(Photo Credit: Laffy4k at Flickr)
Most people, including yourself, may think about about creativity as doing well in art and music. So if you find that you are nowhere near producing great works in these areas, you may well declare that you are not creative. However, I would like to embrace a broader definition of what creativity is.
To begin with, you need not be a genius to be creative. Creativity is a surge – a burst of imaginative and new ideas or your own unique interpretation of your five senses – that arises within your inner Being and turning this surge into reality. It also involves the the translation of your unique gifts and talents into something new and useful.
Creativity can also be about problem solving. In fact, you do not need to have a big problem to solve, to be considered creative. If you can solve your everyday problems in an ingenious way or come up with solutions to plug gaps, you are creative.
Creativity is the working of your right hand brain. Unfortunately, many of us have not spent a great deal of time developing this part of the brain when we were younger. It appears that formal school education tend to favor left-brain thinking rather than right brain ones. Left brain thinking involves analysis, logic and linearity. On the other hand, right brain thinking involves creativity, intuition, feeling and aesthetics.
Traditionally, the majority of jobs that involve more left brain thinking skills such as being an accountant or lawyer, tend to pay higher. You often hear of the term “struggling” used for an artist but it is seldom the case for one in the professional and corporate arena. In fact, jobs in accountancy, banking and engineering, are often said to be more stable.
Why You Should Explore Creativity
Creativity is A Way To Self Discovery
Creativity offers you the opportunity to finding out things about yourself, your inner Being. It is about connecting with your natural affinity. It is about going into a space where you can retreat to and experience joy and security. This has been my experience. There have been countless times when I have felt so connected with my inner Being while painting or doing a craft work. More recently, I have been exploring creativity through writing. I enjoy putting a unique spin to old tired themes and drawing on my knowledge from diverse areas to churn out new ideas for thought.
Then again, creativity is not so much about being able to produce great ideas successfully. It is more about the process and the thinking that went behind it. It is about the aspects of spontaniety, imagination, sensitivity and fluency of ideas. It is the fertile soil, out of which seeds of translating ideas from imagination to reality can take root.
“Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.”
— Quote by Erich Fromm (German born American social Philosopher and Psychoanalyst, 1900-1980)
Creativity Brings About Fulfillment
In fact, you will find that those who make use of their creative abilities in their jobs tend to be happier as compared to those who don’t. Creativity is a form of self expression and in that, represents fulfillment. All areas of learning can be potentially creative experiences. Because creativity brings out the very best in ideas, it is possible that those who can incorporate their abilities and imagination into their job, outperform those who don’t.
I know all too well how it feels like if creativity is left buried. One of my biggest grouses is that I never took the opportunity to develop creativity when I was younger. I was an accountant by training and chose banking as my career – both scopes that never quite stoke the fire in me. If anything, I felt bored most of the time. With a new realisation of how creativity fulfills me, I now seek to express myself in a variety of ways.
“It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life”
— Quote by Barthold Georg Niebuhr
Creativity Helps You To Problem Solve And Be More Adaptable
For problem solving in difficult and challenging situations, a dose of creativity can be helpful. Here is where out-of-the-box thinking can help generate fresh solutions and also encourage risk taking. Brain storming exercises are useful in this respect.
Being creative also helps you to be flexible and to adapt quickly to changing environments. If you do not nurture creativity from young, you can find it harder to respond to changes especially when they fail to happen as expected. While you may have led a sheltered life when you were younger, as a adult, you will come to know that life is indeed unpredictable. Being stubborn with a refusal to let go of ideas that are out-dated, is a sure creativity killer!
10 Blocks To Creativity
Blocks to creativity exist when you find yourself not having a creative space that you can escape to. Your life feels dull and you do not feel inspired. You experience little joy in what you do. It is more like going through the motions!!
Blocks to creativity also exist if you find yourself falling short of your potential. Your inner knowing tells you that you are capable of much more; yet when you try, it seems hard to have a major breakthrough. It is possible that you are stifling the genius within, when you do not allow adequate self expression.
1. Fear of Criticism. Perhaps one of the biggest blocks to exploring creativity lay in the fears that your ideas will be criticized. You are afraid that you will not receive support. After all, if your ideas are new and have never been explored before, you put yourself at risk of being ridiculed for them. You perceive that the more your ideas deviate from current norms and trends, the greater the chance of receiving a poor response to them. In seeking to protect your fragile ego, you prefer not to voice your ideas. You would rather not even indulge in your creative daydreams to begin with!
2. Fear of Making Mistakes. Then, there is also the fear that you are setting yourself up for more failures by coming up with new ideas. While creativity gives you a chance for innovation, your ideas may turn out to be a success or a complete flop. “Wouldn’t it be safer to stick to conventions or to old and tested ways?” you reasoned. Fear of making mistakes can be a huge obstacle, preventing you from exploring creativity freely.
