There’s a theory that everyone is born with an innate sense of creativity. As babies grow into toddlers, and toddlers grow into school-age children, they have within them a sense of adventure and curiosity. As they discover and learn, they take great joy in creating, whether it’s coloring, drawing, painting, singing, dancing, or making castles out of Legos.
That same theory posits that as we grow into adulthood, we’re often urged to forget our creative side and conform. Buckle down, do what’s necessary, make money.
But that creative spark, though dampened, lives on in all of us. It may come back out in the form of a hobby, tending a garden, making a special dinner, or redecorating a room.
This weekend my wife and I had an outstanding dinner at the house with two friends of ours. In addition to a delightful meal, the conversation was thought-provoking. We talked about food (of course), home remodeling, a smattering of politics, watching your adult children evolve, and ghosts. Yes, ghosts.
We also had a very interesting discussion about creativity.
We can save our discussion on ghosts for another blog.
Being of a certain age, we all had former lives and are all redefining ourselves. One of us was a concert pianist who performed all over the world. Her husband was a noteworthy magazine publisher. Now they own a boutique hotel here on the coast, in a historic little town right on the waterfront. They’ve redecorated, upgraded, installed a 21st Century computer and reservation system, and began a marketing program that includes sophisticated usage of social media.
Additionally, they buy fixer-upper homes, make them look pretty, and sell them, moving on to the next project.
They’ve traded one set of creative skills for another.
My wife was at one time a very successful market research analyst who had done work for major corporations all over the world. She’s retired now, and during our discussion, wondered what her creative superpower might be.
During our earlier discussion, we talked about her enjoyment of genealogy and how it led to her discovery of a brother she never knew she had. It’s an amazing story that I may share on another occasion. But the conclusion we reached was Cindy’s creative superpower was in her curiosity. She’s a discoverer—an explorer.
Mine is that I’m a crime novelist and I make stuff up. Being a novelist has always been a dream of mine.
I read where the definition of creativity is: Transforming your ideas, dreams, and imagination into reality.
An article from Huffington Post cited a recent New Zealand study which says that “engaging in creative activities contributes to an “upward spiral” of positive emotions, psychological well-being, and feelings of “flourishing” in life.”
The Pacific Standard Magazine cited another study conducted at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro on college students that says that “those who reported feeling happy and active were more likely to be doing something creative at the time.”
When I think about it, the happiest people I know are the ones who are creating and/or exploring—trying new things.
So, what do you do to get your creative spark fired up?
I take a walk around our neighborhood or up to the beach. I find that by the time I get back, I have a fresh perspective on what I’m currently working on.
Here are some other suggestions I found on the web:
Keep a journal and jot down ideas as they occur to you.
Take a media break.
Read a book.
Don’t be afraid to play. Thomas Edison’s notebooks and Alexander Graham Bell’s prototypes suggest that they played while working.
Take a break from your daily routine.
Try to think about things and look at the world around you in a different way.
And finally—I like this one the best—dare to dream!