Creativity is curious and playful. It is our natural heritage. However, most people have it knocked out of them in their early childhoods and school years. But we can turn it on again.
Roadblocks to Creativity
Creativity is integral to humans. Small children will happily entertain themselves by drawing, painting, singing, dancing, and getting lost in imaginary games. Yet very few adults see themselves as creative.
Think back to your childhood and recall any occasions where your creativity was dampened. Did a teacher tell you that you can’t sing? Was your artwork criticized for not fitting a certain form? Were you told to stop playing the fool and brush your teeth or finish your homework? Did your parents tell you to get your head out of the clouds and come back to reality? Such incidences are common and lock creativity deep inside us. We become afraid of the pure enjoyment of being creative.
We are forced to acknowledge that creativity is somehow viewed as anti-establishment. One historian found that the word, ‘creativity’ did not always appear in the Oxford English dictionary and only started to appear in lexicons from 1934 onwards.
In business, it is productivity that counts, before innovation. In school, the left side of the brain is trained while the right, creative hemisphere is largely neglected.
The good news is that you can claim back your creativity (without therapy) and restore its natural function in your life.
Give yourself permission to be creative. That means understanding that you lost it through conditioning and can retrain yourself until it becomes natural again.
Start by scheduling a weekly session for creativity. Allow yourself four hours of uninterrupted time where you switch off your phone and don’t answer the door. Create an area that will fuel the creative juices. It should be colorful, messy, and contain items to stimulate the creative parts of the brain. This could be sets of crayons and colored pencils, dreamy pictures, musical instruments, pen, and paper, or whatever you resonate with.
At first, it is difficult to break the barriers that caused creativity to shut down. So, start with some proven exercises. For example, try to copy a picture by looking at it upside down. You’d be surprised how accurate your drawing is. However, the aim is to get lost in the process without worrying about the outcome.
Here are some more ideas: put on some music and make up a new dance; create a short story in your head and write it down using your left hand (if you are right-dominant); design your dream house.
Bring Out Your Inner Artist
Doing creative exercises will start to lead you to what you are passionate about. This could be music, dancing, writing, or art.
Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”. If art excites you but you think you can’t draw, try something new that is fun:
Get canvas, oil paints, brushes, turpentine, and candles. Put your black and white paints away. Put on some music, light the candles, and switch off the main lights.
Start painting. Aim to fill the entire canvas with color and movement. Do waves, curls, splotches. When the canvas is covered, blow out the candles and leave the room without looking back.
Turn the painting 90 degrees and repeat the previous step. Do this until you have rotated the painting a full 360 degrees.
At your next artist session, keep the lights on, stand back and look at your canvas from different angles and distances, with eyes fully open and also partially closed. Wait until you start to see what possible images emerge from the canvas. Now take your black oil paint and, very sparingly, create shadows to accentuate what you have seen in your painting. Next, take your white paint and highlight other aspects.
This will give you the feeling of letting go, a sense of accomplishment, and days of enjoyment. Bring these positive vibes to your next project.
Have you always wanted to play or write music? The easiest instruments to write for are the piano and guitar. If you are a beginner, start with single notes and progress to chords. The latter are used a lot, so you will want to master them early on.
Whether you are starting out, or already an accomplished musician, you need creativity to write songs. This requires you to get in tune with yourself. One technique that a famous songwriter uses when he’s looking for inspiration is to play five radios simultaneously. Then he listens for the interesting things that happen in the overlap.
When you are ready to sit down for some serious writing, choose writing rooms that provide professional equipment so that you feel free and ready to perform. Here are some more off-the-wall ideas that you could take to the writing rooms.
Creativity requires letting go of the business mind and being a child again.