Harness Your Creativity: 7 Secrets to Nurture Your Creative Side
Are you creative? Of course you are! Humans are creative creatures, we are built for this stuff. Here are seven simple ways to harness your creative power. These aren't the average, generic suggestions, but you're interested because you're not average.
I. Your Brain Has an Appetite
STARVE IT - In the age of technology, it's hard to escape the reach of information. Try NOT to overload your mind all of the time. Many of us are stuffed with data & information nearly every waking second as it is, so it is important to know when to power down. You know best when it comes to that, so it is up to you to know your limits. Our senses are important; too much stimulation of only one or two senses (of our 5!) is not a good thing.
Just like when a person loses their sight and must rely on all other senses instead. How they manage to navigate on city streets with a stick seemed like superhero abilities to me as a small child. I still find it truly amazing and very intriguing that our brain is capable of great change and even greater achievements. You will be surprised how much you can produce when your mind has time to 'digest' and regain its appetite.
When your mind is hungry - it is due to lack of input/ data/ sensory stimulation. When it is starving - it begins to create and generate its own content (essentially drawing from your experiences and previous input).
Would you rather draw from a bank of information that is 'recent', but not necessarily relevant; or would you rather draw from one that is collective of all of your (digested) past experiences?
Starve your brain of media for a day, a week, or a month and see how different your life becomes. Everything you experience plays a part in your life and this is exactly why urban areas are littered with advertising - it is shaping your decisions and so many experiences in your life without you ever really taking notice. We are bombarded constantly with information and stimulation (even subliminally), so much so that we do not have enough time to really digest much of it. Remember to take some time every so often to rest and process your thoughts, experiences, and all the information that is battling for real estate in your head. You might find yourself reprioritizing and rearranging up there in the 'attic' of your mind. Sometimes, that helps us make new connections and refresh our brain with new thoughts and connections.
FEED IT - Just like our body, the mind needs nourishment! Quality is of the essence and it matters what sort of sensory stimulation you subject yourself to. Like a healthy diet, it is all about "Balance". Feed your mind with sensory information and data that is new or different. What do I mean? Keep things fresh & learn new things. Your brain will thank you in ways you can't even imagine yet, but you will! I know you will because you're taking initiative to become more creative. You are feeding your brain (I hope that is an accurate statement at this point in your reading).
What you touch, smell, see, hear, taste is merely a fraction of the data and input your brain is processing. The amount of activity our brains are generating as you read this (and I proofread this), is truly astounding.
We must consider our needs as natural creators; if wifi is considered one of your basic human needs - see above. If you're relying on mostly visual content like pictures & videos to give your brain what it so desperately needs - your brain is stuffed, but cannot satiate the 'hunger' for input. A picture is worth a thousand words? If that's the case, a 10 minute walk in Time Square should be worth about 20 million words to your brain, right? Although we do not consciously process so much of it, it is subconsciously archived more than you think. I wonder what reading a thousand words is worth?
Reading is wonderful input and can give the brain large amounts of input in a rather short period of time. The speed solely depends upon our own personal ability and capacity. Although, no matter who you are, all types of visual and auditory input can be good for us. Like all things in life, it also relies heavily on balance in order for it to operate to its potential. Once again, it also depends on the utility and quality of the input that we consume.
Try to do more of what you're doing less of. In other words, challenge yourself to do things that are 'less comfortable' or out of your comfort zone. This generates new thought processes, introduces problems, issues & situations that challenge our decision making and problem-solving skills. This sort of 'exploring the 'unknown' exposes you to a state of vulnerability - your defenses are down. It's the best time to hurdle some new data, experiences, ideas, input, or creative seeds over the barriers of your mind.
Happy minds are hungry minds and everywhere you go - someone has something to feed you. Try to be aware of what you are feeding that hungry mind of yours.
II. Curiosity: Hairspray on the Flame
Curiosity killed the cat, but it will not kill you (assuming you've got a bit of common sense about you). With internet in our palm, pocket, office, and home - we have answers on tap. Information is infinitely abundant and if we can ask questions, we can get answers. There is no reason to wonder how many square feet the grand canyon is - we can find out in a single search query, right now. We all have questions and questions are easier to answer than ever. There is a collective global network that is the internet. The internet is a personal oracle to those who know how to use it.
Make predictions, inquire, discover. No matter how young or old you might be (or feel), we all have had wonders at some time or another. From the time we are born and begin to experience the world, in our own unique way, we begin to wonder. We wonder about shapes, colors, people, places, time, words, feelings, and spaces. Are you curiously wondering if I meant to structure that in such a poetic way? Don't wonder too long about one thing - discover your wonders and new ones will follow.
