Do you think of yourself as a creative person?
There is a high probability that if I were to ask you that question directly, your answer would be no, not really. And . . . my response would be — why not?
Your first thought may be that you were creative as a child, but imaginative play is for children.
You may think creativity is reserved for ground-breaking idea people — those who make names for themselves through an exceptional form of creative expression; or, those who use their creative talents to bring pleasure to themselves and others through their artistic endeavors.
For those types of individuals (artists, painters, inventors, musicians, writers) creativity seems to be innate. But, for the rest of us, not so much.
Which raises the question, “Are some people naturally creative — and others not?” Maybe . . . but let’s dig a little deeper.
Types of Creativity
In a recent issue of Forbes, they introduce Lucy L. Gilson and Nora Madjar from the University of Connecticut who are pushing back on the monolithic concept of creativity. They argue that there are actually two main types of creativity: radical and incremental.
“Radical creativity is the far-out, groundbreaking stuff that has become the popular face of creativity. Incremental creativity is the often-overlooked and far more accessible form. It’s about building on existing concepts — refining, expanding and improving them.”
This new perspective gives me hope because I have always thought of creativity as an essential part of being human and not just for a select few.
When you watch a group of young children play, the things they say and do to entertain themselves is creativity in pure form. I have never accepted that it disappears with age.
It may be stifled and tucked away because of self-doubt and criticism from others for being silly or for wasting time dreaming, but it doesn’t disappear. Creativity is alive and well deep inside of everyone and you must find ways to help it resurface. It is time to reignite your creativity.
Let yourself consider for a moment that you are creative. You may not be a radical creative, but you can easily join the ranks of the incrementally creative, which is actually the more desirable form.
Outlandish, radical creatives can change the world and bring extraordinary results, plus fame and fortune for themselves. They also take much bigger risks — risks that the majority of us aren’t willing to take.
With minimal risk, you can use your natural creativity to incrementally improve your life and the lives of people around you.
You must give yourself permission to release your joyful inner child and let him or her flourish.
To reignite your creativity, start with these three easy steps:
1. Pay Attention to Details
This requires slowing down your life and becoming mindful about where you are and what you are doing.
For example, as you get dressed in the morning, pay attention to what you do first, second, and so on. How do the fabrics feel on your skin? How do the colors make you feel? Why do some outfits make you feel more confident than others? Why did you choose the outfit you are wearing today?
When you leave your house or apartment, notice the color of the door and the sound it makes as you open and close it, the way the outside air smells and feels, the color of the sky, and the noises of life around you.
Awareness of the little things will help you stay present in the moment, no matter what you’re doing. When you’re mindful of your actions, you view life differently and creativity blossoms.
2. Walk Different Paths
As you hone your observation skills and the creative juices start to flow, it becomes easier to walk different paths — to change your routine. We’re not talking about running away to the Bahamas.
You can make small changes that are quite simple and close to home. For example, go to the Friday Night Art Walk; take your family for an overnight camping trip; have lunch at a popular ethnic restaurant you’ve always avoided — the possibilities are endless.
Being creative with your daily routine. Venturing into new and unusual experiences heightens your awareness of the world around you. You will find yourself paying closer attention to everything — the sights, the smells, the sounds, the way things feel and taste.
3. Start People Watching
If you have never done this, you are in for a treat. People watching can be interesting and entertaining. Set aside an hour or so each week to spend at a nearby park, coffee shop, or any public place.
Take a note pad and pen (or your computer/tablet) and observe people as they come and go around you. Pay attention to how they walk, what they are wearing, how they interact with others, their accents and cadence when they talk. This is not about judgment or criticism; it’s about studying people — enjoying similarities and differences.
As you observe, write down the details. Use your senses. Describe everything you see, hear, and smell. Don’t spend time analyzing — just write whatever pops into your head. This is an excellent exercise to stimulate creative thinking.
Noting your observations not only sharpens your observational skills; it also sharpens your focus and mindfulness of what is happening around you. It is easy to go through life missing the details, and what a shame it is to do so.
Being mindful and observant is a skill that can be developed and enhanced. If you choose to start noticing what is happening around you, you will soon find creative ways to use the information. It can be a powerful stimulus for any creative endeavor, including personal enrichment.
Spread Your Creative Wings and Fly
You are creative! Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise.
Creativity is not exclusive to children and artists, it is inherent in everyone. It was a gift at birth that is always alive and well, but sometimes gets buried deep inside as you grow up.
You can help it resurface and change your life.
Reignite your creativity — starting right now — this minute.
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Related Reading: You Can’t Force Creativity