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The Power To Create

Brightening
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nicholas_T

cre·a·tive
adj.  1. Having the ability or power to create

– American Heritage Dictionary

When you think of the word “creative” what do you think of?  Many of us automatically think about famous artists, musicians, and writers, but how often do you think of yourself when you hear that word?

Creativity is more than just paintings, songs and novels (although, certainly those things are creative).  If we make creativity something that is outside of what we are capable of, we sell ourselves short.

And, it’s something that happens everyday – when we solve problems, adjust to detours, simply live our daily life.

Creativity is so important to us because that’s when we feel that “spark of life” that we so often miss.  And while we are all creative everyday in similar ways we are also all creative in unique ways.

We often think of tangible things when we think of creativity, but you can also create non-tangibles, like organization, clarity and laughter.  At a former job, I used to work with a lady who I would describe as being great at creating laughter.  At a time when we had stressful deadlines and tedious assignments to do, she would tell us a story and have us practically rolling on the floor as we laughed so hard.  That laughter relieved stress and put our work into proper perspective.  That was her creation.  Even though we couldn’t touch and see it, we could feel it.

But many of us aren’t creating in our life, and we feel the negative effects of that.  Somewhere we may believe that creativity is “frivolous,” or feel we just don’t have time for it.  Or we may just be afraid.

The Barriers to Creativity

Fear of Failure – Failure is necessary for creativity, because when you are creating you have to be willing to try things that you don’t know will work.  If you are afraid to fail, your creative efforts will always fall short, because you are not exercising all the possibilities that you think of.  You cut them off before they can exist.

Fear of the Unknown – They say that what we don’t know can’t hurt us, but it sure scares the hell out of us!  When you are creative, you don’t know what might happen.  Maybe what you thought you were creating changes form as you are in the process.  Or the people you share it with react to it in a way that you didn’t foresee.  Creation is the process of bringing something into the world that has not yet existed.  That process always involves letting go of the known.

Fear of Rejection – Maybe most of all, what we really fear when we are creative is being rejected.  We fear that others won’t understand why we need to do this, or won’t like our final product.  Maybe they will laugh at what we have created.  Ironically enough, creativity is such a basic need of every person that we intrinsically understand the need to create, even if we are not aware of it.  When we share our creations we share ourselves.

Invite Creativity Into Your Life

  • Start something you’ve always wanted to try – Have you been interested in something that you have no experience with, but think it would be really fun to try? That may just be your unique creative vision calling to you.  Seek out an opportunity to try this thing, you may find something great there.
  • Explore with no purpose – You don’t always have to have a goal when you engage in an activity.  Sometimes it’s best to just set out and see what happens.  You can’t always plan what you would like to happen, so take a step into the unknown.  You can never be sure what you might find.
  • Rest – If you want to be more creative, get some more rest.  Taking your conscious mind off of the problem you are trying to solve or off of the thing you want to create allows your subconscious mind to make connections between things you wouldn’t have thought of.  When you return to your creation, you will have brand new insights.
  • Purposely do something in a way you wouldn’t normally do – We tend to get rigid with our daily routines, so if you want to look at your world more creatively, break those routines.  This could be something simple like driving a different way home from work, or solving a problem backwards from the way you would normally do it.  Take a chance and do something you wouldn’t normally do.
  • See the world as possiblities – It can be easy to see the world around us as a place that has a set of rules that can’t be broken.  But, why can’t you?  At the least, changing your perspective to see that the world is not as rigid as you think opens your mind to the possibilities that exist around you.  Those possibilities are where creativity lies.
  • Accept both success and failure as options – When you are creating, you have two options:  you can succeed at what you were hoping to do or you can fail at it.  Many people much prefer success, but failure is also a good option.  Failure always tells us how to be a success, so decide that you will accept both of them.
  • Be courageous – There is always fear where there is creativity.  Be courageous in bringing your creations to life.
  • Share it with others – What use is being creative if you don’t share what you have created?  We all have tremendous potential to create things that others need.  When we share those things, we are contributing to our community.
  • Encourage others in their creativity – How many times have you been discouraged by some “well-meaning” friend or relative when you brought up something that you wanted to create?  This happens all the time.  We don’t want to see the people we care about disappointed or struggling so we discourage them from things they want to try.  Next time someone you know brings up something they want to create (even if you think it’s a little crazy) tell them to give it a try.
  • See creativity as something that happens everyday – You are creative at home.  You are creative at work.  You are creative simply by living.  Creativity is not out of your experience.  Even when you are not engaging in your own unique form of creativity, remember that creativity becomes a part of your life as much as you want it there.