Always question everything. Maybe not aloud, but think. "Think for yourself, Question Authority" as Timothy Leary put it. He said it so clearly and in such a remarkable way that the words ring in my head as if it were a song. In fact, it might be because one of my favorite bands, Tool, included it in one of their album tracks. These words have been my guiding light for almost half of my life:
"Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities -- the political, the religious, the educational authorities --- who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing -- forming in our minds -- their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself."** Timothy Leary
You might be able to gain a deeper perspective into my writings here by understanding what sort of experiences and information I am drawing from. We all have a "bank" of data in our brain that we reference from. What you deposit is what you may withdraw, with one exception: the connections our brains are able to make can generate brand new content (e.g. ideas, realizations, relativity, etc). We are all capable of playing the most complicated game of 'connect the dots' in our mind and it can harvest some really incredible stuff. Be curious of the world around you. If that doesn't suffice - get a telescope and be curious about what's in our galaxy. After that, you can wonder what's in the next universe over.
Stay curious my friends.
**Excerpt via Timothy Leary Quotes at http://www.notable-quotes.com/l/leary_timothy.html
Think For Yourself - Question Authority
III. Be a Kid
'Dance like nobody is watching', seek out laughter, stop being so mature all of the time. Unless you're a kid (wow! you're impressive kid), then chances are you were already forced, kicking and screaming, into the world of 'taking life seriously'.
Kids are creative creatures that have not been corrupted. We all begin our journey, untouched by the many fingers aiming to leave a print (or smudge) in your mind. Then, as we are 'processed' like deli meat and funneled into our cozy packaging, we slowly forget what it was like to have our own thoughts and feelings.
More than likely, you're uber-serious about image compared to a child. Kids are way more relaxed going out in public in Minion pajamas than most adults. The adults that go out in public wearing adult-sized onesie pajamas, don't necessarily concern themselves with how they are perceived or if they are taken seriously by others. Honestly, if it makes you comfortable - go for it. Let go once in a while. If all that gets harmed is your ego, then I'd say it is worth the taste of freedom, of choice that is. After all, it is a choice that we make.
Best way to feel like a kid is to be around them. At the age of 9 (before I hit 'double-digits-yeah, that was a huge deal), I swore to myself that I'd never grow up. I've done a magnificent job thus far, judging solely by current income and inability to wash my own laundry. But in my defense, I'm a stay-home dad with 2 children, a 2 year old and a 6 month old, so my job is tough AND it does not pay in the form of money. However, I have an excuse to act like a kid - that is so worth the dirty diapers and tired meltdowns. I am rich in other ways, just not in my pockets quite yet. It has its perks. Nobody questions a 30 year old man in a tent, camping in the living room when he has kids. Without kids in the equation, that same man might find that his neighbors and friends are deeply concerned. Kids are creative creatures that have not been corrupted by imposed beliefs and thoughts.
I don't think kids concern themselves with "originality" until they are programmed to do so. When we are taught as though you need to be original to be creative - that is a cancer to our creative spirit of which I believe we all possess.
To me, creativity does not necessarily correlate to originality. People improve upon old ideas in news ways all the time. We improve upon processes, laws, skills, products, etc. Everything is evolving and as we experience the environment around us, we begin to refine and adapt to it - we are evolving as well. This is creation at work. We all live it 24/7.
Kids see the world in a very interesting way and when they become adults - those visions manifest into society and bring new standards with it. We need to pay more attention to kids and we would learn a lot. We aren't just the ones shaping their world - they shape ours too eventually. Far too many people refuse themselves opportunity to create magnificent things, out of fear. For fear of failure, fear of displeasing peers, fear of not being original or not good enough. I'd love nothing more than to see that extinguished. I'd much rather see more people harness and discover the magic of their own creativity than to quit before ever having a chance. Having a childlike wonder of the world is the key unlocking so much of what adults have been trained to ignore.
Ignore that voice of 'impossibility' and have some fun.
IV. Be Kind, It's Magnetic
Project kindness in your actions, words, and thoughts. Be a beacon of kindness and cast your kindness into the world in every direction. Not everyone is kind, so those with the capacity have a bit of a weight to carry. But... We do not mind, do we? I think it was Ashleigh Brilliant that said "be kind to unkind people. they need it most."
Positivity is a powerful tool. One can achieve endless possibilities if they choose to utilize the power of positive energy. Your thoughts, actions, and emotions are waves, channeling outward into the universe. We are radiating beings of energy. Although, like batteries some are full charge and some need charging. Imagine trying to charge a solar powered car in a dark tunnel under the ground. Pretty tough, right? Impossible without solar rays. Well, some of us are in that tunnel for one reason or another at some time in our lives. We just need that radiant energy to give us that charge.
Kindness is that radiant blast that carries for infinite lengths. Infinite, c'mon really? Yes, really dude (or dudette). It does not stop at, but rather passes through and beyond everything it comes into contact with. It multiplies as it is propelled endlessly.
