Creativity is needed everywhere. All industries, all organizations, and all individuals can use creativity to benefit and enrich their business, their processes, their products, and their lives. As such, creativity is one of the most important skills a person can develop. But what if you don’t feel capable of creative thinking? How can you discover if there is a creative spark inside of you? Do you have what it takes to be creative?
Do you have what it takes to be creative?
Short answer: yes.
I can say that definitively because everyone has what it takes to be creative. The human brain is capable of divergent thinking. It is capable of grasping new concepts, or applying old ones in new ways. It is capable of creativity.
The best proof of this I can think of is children. Children are inherently creative. They act on their impulses—doing and saying things as they come to mind, without putting them through a filter of social/logical acceptability.
For most of us, those creative impulses are tamped down as we get older. We are taught to think things through, to be reasonable and realistic, to only share ideas that are fully formed and organized. This inhibits our creativity, and if we aren’t able to use our creativity in other, deliberate ways, we’ll start to lose that creative impulse. Eventually, we may forget that it is even there at all.
But it is there. You—yes, you—have what it takes to be creative.
What it takes to be creative
So, what does it take to be creative, exactly? There are really only three main things.
1. The desire to create
The first (and probably most important) thing you need is a desire to create. You have to want to be creative before you are going to be able to awaken that creativity inside you. You have to invite it to come out and be seen.
I believe that the desire to create is a natural and automatic thing. There is something inside us all that drives us to create. If you want to be scientific about it, you might say it’s a survival instinct stemming from the need to procreate and keep our genes alive. If you want to be spiritual about it, you might say that the desire to create was planted in us by the being who created us.
The question of where it comes from matters less than the fact that it is there. The key is to recognize it and build on it.
How to recognize and build on your desire to create
If you are reading this, you probably have at least an inkling of a desire to create. That’s a great start. If you want to build on that and further motivate yourself to get creative, here are some things to try.
- Learn about the power of creativity. There are plenty of researchers and thought leaders out there who have delved into the world of creativity and its importance. Learning about how creativity can serve you will help uncover and/or strengthen your own desire to create.
- Reflect. Think back to a time when you were creative—your childhood, a specific project you worked on, etc. How did using your creativity make you feel? What about that feeling/creativity could benefit your life now?
- Think about problems in your life. How are you struggling in your life? We all struggle in different ways; what problems do you face? Write down everything that is currently bothering you. Now look at your list and consider how creative thinking might help you move through those problems, move on from them, solve them in a healthy way, or simply let them go. Creativity solves problems; it can solve yours.
As your desire to create grows, your capacity to create will also grow. That desire is something that anyone can discover within themselves and cultivate.
2. A creative outlet
The next ingredient you need is a creative outlet. Part of creative capability is being able to actually use your creativity. You need a place to express your creativity and let it shine.
The trick here is finding a creative outlet that works for you. It doesn’t have to be a “typical” creative field, like art or music (although those are both great). Creativity is more about thinking in different ways than anything else, which means that creative thinking can be applied pretty much anywhere.
How to find your creative outlet
Because of that, there are many, many outlets you might choose from when trying to bring more creativity into your life. So how do you go about finding the right one for you?
- Do something different. I usually recommend that my coaching clients find a creative outlet that is not something they do on a daily basis—that is, not something related to their field of work. While creativity can apply to almost any profession, you’ll get more of a spark by doing something you aren’t used to doing regularly. Then you can take that creativity and apply it to your job.
- Think about what you used to enjoy. One fun exercise is to think about something you enjoyed doing when you were 10. Did you like watercolors? Skateboarding? Astronomy? Were you into LEGO, or comic books, or baking? This is the perfect place to start when trying to find your perfect creative outlet. A lot of times, doing something you enjoyed as a kid will take you back to that more uninhibited time in your life.
- Try, try again. If you try one creative outlet and it doesn’t work out, try another one. There are countless opportunities for creative expression out there, and there is bound to be one that works perfectly for you.
Finding the right creative outlet is remarkably rewarding. Once you are expressing your creativity, guess what? You are being creative.
3. Patience and practice
This is probably the most difficult of the requirements for creativity. Because here’s the thing: creativity doesn’t happen overnight. Just like eating one salad won’t turn you into a vegan, or working out for a week can’t make you a bodybuilder, being creative a couple times won’t make you a “creative person.”
Like any muscle, creativity must be worked and strengthened. It takes practice and patience in order for it to come naturally to you. The more you practice it, the better you’ll be at it.
How to practice creativity (and have patience while doing it)
I’ll be the first to admit that a willingness to practice patiently is not something that comes easily to me. If you’re the same way, you might benefit from these tips.
- Let go of perfectionism. Perfectionism kills creativity. It stops you from taking risks, lowers your self-esteem, and brings negativity and criticism to what should be free and joyful. If you can break free from perfectionism, you’ll find that you have more patience with yourself as you work on becoming a more creative person.
- Track your progress. Consider finding a way to track your progress on your creative journey. This could look like a sticker chart, a creativity journal, or a check-in with a friend. Doing something to help you pause to reflect on how far you’ve come will motivate you to keep going.
- Try affirmations. Affirmations can help you develop a patient and positive mindset around developing your creative skills. Try affirmations that reinforce the idea that you are a creative person, that you are practicing creativity for a good reason, and that all your efforts will be well worth it.
If you can crack the code to practice and patience, you definitely have what it takes to be more creative.
So—do you have what it takes to be creative? Yes, you do. Anyone that can find the desire, discover a creative outlet, and develop the willingness to patiently practice can be creative.
What are you waiting for? Your creativity is waiting to be let out. Time to become the creative person you are meant to be.
Design a more creative life.
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