Have you ever heard these words – not creative – spoken over you or have you said them about yourself? There are so many myths about creativity out there, some of which will be debunked here.
In order to allow your creativity to soar, you need to understand what the concept really means and how it applies to you.
The Oxford dictionary defines creativity as: “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. It therefore follows that if you have a mind to imagine things, you are creative. You were made by a Creator who made you in His image. Whether you use your creative abilities to use is a matter of choice, some conscious, others unconscious. For example, you may have become so used to negative words spoken to you from your formative years that you fail to realise the creativity you display on a regular basis at work and leisure.
There are lots of things that stifle creativity. This post will address four of them and how to move on to better humanity with creations locked up in your mind.
1. A narrow definition of the concept
Oftentimes when people talk of creativity; it is within the context of various art forms. It is then deemed that those whose skills do not fall neatly into these categories aren’t creative. Nothing could be further from the truth. As highlighted in the definition above, it stands to reason that as long as you have a mind, you’re capable of imagining new ideas that will benefit humanity. Imagination however is one thing, creation is quite another. For as long as the ideas and thoughts aren’t acted upon; they are of no use to anyone. If you currently put yourself in the category of not-creative, I want to challenge you. Are you willing to set aside the lies that you have believed about what you are capable of? If you are, it’s time to start seeing yourself as a creative. Your imagination is not an enemy – it is an amazing gift. Start recording your thoughts and ideas in whatever format suits you best. To do that, you have to learn to shut out the distractions that stop you from the exploration and discovery of your wildest dreams. It is an adventurous journey that will last a lifetime. It starts with you taking the first step.
2. Opinions of others
When I was in school, I was totally useless with respect to the visual arts – I couldn’t even draw a stick man properly. The words spoken over me by my then art teacher and the look of despair she used to give me – all drove a lie through that I was not creative; useless with my hands. There were a few other things that I also wasn’t good at like sewing which further reinforced the way I saw myself. You see, it’s incredible how lasting the impact of the opinions of others can be. This is especially so in the formative years when teachers/parents/influential adults crush bubbling imagination with careless words. When the negative words aren’t acknowledged and dealt with; it hampers the potential of the adult. I am not in any way advocating pacifying children who are under-performing or not gifted in certain areas. What should be highlighted is that every single child/adult has at least a gift but they have to boldly dig it out through self-awareness and self-discipline.
If you’re an adult who had a bad experience of school or adults who belittled you; I am so sorry. No child should have gone through that. It was not your fault. As a grown-up now, you have to decide whether you will apply yourself in order to bring forth your creation(s) that the world has been waiting for. No more excuses. This lap of your life journey is down to you alone and the choices you make going forward.
3. Past unsuccessful attempts to create
When someone reveals their creation, all others see is the finished product as that is what is potentially of benefit to others. It is however important to state that to embrace your creativity in its fullness if to become acquainted with failure not just once but multiple times. This doesn’t in any way diminish the essence of who you are or the value you add. Unfortunately, there are lots of people out there who quit after unsuccessful attempts to create. Failure can either be your teacher or permanent roadblock. Those who choose the latter soon find themselves bound in self-limiting beliefs, crippled by the loss of their dream. Previous failed attempts don’t make you a failure; they only show you the multiple wrong ways of achieving your aim. Pay attention to those so you don’t keep repeating the mistakes and then TRY AGAIN. Don’t stop trying. Have faith in your own abilities.
4. Unfavourable comparison with others’ creations
This is one of the most insidious things that not only stifles creativity but can also destroy it altogether. It is one to pay particular attention to as it can creep up on you with the stealth of a thief. In the process of creating, there will be lots of learning and growth along the way. That is the way you improve and make progress. In this regard, you learn from those who have gone ahead of you, picking up lessons by learning from their mistakes. In the process, it is so easy to go from admiring other people’s work to comparing your own work unfavourably with theirs. It is so important to guard your mind so that admiration doesn’t become an opportunity for beating yourself up as not being good enough. If your learning inspires you to do better by using tried and tested techniques – you’re on the upswing. However, if upon looking at others’ creations you start inwardly berating yourself and belittling your own efforts; then know that you need to stop.
Learn to appreciate and value yourself. That will always show up in your work.
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period”. Brene Brown
The truth is that from centuries past to the present day, inventions that have transformed our lives came about as a result of individuals who allowed their creativity to soar. You can be one of those if you daily embrace your unique creativity. Just be your unique self – that’s what the world needs.
Until the next time, be inspired to soar.