“I think we’re all born creative and we either cultivate it or we lose it.” – Bruce Nussbaum
Creativity. The word seems to have a bit of a negative connotation. Companies promise it, some people strive for it, others could care less. But believe it or not, creativity has a direct relationship to our productivity and our physical and mental wellness, which leads to our general happiness. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been through some mess in 2018. It’s high time to tap into our creative minds and dominate for the upcoming year.
Recognize that you — YES, you — are a creative person
Replace the word “creative” with the word “curious.” Of course you’re a curious person, right? You have your own thoughts and beliefs, you’re willing to learn, and you’re interested in the world around you. Yet we get caught up in the apprehension and the unattainable expectations that are associated with the word “creativity.” Why? Because we have fallen for the false belief that it’s only for the special, the genius, the artistic, or the professional.
First recognize that if you are alive and you are curious, and if you are curious, you are creative. Once you give in to that realization, you will allow yourself to be led by that curiosity, and you will quickly live up to your potential.
Inspiration doesn’t come from you, it comes at you
When people think about a creative person, they automatically assume it’s someone that exudes inspirational and philosophical thoughts, but it isn’t true. The phrase “this idea came to me” is just that — a phrase. If you were to ask what really happened, they will tell you the long version: well, I saw this, I heard that, I read this. These experiences led them to an idea.
No idea is original. It’s simply a previous theory that has been improved upon, tweaked or looked at in a different light. Rather than strive for originality, strive for authenticity. Don’t be afraid to do anything other people have done, but put your own spin on it. Be genuine. Make your mark. It doesn’t have to be something grand, just follow your intuition wherever it takes you.
Find your thing
Psychoanalyst Carrie Barron stated that the act of being creative is a form of self-actualization. “It’s when you’re very absorbed in something that is deeply interesting to you, there’s almost a loss of self and you lose track of time.” Writing for my blog just happens to be my “thing.” This doesn’t mean you have to pick something as artsy as, say, writing or painting.
Pick any activity you naturally like or would love to try and make it your own. Once you have found your “thing,” you will start to find out so much more about yourself, who you are, and who you are meant to be.
Don’t overthink it
When I was younger, my mom constantly made me get a paper and pen and write or doodle anything that popped into my head for three minutes. This meant no thinking and no breaks in between. To this day, I believe that my creativity can be partly attributed to this activity. (Did you know Steve Jobs doodled all the time?)
Research suggests that too much thinking can smother creativity. The more you think, the more you plan. Does that mean you shouldn’t plan anything out? No, it just means you should carve out some time to do an activity such as this. Take time to think ridiculous thoughts, imagine, reflect and just BE. You’ll find that you will be more in-tune with yourself and trust your instincts more and more each day.
Expose yourself to new things and new people
You’d be surprised to know how many habits you’ve formed over the years. Take time to do different things. Travel, try a new restaurant, talk to different people; even at your workplace, take notice of what’s happening around you and observe who’s talking to who. Being mindful of your surroundings helps you have a better understanding and appreciation for new experiences, new resolutions, and new ideas.
Fear and frustration should be welcomed, not shunned
We all know of someone who stopped doing what they loved because of the frustration they encountered or that person who didn’t start anything out of fear. People speak about these two f-words like they’re the real f-word!
The problem is we have gotten so used to that euphoric feeling when everything is working out, when we feel successful, inspired, and accomplished. Smooth sailing only happens in fairy tales. Frustration, fear, obstacles, doubts and insecurities all happen within the creative process. It comes with the territory. Give yourself the space to feel and embrace all these things, to make mistakes, and then approach the problem in a different way. It’s as simple as that—don’t waste your time fighting emotions that are inevitable.
Let go of the myth of perfection
There is a difference between “perfect” and “good as it can be.” Everyone should thrive to make whatever they’re doing as good as it can possibly be, but our constant need to live up to perfection is unhealthy. Perfection doesn’t exist. Stop comparing yourself to celebrities, successful entrepreneurs, or that friend you think has a perfect life. What you do is your own — put your all into it and leave it at that. Be happy for others and their accomplishments, but don’t let that dampen your creativity.