Not all creativity tests are equal. Just because something is popular does not mean that it is logical.
About the Author: Raj Setty is intimately involved in working with like-minded entrepreneurs to bring good ideas to life and spread their adoption. You can learn more about him at www.rajeshsetty.com or follow his blog at Life Beyond Code or on Twitter at @UpbeatNow