What place does creativity have in your life?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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18 Comments

  1. Hi Amanda,

    This is a fantastic article! You have done a tremendous job of describing creativity and how we all have this capability already within us! We were made this way, I truly believe this!
    “…see that the world is not as rigid as you think opens your mind to the possibilities that exist around you.” This is a powerful statement Amanda. Indeed, if we will open our minds, we will discover that we are actually creating our lives, each and every day, by the very thoughts we continually focus on. Understand this and the world opens up before you.

    Thanks for this article!
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..Your Mind The Helm, Your Thoughts The Rudder =-.

  2. Amanda, beautiful article. I usually associate creativity with something related to art, colours and creating stories. Have to keep reminding myself that writing falls in the same bracket as well. It’s difficult to associate myself with being creative.

    I absolutely loved Sara’s post which talks about enjoying the activity for the fun of it, for the process and to not to worry about end result.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last blog ..Life Lessons From My Running Experiences – Part I =-.

  3. Hi Amanda

    First thing I thought of was how much I enjoy the creativity of others! I love original, unique things (objects, ideas .. anything). Then I thought .. what about MY creativity. The main area I notice it is in what comes up moment by moment. Each emotion, thought .. even breathe is new and never existed before I created it .. or maybe it’s more accurate to say it was created through me.
    .-= Ian | Quantum Learning´s last blog ..Living in denial – but for how long? =-.

  4. Hi Amanda,
    More great advice, and so well organized! I really like your site!

    I am a creative type but I still want to break out and try new things, artistically or otherwise. I get locked up when I think about painting on canvas, for example, because I don’t want to “waste” the money buying all the supplies and then have the picture not “turn out.” Crazy, I know. Recently, I started letting go of having to make use of my end product. I’m trying to enjoy the process, just like my kids do. Sometimes, the project is a keeper; othertimes I marvel at the effort and toss it in the trash, free of guilt. This has been incredibly freeing. Thanks for all your suggestions, they’re great!
    .-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last blog ..Off the Shelf: 365 Tao~Work =-.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Keith – We do create our world. It matters how much we realize this. Creativity is our nature. 🙂

    Hi Avani – Enjoying the process is an important part of creativity ( maybe the best part!) and when we do this we often find that we get terrific results too. 🙂

    Hi Ian – I really like your idea about creating our “moments.” You’re right, everything we do is a creation because it wasn’t there the moment before. 🙂

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jodi – Thinking about our end result can “lock us up” as you said. Although many times you don’t know what you are going to get even when you plan. Those are often the best creative times.

    Hi Dani – Thanks a lot!

  7. Creativity can see seen though the eyes of inspiration. Simplicity in life can provide tremendous inspiration to one who desires it. Allow creativity to flow thought you with out effort and you will be surprise by what you get in return.

    Just let it flow.
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..How to Be Positive Guaranteed…. =-.

  8. Thanks for this — as I was reading it, it occurred to me that maybe, when we’re truly creating, the possibility of failure doesn’t occur to us at all, because there isn’t any right or wrong — we’re allowing life to unfold without any judgments. I know I have these moments sometimes when I’m playing music, when the idea that I need to do it right or avoid mistakes completely falls away.

