When people find out I work as an artist, I often hear this response:
“Oh I wish I could be creative, but that’s just not me.”
My reaction? Uh, not true. You can be creative and you probably already are without realizing it, because everyone is capable of creativity.
Sure, we’re not all destined to be accomplished painters and authors. But when you look up the definition of “creativity”, it isn’t simply to be an artist or a writer, rather it is the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. This is something all humans are capable of, but it does require work. Even for those of us who it might seem like creativity comes naturally to, it still involves constant nurturing. I work every single day on utilizing the creative side of my brain and making sure that I’m constantly improving upon my skills. And you should be too.
Why should you be tapping into your creative power? Because it can help you achieve success.
Think of some of the creative minds people admire – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin – and what do they have in common? A willingness to think differently and at its very core that is what creativity is. It is the act of letting go of old ideas and becoming an innovator. It is unleashing your ability to create new things and ideas. That is why, no matter what field you work in, I feel being able to use your creative brain will help you. And guess what? Digging into your creative power is fun.
Now you’re saying, “Chelsea you literally just said that being creative requires work” and yes, I did and yes, that is still true. BUT. No one said it couldn’t still be exciting, engaging and fun work. In this post, I’ve complied my top three favorite ways to dive into your creative side. These are things that we can all do. They don’t require any special training, background or extensive education, just a willingness to be open and think differently (I will constantly be repeating this).
Be a Lifelong Student
I think we often forget how extraordinarily lucky we are today to have so much information accessible. Cat GIFs are great, but the Internet has more to offer. One of the best ways to strengthen your creativity is to be constantly learning. A few ways you can do this is by reading, attending free classes and workshops, listening to Ted Talks, and podcasts. My absolute favorite thing is listening to the RadioLab podcast. It is also important to know that recently, multiple top colleges and universities started to offer free online classes and you can even get certificates with some of them (although that last part often costs some money). Going out and learning constantly will help you be creative by engaging you in new and challenging ways, as well as introducing you to ideas you may have never considered before.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
It is easy to get stuck in the “usual way” of things. Most humans love the comfort of routine, but when doing so we’re not giving our brains the opportunity to “stretch”. Go out and meet new people. Engage in conversations. See museums, concerts, and go travel, pick up a musical instrument, attend a new exercise class or try drawing with your eyes closed. There are a million and one ways to step out and see the amazing things this world has to offer. Check out this list from success.com on 52 ways you can break out of your comfort zone. In the article, William J. Hall, M.D., says: “When you start something new, particularly in the creative area, it’s just like a whack on the side of the head to your brain.”
Always Be Willing to Play
I save this for last, because to me this is the most important. Some of the most creative individuals on this planet are kids. Why? Because they know to play. As adults, we often think those times are behind us, but I’m here to tell you that is absolutely not true. Dr. Stuart Brown, a leader in the research and science of play, said in his Ted Talk: “that the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression”. Human beings need to play. We were designed to play, but culturally, as we become adults we’ve been told not to. But just like breaking out of your comfort zone, engaging in play is a fantastic way to stretch the creative side of our brains. It just takes a willingness to open up and setting aside the belief that play activities are only for kids. Some ways to engage in play are: drawing, coloring, playing with your kids (or pets), start a board game night with friends, join an improv or acting class, or even a local sports team. (Please check out the amazing Ted Talk, by Dr. Stuart Brown, on the importance of play at all ages as well as this one by Tim Brown on the connection between play and creative thinking.)
I had to include this quote by Paul Sandip at the end, because when you decide to use your creative power it will change the way you live. For me, creativity has made me a more positive person. It has introduced me to a world of beautiful and talented individuals, made me more empathetic and self-aware. I’m happier. I engage more. I am a fullest version of myself when I embrace my creativity. I continue to be that person by always learning, leaving my comfort zone, and engaging in play. And I hope after reading this most, you’ve thought of a few ways to unleash your own creative power as well.
If you have other suggestions or resources, please share them in the comment section below!