Creativity in professional development

Is it possible to become a successful entrepreneur or come out on top professionally without some creativity? Many are the experts who discuss this question with future entrepreneurs in search of the keys that will help them achieve their aims. Having a good theoretical basis is fundamental for speaking in public about these matters. But when that knowledge is accompanied by some enriching personal experience, the message takes on a much deeper dimension.

Masaaki Hasegawa, from Japan, recognizes having made the best of all the opportunities he’s had in life, but admits he doesn’t know quite how to define himself. He’s been a professional mixed martial arts fighter, an entrepreneur, a consultant, an artist, the author of two books about creativity, an events organizer and a public speaker, among many other things. “Chances always present themselves and the problem is knowing how to recognize them,” he said last September 26 at the start of the brief talk he gave at IE Business School under the title “Be Creative in Your Career”. It served to introduce the conference offered by Xavier Escales, Country Manager of ASICS Iberia, about the philosophy developed by that sporting clothes firm, which is based on the satisfaction of workers and customers.

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For Hasegawa, founder of the knowledge platform Creativida and ambassador of the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy, in Moscow, “everything has to do with mentality.” Being proactive and not waiting for things to happen is the starting point to be able to recognize opportunities that pop up in any individual’s life. Afterward, when we’ve begun the journey, we have to avoid making excuses: “Whenever we do something, we have to take responsibility for what could happen afterward.”

Just as we don’t go to an airport to catch a plane to some unknown destination, it’s not possible to achieve an objective that we have not previously identified. “Your vision is determined by what you want and what really matters to you. You always need to know your destination. If you don’t know where you’re going to go, you can’t see the opportunities.”

In addition, in a society full of professional profiles that are very similar, it’s important to highlight those things that make us unique and special for carrying out a concrete function. It’s what the versatile Japanese speaker defined to the IE alumni –as is he, after earning a Master in Visual Media Communication in 2013– as the need to “have an irrational idea and a rational approach.”

There are two other basic aspects on this creative road toward success: finding the way of imposing your own rules and trying to influence those people responsible for taking decisions. But the application of these recommendations is not related to individualism or mere personal interest, because as Hasegawa stresses, we should never stop thinking about how to be useful to others and looking for a win-win situation. “Instead of waiting to see what other people can do for you, think about what you can do for them.”

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