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Awakening the Slumbering Creative in Us All

According to the definition found in Britannica, creativity “is the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.”

In other words, creativity is the essence of insight, exploration and progress. Without it, humanity remains at a fatal standstill in advancement. 

Many assume they lack the so-called “creative gene,” but this is inaccurate because creativity shows countless expressive faces. Every individual is born with pure curiosity and is a visionary in one form or another. Categorizing oneself as creative is a matter of recognizing what one can add to the world, interpreting why and how, and then passionately implementing. The process is all about enhancing everyday experiences and problem-solving. Exploring the boundless frontier that is the creative journey is beautifully rewarding, and there are no right or wrong paths to take.

Where do we find creativity?

Creativity is a skill that can be developed with enough consistent practice and repetition, and it will present in all shapes, forms and mediums. Not fully defined by the conventional means of “fine arts,” a creative person can be established in myriad ways: through fruitful and aesthetic landscape gardening, daring cuisine concoctions at dinnertime, bold and thrifty fashion statements, ingenious and efficient junk-drawer organizational systems, thrice rebuilt lawn mower carburetors — the list goes on and on. These expressive outlets, although possibly not seen as traditional forms of creativity, are contributing to a more colorful, delicious, organized and smoothly functioning world.

Why are we creative, and how can we enhance and grow our creativity?

We forge creativity to generate new ideas and open doors and possibilities. To be creative is to be an innovator, characterized as someone who is both energized and inspired by the constantly uncomfortable boundary-pushing that is so crucial to the process. To creatively succeed, it is necessary to understand and accept that failure is a part of the journey. The willingness to fully scrap and redo innumerable hours of strenuous work is what brings the most unique concepts to fruition. Be flexible and welcome redirection to the original plan.

Some are driven by the deeply held desire to leave a colorful mark on society with interesting perspectives and visions. Others have the intention to communicate ideas and innovative thoughts or to discover new possibilities. To reinvent the wheel may seem to be a waste of time and energy, and many adhere to the “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” mentality, but sometimes things can be exponentially improved with just a little bit of creativity and different thought patterns. Become more curious with the world around you and ask questions. Look for solutions by first taking a few steps back, determine and address problems, then actively devise new and improved ways to accomplish desired results.

What about creative block?

Just as every superhero needs a supervillain, creativity is sometimes met and challenged by its dreaded foe, creative block. A creative slowdown may be the effect of burnout from constantly churning out new ideas. It could also be caused by an atrophy of creativity muscles from lack of use. One helpful tip would be to pivot directions. Try a different angle, take a break from that project and engage in something refreshing and mentally stimulating. Creativity cannot be forced, and it would be advantageous to come back later to the original project with fresh eyes and renewed perspective.

Receiving constructive feedback on projects is often beneficial. Presenting passion-driven work may feel intimidating, but this vulnerability can be worthwhile when facing creative block. Collaborating with others will help to further elevate work to the next level by potentially allowing new avenues to be explored.

Thoughtful journal prompts:

  • What is something you do often that would qualify as “creative” in an unconventional sense?
  • What purpose is your creative outlet serving for you? For others? Why do you do it?
  • What small part of your everyday life could improve with a little creativity?

Creativity may be one of the most vital life and job skills that there is because it spurs us to see the world through a wider lens and pushes us to adapt, adjust and find new approaches to the wonders that surround us. Without creative thinkers, we would only be able to see what is instead of what could be.