In my opinion, kindness is perpetual. One small force can set in motion an energy that continues on. Any force thereafter may only amplify that energy. Be kind, randomly. There is no greater warmth in the world than love.
A rule to remember about kindness: Share it, never spare it. Simple kind gestures make you feel good and those that you direct that kindness towards as well. Expect nothing in return every time; do it out of love. If you can't find any reason to do it, do it for yourself. I'm telling you, it'll make you feel good about yourself and that in turn will make you more creative.
Love is infinitely abundant, litter your surroundings with it. Litter the Earth with love; share it and don't ever spare it.
V. Be Honest, It's Easier
Sounds like a pretty general thing, but being true and honest to yourself isn't easy work. We are constantly curtailing our behavior, both consciously and subconsciously, via the mechanism within us all - self image.
After the age of 3 or so, we become creatures of 'self'. But from that time on, we spend our early years monitored and eventually self-monitoring for ourselves. The problem is that we spend an awful lot of time trying to appease others. When we are little it is our parents and mentors; teen years it's our friends and or that crush; in the adult years it becomes your spouse, employer, and the almighty taxman.
How do you know if you're an honest person? In my version of the 'type' of person that is honest would be a person that finds it harder to come up with an easy lie than to tell the hard truth.
Be true to yourself and it becomes easier to be true to others. Start where it counts most; you are priority numero uno. Think about why you like the things you like. Think about why you enjoy certain things and why not others. When you honestly reflect on your thoughts, actions, intentions, and morals - you might discover that you have no idea why you do some of the things that you do. Or you might find that you are aligned with your true path. Be true to what resonates within you.
Honest people have more memory to remember things that matter. Without a bunch of lies and twisted stories to remember, our brain is free to retain things that matter.
It actually takes more effort (brainpower) to lie than to tell the truth. So that phrase "work smarter, not harder" finally makes sense, doesn't it? Plain and simple: just be honest, tell the truth even when [and especially when] it sucks for you to do so. Even if it isn't what people want to hear.
Set yourself free - that is the key to creation. Absolute freedom to experiment, express, and interpret anything we desire is the path to creation. Desires, Needs, Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams are what sustain all efforts in the universe. The only thing that keeps us going when there is nothing else. Know what your aspirations, hopes, needs, dreams and desires are and why you chose them.
I want you to draw. I do not want your brain going to "I can't, I suck at, I could never, or I've never been good at...", so let's immediately dismiss that nonsense right away.
Number one rule of drawing: Never be afraid to destroy your drawings and start over. Draw like nobody will ever see it and like you'll torch it as soon as you feel it is complete. Doodle, Draw, Scribble, just put your eyes and hands to work in some sort of harmony. It does not matter your result, but rather the process is what is most important. The process of drawing allows you an extension of your self and your imagination. Do not feel limited by your skill, but rather early in your process. Repeat the process and you will acquire the skill. Anyone can draw, but not if you refuse to do it.
I had my first drawing class in my mid 20s and to my surprise, produced some fine work. A lot of it had one thing in common: many of the greatest drawings were produced by people that had written in ink that they couldn't draw 'well' and disliked it because they weren't good at it. Somehow, throughout the classes, so many lose focus of comparing themselves to others and actually channel their energy into their work - of art. I think it is also partly due to the energy of those surrounding me with similar goals - to draw. The energy that is channeled from collective team efforts and collaboration can propel us in ways that a textbook or tutorial cannot. I can explain this experience because I was one of those people that got so drawn to (no pun intended, but hell yeah I'll take a pun point!) exploring that I had forgotten my own excuses for never taking the time to do it. I blew my own mind and my family and friends were surprised at the content that had been trapped within my imagination for so long. Had I listened to that part of myself that always doubts, I would not have the extension of creativity at my disposal. I ended up switching majors from Photography to Graphic Design/ Fine Arts focus. Imagine that.
Don't worry about style, just focus on some basics or just do your own thing at your own pace. No matter what you do, don't draw any conclusions (Boom! x2 points) without at least putting it to practice first. Drawing, Scribbling, Coloring, Doodling - whatever you choose - just do it. Set you mind free for a an hour, there are way worse things you could be doing with you time. Try it without worrying about the final product, it is all about allowing the process; to be evoked in ways that you might have been refusing for quite some time. Allow the thoughts to flow freely and you might find yourself following them to great discoveries of your own. The journey and process is the best part, enjoy the ride!
Drawing provides us with sensory stimulation that taps into our creative well. Give it a try (or second chance if you have "tried" before - do it again).
VII. Your Mind Reflects Your Environment
Everything that surrounds us is shaping our life. Where we live, the route we drive to work can impact our workday, the furniture in our home affects our mood, the street we live on - it is all a part of shaping us. Our space defines us in so many ways. We also define your space. It is a push/pull relationship. We all struggle to achieve a harmonious balance within our space. Why do you think there are is a cleaning product aisle in every grocery store? It is a problem that we all have. When it comes to environment, sanitation is highly important, but that isn't everything.
