This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down... And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became a creatively-identifying person from a self-described-type-A-er.
Up until a few years ago, I was convinced that I had been unblessed by the bountiful gene pool without the gift of creativity (did you figure that double negative out? In other words, I felt I wasn't creative). I had a fixed idea of what creativity was all about and I was in the other circle of the Venn diagram.. that's right, I thought about it in terms of a Venn diagram. CLASSIC left brain behavior. On a deeper psychological level, I believe it was born out of coming from a two-child family where I had the irrational idea that siblings couldn't share traits. That they were divided up equally and since my sister was indisputably creative in the conventional sense (artistic), I was was, by default, not... but we're not getting into that today, Freud. We'll save that for another session.
So, back to the story: My aha light bulb moment happened when I read an article on the 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently. As you've probably guessed, via the most obvious foreshadowing ever, that upon reading this article, I realized that: oh me oh my, I may actually be creative after all, yada yada... I'll get into some of the key components of the article that caused my change in identity, but that's not where this story ends. No, the real MVP of this tale, happened after a few months of acknowledging this characteristic in myself and going all-in in embracing my creative self. Feelin my flow, so to speak. The more I accepted and celebrated my sense of creativity, the easier it seemed to tap into it, to access it when I wanted and to harness it in ways that made sense.
My epiphany that came from the article about how creative people were different, actually turned into the idea that creative people are not in fact different types of people but rather people that have cultivated that part of themselves more actively. THE IRONY! I realized that I wasn't a left brain person and that the other half of my brain was, for lack of a better word, missing.. it just hadn't been activated and incubated properly. Full disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist or neuroscientist, BUT through my experience, I believe we all have the ability to be "highly creative" beings and we need to acknowledge and engage both "sides" of our brain to evoke the maximum amount of potential that they both have to offer... The idea I guess I'm trying to describe here is something I'll call BRAIN SYNERGY. (haha, got to get my business blog SEO keywords in there :)
Allow me to elaborate my point by dissecting the biznas of creativity a little more. Research has proven that creativity involves the collaboration of a cornucopia of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person. The very nature of creativity is all about making connections. It's rooted in the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect. In the words of the almighty Steve Jobs:
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things."
Put aside his assumption that some people are creative and others aren't and just hear me out for a second... If creativity is all about making connections then why do we continually describe it as a singular sort of trait. It stands to reason that by encouraging the idea that your left and right brains work in tandem, we can open up a whole realm of seemingly unrelated connections that bridge the two mindsets in a way that each can enhance the other and the thus the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. BOOM!
So, whether I've lost you throughout my whole philosophical walkabout and you just want some tips; or if in fact you are feeling awakened to a whole new wave of possibilities like I was, here are some ways to get your creativity flag flying high:
DON'T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU
Acknowledge that we all have the potential to be creative. Albeit, fairly obvious and basically my point from above, but you're probably not going to summon many creative thoughts if you don't believe they have the ability to exist within you in the first place!
GET HOOKED ON A DAYDREAM
Daydreaming is going to be your bestie in this space. Mind-wandering is said to aid in the process of “creative incubation” and ACTUAL neuroscientists have found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
GET OM IT!
Meditative activities will help you log in to your creative account like white on rice. I'm not much of a meditate-er but I get my zen on in the shower, when driving or when I'm on a run - activities that keep me focused, that I don't have to actually focus on. Additionally, don't get anxious and allow for ample time and some solitude.
START A STARING CONTEST
Observe as much as you can. People that are feeling the creative vibes see possibilities everywhere. They are constantly watering their garden of ideas to choose from by observing people and their behaviors, getting involved in a range of diverse experiences and seeing new things. Be voraciously curious and devour information about as many things as you can.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Creativity gets going when you unlock access to your flow state. Many would say that creative expression is basically self expression, so tapping into what resonates with you, what you're good at, what you find challenging but stimulating, or what is engaging to you, will help to get those creative juices "flowing."
THE F WORD
Creativity requires the act of making something from nothing and thus FAILURE is a very real risk. Recognize that failure is really just trial and error and that's kind of what the C-word (creativity, duh!) is all about!