How challenging yourself creatively can change your life

My life was too easy. So I fixed it.

If you haven’t already read about why I intentionally make my life harder-check it out HERE.

Now that you understand why you should CHALLENGE yourself, I’m gonna try to convince you to challenge yourself CREATIVELY.

By that I mean, challenge yourself to actively create new things! Drawings, paintings, poems, sculptures, fancy sweaters, wooden shoes, gourmet dog treats, whatever! The point is that you are using your imagination to create something that no one has seen before, to create art.

It’s important for everyone to work on some type of art, whatever your occupation because:

  1. Art = self expression

The more you create and explore new possibilities the better you get at expressing and understanding yourself. You bit by bit develop a larger toolbox for creating messages, getting your point across, exploring and learning about what you personally find important, and connecting with others.

2. Art = understanding and empathy

As you explore more of what is interesting and important to you-focusing on the patterns in a bird’s wing you’re painting, exploring how different glazes blend on your pottery, trying out new patterns for crochet-you express yourself and other learn to better understand other artists and people. Art is a large part of culture, it expresses your unique priorities, but can also communicate what a society deems important.

By challenging yourself creatively you will become more connected to others doing the same in your culture, as well as different cultures. This awareness of similarities and differences between yourself and others leads to more understanding and empathy.

3. Art = universal and achievable

Art, or creative pursuits, are also a great focus when trying to challenge yourself because anyone can do it. Everyone has their own unique perspective and ideas to offer the world. In essence one of the great things about art is that anyone can appreciate it, anyone can contribute, and anyone can improve. From your very first day whittling to your third decade writing novels, there will always be a new way to grow and challenge yourself.

4. Art = community

Art is often thought of as a solitary pursuit, but it can be a great way to find connections and support while challenging yourself. Whether you are meeting with people from a class, find a Facebook group to get feedback, or join a weekly writer’s group-almost any creative pursuit will provide opportunities to connect with other people going down the same path.

5. Art = creative thinking

One of the best benefits to challenging yourself artistically is that the creative problem solving skills you develop can carry over into all parts of your life. Being able to think abstractly, combine information or ideas from various sources, and think of unique solutions are abilities that you can practice and develop. They are also unendingly useful in work, relationships, or just everyday life.

If my reasons haven’t convinced you yet, then find your own!

Challenging yourself artistically is not a magical solution for all of life’s problems.

At the same time, it can often give you skills to work on it, help relieve stress, or give you a new perspective.

Likely, no matter how disconnected a problem in your life may seem-having a hobby or project to work towards and enjoy can help.

So…where should I start?

I suggest finding a reason to challenge yourself, find a goal to work towards, decide on a project, and seek out an audience or community as you go!

And don’t forget to have fun!!

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.” - Kurt Vonnegut