Germs could very well be the least of our worries. How our space is defining our lifestyle, actions, thoughts, and standards is much more worrisome. This is something that can potentially drain a creative human being if not taken into consideration. Space must be balanced, like everything else in life, in order to achieve harmony. Our space should harmonize with us and the inhabitants within it. It should not introduce conflict or tension.
Work, home, your car - the environments that we spend a great deal of time - require the most thought and care. If you are not comfortable at home, at work, or in your car then it is time for an assessment of your space. Organize and define your space.
Surround yourself with like minds. Being in a group of people with the same goal is immensely valuable. As a unit, you all push each other to go further and do better. I personally feed off of that sort of environment and have experienced it enough to know that without it - my capacity, trajectory, and ability to sustain is greatly reduced. In a group environment, I absorb literally all that I can intake. Only because I have seen the value it can have later in life.
People are great motivators if you surround yourself with the right ones. Surround yourself with people aiming to better themselves - they're usually willing to help others do the same. It is hard to get that from those complacent with where they are and have no ambitions, goals, or dreams.
Be conscious of how environment and the things around us are constantly influencing us. Whether it is the placement of candy in the checkout aisle in a grocery store or the color of a room; we are being influenced by our surroundings. This includes non-physical factors like emotion, impulse, ideas, and such. Everything surrounding your physical being, whether physical or non-physical, is partially responsible for your entire life experience. If you didn't already know a better environment, you wouldn't possibly believe one exists. This isn't just about perspective folks, this is about where we are and what we are doing and what surrounds us - right now. That is something to tread lightly knowing.
"Take responsibility for making your own life beautiful."
TIMOTHY LEARY, Your Brain Is God - Free PDF available @ https://faretece.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/your-brain-is-god.pdf
My delivery might seem strange to some and I realize that the above is simply an expression - my perception and opinion. These are things that I have reflected upon and have drawn from past experiences. My aim is not to get people to see things my way, but rather in their own way. I hope to help others tap into their bank and be able to utilize it to become the creators that humans are built to be. Women create humans inside of their body! That is the definition of awesome. Seriously, we are built for creation. I hope it has been fun and thought-provoking to read and I thank all that have taken the time.
Creativity is considered a 'phenomenon' by many and a 'gift' that not all possess. That may be true, but I'd argue that changing the variables like environment, personal experience, and social groups might prove otherwise.
The way that we process and intake information in 2015 must 'fast'. It must be immediate or as close to it as possible. Many of us want answers boiled down into a sentence or two. We don't want to spend very much time on discovery in the modern world - we want it fast and perfect the first time. We are a society that is so afraid of being wrong that we refuse anything considered to be a "liability" or something that might or could introduce risk. However, it is a small percentage of people willing to fail in order to prevail; that generate nearly ALL of the technology, methods, ideals, and concepts that make each and every one of our lives easier, more enjoyable, and more efficient.
Creativity is the sum of innumerable variables within our universe. If you can produce/ manufacture/ generate/ think of/ conceptualize/ visualize/ believe/ make/ build/ imagine - YOU are creative. You possess creativity. You are a creator.
I believe that we all possess this ability and innate power in some form or another. It is inborn in mankind and I believe that briefly observing the achievements of mankind by each century shows that humans are getting better and better at harnessing their power to create. Look around at the incredible, awesome, amazing achievements that have been made just in our lifetime. Anyone reading this has experienced incredible leaps and bounds of human progress. It truly is remarkable.
It is my belief that every individual possesses that creative toolbox and that only some have figured out ways to harness it. The rest have no idea the power within themselves that is merely awaiting its discovery. Hopefully, if you were one of those people - you will be no longer. Now that I'm done trying to convince you that you've already got the incredible power of infinite creativity within you, convince me that I'm wrong. If you dare that is.
I haven't yet come across a person that I felt was not capable of magnificent creations. I also do not believe that all of the marvelous creations that we know today come from any solitary person or being - every creation is manifested collectively. Sure, we can credit a sole individual with a successful creation or discovery. But if you ask the person who'd they give credit to - they'd likely have an answer, other than themselves, in mind to credit. We all get credit so long as you're actively participating in some way, shape, or form. All I ask is for your participation. The next generations to come will thank you tremendously for it, I assure you.
You have the power, just find that 'light switch' and make sure nobody turns it off for you. Believe in yourself because there are people out there that believe in you as well. All you might need is a slight nudge, a spark; May this be the hairspray to your flame. Do not allow doubt to extinguish your burning desire to free your mind. Best to you in every endeavor and may the creativity always be with you!