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” — Quote by Erich Fromm
2. Too Much Clutter. Too much clutter can block the flow of creativity. Clutter can be both mental or physical clutter. In terms of mental clutter, creative ideas cannot flow freely if you are limited by thoughts of negativity like fear, blame, worry or shame. It will be quite impossible for ideas to come round, if your mind is constantly busy with thoughts; such as making arrangements for your schedule, how to make ends meet or whether or not to join the MLM program that your friend is promoting.
In terms of physical clutter, too much paper and things lying around, as well as too many possessions, can be distracting. They are productive suckers, occupying your mind with little or no space left to explore creativity.
3. Low Self Confidence. If you suffer from low confidence, you may believe that you are not capable. Hence, you choose to believe that you are not able to come up with creative ideas. You think that creativity is the domain of only geniuses or those who are smarter than you. Limiting thoughts make great blocks to creativity!
4. Not Enough Time To Relax. A brain that is overworked, with no time set aside for relaxation, will find it hard to produce creative ideas. It is too busy with thoughts on activities and tasks. When you are relaxed, great ideas will flow like gushing water from a tap that is fully turned on.
5. Inadequate Sleep. Inadequate sleep can hinder you in coming up with creative ideas the next day. Your physical body needs to feel good first before you can develop and explore your mental creative faculties.
In fact, it is said that many successful people have received their greatest revelations while in a dream-like state and transformed their own lives or even the world around them. One good example was Thomas Edison, who was awarded 1368 distinct patents and invented, including the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the film projector, and the first motion picture. Edison was known to have said, “Ideas come from space”. Edison purportedly took frequent naps in the afternoons and woke up with solutions to the most perplexing problems.
6. Lack of Priority. If you do not attach any importance to being creative, guess what? You are not going to enjoy the benefits of being creative either. You will be like how you are now – dull and listless. Consider setting aside time for developing creativity. It will be a good idea to also start keeping an idea journal, to facilitate this process.
7. Stubborness. A refusal to let go of your existing beliefs and thoughts can limit you in thinking of new possibilities. The more you identify yourself with specific values, meanings, beliefs and symbols, the more you will stifle creativity. On the other hand, the more you focus on how values, meanings, beliefs and symbols are formed and interrelated, the more you can explore creativity.
8. Seriousness. Not allowing yourself the sense of playfulness can be a huge block to creativity. You may associate playfulness as being childish. And hence, you do not give yourself the permission to explore things with a child-like wonder. Yet, it is being playful that allows avenues for relaxation and hence, fresh perspectives.
9. Poverty Thinking. You tend to associate those in the creative arts as poor and struggling. Hence, you may feel that it is not important to explore creativity since it cannot help you pay your bills. Why bother to waste time developing right brain thinking when you can rely adequately on your left brain to feed you?
10. Inappropriate Comparisons. If you think that only special, talented people are creative and that geniuses are born and not made, then you may have no wish to develop your creative abilities. You protest that you can barely draw, sing or dance. You are definite that you are tone-deaf or color-blind. You consider people like Shakespeare, Picasso and Mozart as “gifted”.
Here is an exciting piece of information for you: When researchers examined outstanding performances in the arts, mathematics and sports, to determine if “the widespread belief that to reach high levels of ability, a person must possess an innate potential called talent”, they discovered the opposite. It is also important to highlight, for instance, that Mozart trained for 16 years before he produced a masterpiece.
While it is true that it is best to develop your innate abilities, the strict definitions of creativity to areas in arts, should not apply. Creativity is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in almost every profession. It can be explored, developed and trained in many ways.
Creativity Resonates With Abundance
In conclusion, let me end off this article by explaining why I am discussing about creativity on this blog…..
It is in you to naturally want to create. As a human being, you are drawn to the process of creation. Creativity is the doorway to your Expanding and co-Creating in this Universe.
Creativity brings about the flow of pure energy in your inner Being. Escaping into the space of self discovery offers you the opportunity to use your faculties of imagination and play. When you are creative, you become open to possibilities in ideas. With no blocks to the flow of ideas, you experience no limits to what you think is possible.
In this space, you may decide what you want and do not want. You choose to focus your thoughts eventually on what you desire. As you focus your thoughts intently, then what you focused on can turn into reality. Remember the famous saying by Napolean Hill? – “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”.
By virtue of the law of attraction, you can attract the outcomes, of the same vibrational match to the energy of your thoughts, that will bring your ideas into fruition. In short, it is possible to experience life in abundance, as you can use your creative imagination to visualize possibilities and bring them into reality through focused thought and pure intent.
Creativity brings about a flow of focused energy that resonates with abundance and possibilities. So, if you are experiencing blocks to creativity, then it is time to do something. Look for ways to remove them. It is possible to enjoy all there is that lies in your imaginative mind!