How To Tap Into Your Inner Creative
Featured image – Tim Walker Photography
If someone were to ask you to think of ‘creativity’ what comes to mind?
Maybe you’re thinking of artists, or musicians, or dancers, or poets….
but there is so much more to creativity than these stereotypical, ‘traditional’ portrayals. We must first strip creativity down to its definition:
Definition of creativity:
“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
Every single person has creativity within them, it comes naturally with being human. It is part of the reason we were able to advance so much further than other animals – our ability to problem solve. Problem solving is, in itself, a form of creativity. It’s the ability to think outside of normal patterns and look at something from a new perspective. It’s about curiosity, the desire to discover, the desire to create change or something different.
One of the most infuriating things people say is “I’m not creative”. What they mean is “I wasn’t very good at Art at school”.
Don’t get me wrong, these traditional expressions of creativity are still relevant, and important. They often help inspire people to tap into their own creativity, but it is important to also focus on ‘everyday’ creative expression.
An unfortunate aspect of creativity is that it’s difficult to view your own. As I mentioned, creativity is naturally within us, so people often don’t realise that other people don’t think the way they do. For example, I know a brilliant writer, who is only ever confused if you tell her she is brilliant at writing. It comes so naturally to her she assumes everyone else must also find it easy. I know a brilliant aerospace engineer, who finds it incredibly simple to design different styles of paper airplanes (which actually work by the way) because understanding the physics of flight comes so easily to her. Again, if you tell her she’s brilliant at it, she frowns at you and says “it’s very simple”.
Entrepreneurs tend to be particularly bad for this also. By nature they are incredibly creative. They look at problems and find the solutions – often by looking at the issue from a new angle.
I’ve chatted with entrepreneurs who have delayed creating their Big Idea, because to them it was such an obvious solution, they assumed someone else was already doing it.
So this leads nicely to my first point on how to tap into your inner creative….
It might sound silly, but this really is the first hurdle. For some of you it might be blatantly obvious, maybe you’re a painter, maybe you’re a dancer, maybe you’re good at jigsaws. If you really don’t know where your creativity lies, ask your friends, ask your family, ask the people closest to you. You may well be surprised with their answer, it might be something you’ve never thought of before, but I assure you, creativity is there within you somewhere.
A lot of expressing creativity is about environment. You need to feel comfortable, able to express yourself, and able to give your brain room to roam.
Find what works for you. Whether it’s the time of day, the physical location, or the medium you’re using. Some people need structure, some people need to be given set guidelines, some people need to be outside, some people need to be listening to music. Whatever it is, find the right balance of what feels right for you and go from there…
I’m not kidding – creativity takes practise. The more you practise the better you become. Think of athletes, think of great writers, think of great jigsawers (I’m not totally convinced that’s the correct name for someone who jigsaws…. If you are a jigsawer, please forgive my ignorance). The people who excel are the people committed to practising over and over and over again. I know this might sound slightly contradicting to what I said earlier about creativity being innate, however there is a difference. The natural ability is there – but if you want to access your creativity regularly, and you want it to flow easily like a mountain stream, then you must wear down that metaphorical riverbed, with practise, until its smooth and free flowing.
Half of what you produce will most likely be rubbish – that is absolutely fine. Even if its more like 80% rubbish – that’s also fine. You’re not striving for perfection every time, you’ve aiming to find your groove, and find what works. Over time it will be 60% rubbish, then 40% rubbish, then 20%, until you’re able to tap into your inner creative and hit that sweet spot whenever you like.
So, if your creative outlet is writing, write like crazy! If its designing buildings, sketch like crazy! If its open heart surgery, practise like crazy! (this one in particular… for all our sakes).
Let those creative juices run free and wild….
Being aware and in tune with your creativity is more important than people give it credit. Expressing yourself can be a hobby, or part of your job. For some people it comes very naturally and is right at the surface. For others it requires a bit more work… but either way I can assure you it’s worth it in the long run.
What excites me most about a world full of people in touch with their inner creative is the playground this will create for new ideas, solutions to old problems, and most importantly change. We are facing so many world issues – pollution, the refugee crisis, global warming, etc – creativity lies at the heart of how we can create change and overcome these global challenges together.
There are no bad ideas, just practise runs for the good ideas.
Flora Fontes is the Operations Development Co-ordinator at Future Females. Her background is in Operations Management, but since study Philosophy & Sociology at University, she has retained a love of critical thinking, an intrigue for the societies we live in, and a curiosity about what makes the world go round