  9. Hi Amanda,
    I used to not think of myself as creative. And as such, I mostly wasn’t. I think that fits well with the idea that our thoughts become our actions. Over time, I’ve evolved to where I now do see myself as being creative. And while that doesn’t mean it always comes easy, or there still aren’t moments where fear or rejection thoughts kick in – what it does mean is that I’m much more comfortable letting the creative side of me out. And what I’ve also found, is that this place – where creativity comes from – is something I connect very deeply with. And in that connecting, it feels like the “right” place to be.

    Amanda, this is a wonderful article!
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..The Evolution of Our Heart’s Desire =-.

  10. Hi Amanda, this is my first time to your blog and I’m delighted I made the ‘jump’. This is a great conversation. (I love the photo).

    I would add…

    TURBOCHARGE YOUR CREATIVITY WITH GENEROSITY

    What generates even higher levels of creativity is when we give fully of ourselves, without holding back.

    Giving our fresh ideas away completely and wholeheartedly, without keeping them in reserve – just in-case they are rejected, stolen or just in case we run out of them, allows us to fully empty.

    Then and only then can ideas flow from our deepest, most authentic self. It’s then that real creativity – full and rich creativity, flows through us.

    This is our real voice, our true music – our authentic genius.

    What you hold back, holds you back – so be bold, and give your ideas generously – and from that flow, incredible, new and even better ideas will arrive.

    What have you got to lose?

    Best of creativity, best of life,

    Robin
    .-= Robin Dickinson´s last blog ..The talented person’s guide to business failure: Part 3 =-.

  11. Amanda — I loved your suggestions about fostering creativity.

    In my case, I definitely went through a period of both the fear of failure and rejection regarding writing. Fortunately, I had a great friend who kept encouraging me to step out on the stage. I thank her every day for this.

    As I’ve blogged and read other people’s blogs, I’ve come to see so many different forms of creativity. I think it’s important to remember that we ALL have the ability to be creative! Using your tips and suggestions is a great way to discover creativity. Thanks for this post:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..KindLike.Us: A new kindness community =-.

  12. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jonathan – I agree that simplicity inspires creativity. Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at things in a new light.

    Hi Chris – That’s a good point. I guess we really don’t think about success either. We’re just doing.

    Hi Lance – I guess we do need to give ourselves “permission” to be creative. But once we open up, we can’t stop it!

  13. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Robin – Thanks for reading and for your comment! I like your idea about creativity and generosity. Certainly, when we see our creativity not just as something that we love to do, but as a gift, the best comes out of us.

    Hi Sara – Sounds like you’ve got a great friend. If you have someone in your life who encourages your creativity (and courage) keep them around!

  14. Creativity comes upon the awareness of our self. Most of our life we spent in ignorance. We allow fear, failures and impossibilities as a fact, not realizing that we are most capable than we think we are.

    The moment we discover our true capacity, our dormant creativity will unleash effortlessly. Open your mind and see your greatness. 🙂
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..Deciding point: conquering limitations =-.

  15. Hi Amanda,

    This is a truly great post! As one of my favorite writers, the concepts and ideas you offer remind me of the importance of being open to the possibilities life is waiting for us to grasp if we just take the risk. So often we build our own roadblocks that prevent us from moving forward through our fears and insecurities.

    Regardless of what our conditioning has told us, each of us has a creative spirit inside us. The key is to find and nurture it to the point where this spirit feels safe to come out and play. If we are willing to push past the fears you describe, it can make the impact of discovering our creative abilities much more powerful and fulfilling.

    I have been so wrapped up in deadlines and commitments these last few months that my own creative spirit has taken a backseat to the need to keep my head above water. This is a problem for many people as we struggle through difficult times. I needed a little reminder. 🙂

    Thank you for the great work you do with this blog. I know how much it helps me.

    Namaste,
    Roger
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..The Changing Seasons =-.

  16. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Walter – That’s right. If we accept our fears as fact, as you say, they become fact! If we think of ourselves as creative then creative we become 🙂

    Hi Roger – Thank you, I’m glad you read. 🙂 It’s a shame that our creative spirits get buried under so much stuff, but when we do find them again it’s very fulfilling. The possibilities are always there, we just have to look for them.

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