Rubber Band Effect

Isolated studio portrait of clean shaven young dark skinned male athlete with strong muscular shoulders working out using resistance elastic band, strengthening arm muscles over dark background. Side view

Most everyone says they love creativity. But when it comes to implementing, what keeps us from adopting the new thing that initially excited us? Humans are averse to innovation because it intensifies feelings of uncertainty. Putting creativity into play means change, but does not guarantee desirable results. Like a rubber band, we tend to bounce back to the safe and familiar.

Researcher Jack Goncalo at the University of Illinois tested this premise. His creativity study delved into the implicit bias that the status quo is safe and seen in a positive light. But creativity elicited negative associations like “poison, vomit, agony.”

So, what do people do who want to be better speakers? What you may think of as a disadvantage—a career change, moving to a different position at your firm, or committing to a make-or-break presentation is actually an advantage when it comes to incorporating creativity. When we’re in periods of challenge, we reach for new tools.

Move slowly but steadfastly to quell your fears and biases. Start with low-ante presentations, introductions, or sitting on a panel. Incorporate one new speaking skill at a time. Stop telling yourself “I’m not creative.” Or, “I’m not a good speaker.” Open your mind and outlook so that new skills can take hold. Emulate the Asian ceremony of Sky Lanterns. Write down your aspirations, light the lantern and send your wishes into the sky. Be fearless.

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