I always used to say that I wasn’t creative. But now I believe that saying you’re not creative is equivalent to saying you’re not human. I want to learn ways to be more creative as an adult. Think about it, have you ever met a child that wasn’t creative? Of course not, children love to make things and dream up stories. And aren’t we all just bigger and uglier children?
Why do we seem to lose that creativity as we grow older? Maybe it’s because we start caring about what other people think of us. Maybe it’s because things get busier and more complicated. Maybe it’s drowned out by stress and responsibilities.
But how do we get that special innovativeness called creativity back in our lives?
1. Be alone
Solitude helps you to look inward and become more self aware. Introspection and reflection can be really helpful for assessing where you are in relation to your goals, which can be a powerful source of motivation and inspiration.
Being alone frees you from the limitations and expectations that others may place on you and gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want to be.
If you’re really brave, try going out to places, festivals and events on your own. Take yourself out for dinner or go on a solo road trip somewhere new. Learn to be comfortable with yourself and to make friends with complete strangers.
As an introvert, I crave solitude and treasure every moment of it, but it is something that can be really scary if you’re not used to it. If you’re willing to push past that initial discomfort, you will be rewarded with a boost of confidence and a new perspective.
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for contructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” – Rollo May
2. Be Bored
My grandfather always used to say “only boring people get bored.” However, boredom can serve and important purpose in creativity.
The advantage of being bored is that it gives us space to daydream and to think about nothing in particular. This is often where our best ideas begin to take shape. Boredom gives the brain free space and room to play and innovate. You get a chance to float into the world where you are representing your country at the next Olympics or starting your own fashion label. These dreams may be unrealistic, but if we listen to them, we may gain insights as to the direction we should be moving in. At first, it may feel unproductive and lazy, but it is important never to underestimate the power of a lovely daydream.
It’s hard to be bored amongst the modern obsession with being busy. The digital age provides us with bountiful distractions and there are always more emails to read. Sometimes, shutting yourself in a room with no wifi enabled devices can be the only way.
“Boredom … protects the individual, makes tolerable for him the impossible experience of waiting for something without knowing what it could be.” – Adam Philips
Mono-tasking is the opposite of multi-tasking. It means doing one thing at a time, and giving that thing our full attention.
When we multi-task, we may feel that we are being more productive, but the opposite is actually true. One problem of multi tasking is that it results in losing time through the attentional blink. When we are switching from one activity to another (i.e. checking emails and writing a report), we lose half a second between every switch. This doesn’t seem like much, but it sure can add up.
Another problem of multitasking is that you lose the ability to find flow. Flow is when you fully lose yourself in a particular activity. It’s when you’re completely immersed in what you’re doing and you no longer notice time going by or other things going on around you. This state is associated with both higher productivity and higher levels of happiness.
4. Be Playful
Give yourself the permission to experiment without judgement or fear of failure. Relax, forget about the end product and simply enjoy the journey. Embrace spontaneity and playfulness.
I fiind it very difficult to refrain from being overly results-focused. I forget to enjoy the process of creation because I cannot stop thinking about where to go next and whether I’m doing a good job. I’m a control freak who cannot help but over-plan, and it really gets in the way of experiencing the beauty of each moment as it comes.
If you have any tips for becoming more playful, please let me know in the comments!
“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” – Tim Robbins
5. Be healthy
Get a good night’s sleep. Go for a run outside. Eat a handful of strawberries. It can help make you feel more refreshed, energised and focused. Your brain is an organ, and it needs some TLC to be able to function at its best, just like any other part of your body.
How do you get your creative juices flowing when they seem to have abandoned you?