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!