“Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” ~George Kneller
Creativity is a powerful force that resides within all of us. It’s a superpower that everyone possesses but few harness.
Thankfully, we are all born creative. As children, we were in touch with our creative muse. It’s the purest form of self-expression.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Not me, I can’t even draw a circle.” Don’t worry. Neither can I. So, I express my creativity in other ways, through writing, storytelling, and problem-solving. These are the areas where my creativity shines.
Believe it or not, you also have areas where you are a creative genius. You’ve simply forgotten how to access your natural born creative spirit you had as a child. This is not your fault. It’s a societal barrier.
In the past, our education system placed far more value on logic and analytical thinking than developing creative skills. But the tide is starting to turn. A new trend in education places more focus on creativity and right-brained activities such as music, art, writing, dance, digital photography, and film. The increase in the number of charter high schools (dedicated to a liberal arts education), homeschooling, and the value placed on a liberal arts college degree are evidence that society is starting to recognize creativity as a valuable asset.
Hidden Powers of Creatives:
Creative people possess the ability to view the world from multiple angles. They are skilled at presenting an ordinary object from a new angle that broadens our experience with it. They have the power to make our world more beautiful and interesting by making the familiar appear new and unique.
Creatives are also more innovative. Their ability to see things from many angles gives them an advantage when it comes to problem-solving. They easily break down complex issues and think more outside the box which helps them discover innovative solutions and products.
Does this sound like you? Do you see yourself as a creative person? Social psychologists believe everyone is born with creative ability. Sometimes we just need help to rediscover this part of ourselves. Here’s how you can ignite your creative spirit and the benefits you will gain from living creatively.
3 Human Characteristics That Spark Creativity:
- Curiosity – The first thing you need to express your natural born creativity, is to be curious about the world around you. You must notice things and wonder about them. When you see a delicious apple, do you picture the tree that it came from or the orchard? If it’s organic, do you picture the hands of the person who picked it? Can you describe them? This ability sparks your imagination and ignites the right side of the brain. Curiosity starts by asking questions.
- An Open Mind – I don’t mean this in a political sense, but rather in your ability to see things from more than one angle or perspective. Are you adept at debating either side of an argument? When you see an object or event, can you picture it any other way than how it exits in front of you? Can you use your imagination to see it or have it play out in another way? An open mind is the playground for creativity.
- Playfulness – The ability to see things from a “child-like” state and experiment. Children are experts at play and this helps them tune into their creative abilities where they are free to experiment with many possibilities. As we grow, this child-like state is driven out of us by rules, structure, and judgement. Remembering to play removes these limiting biases and brings out your inner child. It prevents you from taking yourself too seriously and encourages you to break the rules where necessary.
“When you aren’t afraid to break the rules, the true breakthroughs will begin” ~John Caponigro
In his insightful TED talk, “You’re a Lot More Creative than You Think,” internationally renowned photographer and artist John Paul Caponigro says “The human being is a creative species.” But you must give yourself permission to be creative and you must practice with persistence.
The Benefits of Living Creatively:
- Gives you an extra edge when problem-solving. Harnessing your inner creativity allows you to look at issues from multiple angles and think “outside the box” to come up with new and innovative solutions. In the business world, this will differentiate you from others who are more systematic in their approach to problem-solving.
- Increases self-awareness and relationship skills. According to Ruth Richards, a psychology professor at Saybrook University and Harvard Medical School, engaging in creative behaviors makes you more dynamic, conscious, non-defensive, observant, collaborative and brave. “It makes you more resilient,” Richards says, “more vividly in the moment, and, at the same time, more connected to the world.”
- Reduces anxiety and makes you feel more grounded. The ability to express yourself creatively provides you with an outlet for self-expression and helps you live more authentically (remembering and honoring your inner child).
Activities that improve creative skills:
- Meditation – Allows you to unleash the power of Theta brain waves which are heightened during creative activities. You can experience these benefits with just 5-10 minutes of daily meditation. There are many guided meditations available online that specifically activate Theta brain waves for enhanced creativity.
- Photography – Increases your ability to see a subject from multiple angles. This is a fun hobby that naturally induces experimentation with a subject. You don’t have to be Ansel Adams to expand your creative abilities through photography.
- Play – Connects you to your inner child and removes limiting factors such as rules and self-judgement. Educational psychologist and expert in creativity assessment, KH Kim writes that “Young innovators’ interests in topics often start with a playful introduction to the topics in which they are instantly hooked.”
“For example, Albert’s father (Hermann Einstein) playfully introduced Albert Einstein to a compass at age five, and Steve’s neighbor (Larry Lang) playfully introduced Steve Jobs to a carbon microphone at age seven.”
She adds that “playfulness is one of the most critical attitudes” of innovators.
“Playfulness, approaching situations in an exploratory manner and seeing the lighter side of a challenge with a sense of humor, enables flexible thinking.”
- Attending musical, art or theater performances – Inspires your creative thinking by exposing you to various art forms and a diversity of expression. By attending these types of performances, you broaden your own horizons and expand your thinking
When we think of creativity, we often think of icons like Mozart, Picasso, Einstein—people with a seemingly fated convergence of talent and opportunity. But that’s a very limited view because the truth is that all sorts of people, possessing various levels of intelligence and natural ability, are fully capable of engaging in creative processes. So even if you aren’t Michaelangelo or Maya Angelou doesn’t mean that you can’t harness your creative superpowers and make your life your own masterpiece.
Here’s to the magic of honoring your inner creative!
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- Douglas Eby; “Be More Playful To Be Creative” in PsychCenral; https://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2017/06/be-more-playful-to-be-creative/
- Carlin Flora; “Everyday Creativity” in Psychology Today; https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200911/everyday-creativity
- KH Kim; The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation– in which she provides many more suggestions for enhancing creative thinking.
- KH Kim; “Want To Innovate? Science Says Be Playful”; http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/want_to_innovate_science_says_be_playful
- Susan K. Minarik; http://www.positive-living-now.com/the-positive-benefits-of-creativity/
- “You’re A Lot More Creative Thank You Think” – TedTalk by John Paul Caponigro; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAe9iraJkms