4 Tips to Create Passed the Voices in Your Head
Everybody thinks they know the truth about the extent of their creativity. Just like we claim to know our aptitude in sports, fashion or traveling, we think we know if we are creative beings or not.
So, are you creative ?
The truth is, there’s only one answer to that question, and it is yes. If you said no, it might be because you don’t feel creative, or you don’t know how to use your creativity, but you are creative. (sorry)
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying we are all closeted Mozarts or Picassos. We’re not. (sorry again)
Misconception #1: Being creative is not the same thing as being an artist.
What I’m saying is that creativity is a muscle we’re all born with. And just like any muscle, it’s more or less active at birth for each one of us. Some of us may end up in homes where creativity is naturally encouraged, enhanced, or pushed forward. This has an impact on our creative muscle, and like any other muscle, the less we use it, the less we feel in touch with it. Until we convince ourselves we are simply not creative and drop it altogether.
Hold on, why does this “muscle” matter in the first place? (great question)
This muscle matters because it is what allows you to make a positive difference in the world in a way nobody else can. And I know it sounds overly pompous and dramatic, but I’m not bullshiting you.
The act of creating is, essentially, the act of bringing something unique to the world. Whatever you create: a recipe, a drawing, a code, a pamphlet, a training program, it has your unique DNA stamped on it. Sure it might resemble something already out there, or be inspired by something familiar, but it’s adorned with your unique DNA. Because nobody can do you but you.
In other words, being creative means filling up the space that is your own, giving your voice a stage, and aligning what’s within you with what you put out in the world.
Creativity isn’t job-related. But it can be hard and feel intimidating to be creative when you’ve always thought (or were told) that you were not.
The good news is: whatever your age, your job, and your past relationship with your creativity, it’s never too late to activate your creative muscle.
Here are four of the most common excuses used by people justifying their lack of creativity.
#1 — “I DON’T HAVE ANY IDEAS”
A lack of ideas usually means that there’s a glitch in the connection between the outside (your life) and the inside (you). Either you’re leading a life that no longer stimulates your senses, or you’ve stopped paying attention to the millions of stimuli coming your way daily. It can be a bit of both, or a lot of one. Whatever it is, here is one way to fix the glitch:
Become your curiosity’s stalker.
The task is simple: every time you hear your brain say weird/curious/interesting/why/wtf!, stalk that thought.
Search online, ask around, collect, store and cherish the data that fed your curiosity and I promise you that along the way, ideas will emerge. Because new ideas come from connecting at least two dots together.
The more dots you put on your map, the higher the probability of connecting at least two of them in a creative way.
#2 — “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START”
A lack of direction can be paralyzing. As counterintuitive as it might sound in today’s startup and solopreneurs world, a lot of people cave guidance. In other words, a lot of people want a boss.
But when you’re in a creative flow, you are the boss. You need to own your creativity and give it a direction.
Taking charge in the dark, can become a source of stress and prevent us from going past the ‘I have an idea’ stage.
Here is a way to go from idea to creation.
Get an accountable partner and set-up masterminds. It doesn’t have to be someone who is doing the same thing than you do, but ideally it will be someone on her/his own quest so you can both share a common will and drive.
As often as you need, whether once a week or once a month, call or meet with your accountable partner. Talk about the things you did- what worked, what didn’t, and what you want to accomplish until the next meeting.
By doing that, you’re doing the deep work to help your creativity thrive. Just like athletes build their chore strength through crunches, you build a strong support system for your creativity to feel safe and structured.
#3 — “I’M NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING”
We are wired to judge. Even when it comes to something as subjective as creativity. We look for stamps of approval telling us who got an award and who is the best at so and so.
Yeah sure, Jimmy writes short stories, but Bobby is a New-York Time Best-Sellers. (who isn’t nowadays?) Sweet Claudette makes videos, while Nancy is an Award Winning Filmmaker. Zzzz.
Which leads us to misconception #2: Creativity has NOTHING to do with good results.
A lot of people don’t even try to express their creativity because they are convinced they won’t get good results. But here is the thing: the “quality” of your creativity is and will always be unpredictable because it isn’t linked to your age, wisdom, knowledge or skills.
A so-called good result depends on the idea, its execution and the right timing. And you can rarely control the timing part… so there actually is a factor of good fortune.
What that means is that what others say about your ‘creative-worth’ today MEANS NOTHING about your actual creativity.
Once we’ve dropped the ‘social-shaming’ argument, we are left with the skills (= the execution part). Mastering skills will help you feel and be more creative. Because when you know the rules, you can bend them and play around much more easily.
How do you fix that glitch? You focus on quantity.
Drop the theory that you’re bad at something, if it’s calling you, go get your hands dirty, do a lot of ‘it’ and watch your creativity get activated.
#4 — “I DON’T HAVE TIME, I NEED MONEY”
Many people think they don’t need creativity because their job doesn’t require them to be creative.
But creativity isn’t just for those who have creative jobs. Any top performers, regardless of their field, will mention creativity as key to their growth, the pleasure they take in their work and to, ultimately, becoming the best.
When we connect with our creativity, we think outside the box, we take risks and goof around (the goofing around part is very important!).
When we connect with our creativity, we feel better, which means the people around us feel better, and we become part of a positive ecosystem oriented toward growth and life.
That’s not paying my rent though.
Or maybe it is, and you don’t even know it. This is the thing with creativity: it doesn’t shoot for credits. It sneaks under our brain and heart and it makes us create connections that we never suspected possible.
So if what holds you back from activating your creativity is the fear it won’t serve you: think big picture, think happiness.
Creativity is about ripple effects. Your creativity will always provoke ripple effects that will positively influence people in ways you’ll probably never know about.
Yes, there’s no guarantee that activating your creativity will pay your rent. But there’s a guarantee it will make you a happier person, because it will take you one step closer to being fully expressed, and that’s priceless. For you, and for everybody around you, whether it’s obvious or not.
Remember: creativity is not a lucky gift some got and others didn’t. You were born with this muscle.
Whether you want to use it or not is another topic. But know that just like flexibility or endurance, it can expand with training, perseverance and specific exercises.
If you’ve heard yourself using any of the excuses above, try to implement the fix. See what works, play with it, refine it to your needs, and watch your creative muscle stretch and expand.
Because there’s no better itch to scratch than a creative one.
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Nathalie Sejean is Activate® Creativity co-founder, a company dedicated to help you reconnect, stretch and nurture your creativity. Click here for more.