All of us are creative beings. Yet many of us would not consider ourselves creative. Why? Because our societal definition of a creative person is often synonymous with an artistic expert. But being creative does not mean you have to be an acclaimed artist. You can cringe at the thought of holding a paintbrush. You can be tone deaf. You can struggle to clap offbeat. And still, you have an imagination. We are all born with a desire to create, to form original ideas.
Think of how you were as a child, before society told you that money was more important than your imagination. What did you dream up? What games did you play? Did you ever talk to your stuffed animals, give them a unique name? Did you play make-believe? When we are children, we lack the desire to be perfect that overcomes many of us as adults. But obsessing over what others think of our ideas, is a sure fire way to kill that creative impulse. So. What happens when we remove our narrow definition of creativity, and accept that we are all inherently creative?
We will come to see that tapping into creativity equates to harnessing our power to create, rather than to imitate. That is it! How that shows up for you is up to you. You could build something with your hands. You could list out 10 really bad ideas, but hey, they are original and they are your creative ideas. Who cares. It’s a muscle. You need to stop being a victim of creative perfectionism and start acting like a beginner, a child. That is the first step, to leading a creative life. And what is the next step? Well, now that we’ve broken down what creativity is, and removed the idea that you need to be an artistic genius to be creative, how do we all tap into this part of ourselves, while working a 9-5, as an adult with real-world responsibilities?
Here are 5 things you can do today, to tap into your creativity.
And when you do, you’ll hopefully feel that sense of wonder we were all meant to feel.
There is no limit to your thinking, your ideas, to you.
1. Make a list of 10 really bad ideas: We said it earlier, and we’ll say it again. You have to be willing to be bad, to not look perfect, to tap into your creativity. No one is expecting you to be Picasso or Steve Jobs. The point is to simply stretch your creative thinking. Come up with 10 original ideas. Just do it, and do it badly! Creativity is all about the process, not perfectionism.
2. Aimlessly walk, WITHOUT your phone: People used to get around alright sans phone and maps, not too long ago. Step out, without your phone and walk… kind of aimlessly. Pay attention to where you are and where you’re going, but don’t plan out where you are walking to. Just walk! If you get lost, go old school and ask someone for directions. This leaves room for the unknown, for you to start to build your relationship with uncertainty and with serendipity.
3. Create a painting that no one will ever see: Most of us can’t draw. So what. There is something about drawing, connecting our hands with our imagination, that is soothing. Why do you think adult coloring books in hospitals are all the rage now? Put a pen or paintbrush in your hand and let go. It will likely look terrible, but see what happens when your hand hits the page.
4. Develop a unique solution to a problem you are experiencing: Don’t consider yourself a painter, writer, dancer? Well, you sure as hell have creative ideas, and maybe even an entrepreneurial spirit you have yet to uncover. Make a list of real problems you are experiencing in one column. Then make a list of creative ways you can tackle said problem. Think outside the box. The sky is the limit! Do not impose judgement on your creative solutions.
5. Dance by yourself, in the dark: This sounds ridiculous. But your body and mind are connected. Our bodies too want to have a creative outlet, so let it out. You’re probably going to look like a freak, but not even you have to see that. In the end, you should feel more open, like you have released something holding you back. This can help remove creative blockages.