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Why it‘s easy to be creative and what you can do about it

By Karla Schlaepfer
creative, patterns, skills, ted talk, perspective, change

Do you remember gluing noodles to a picture frame as a Mother’s Day present? Every kid was creative without thinking about it. As a grown-up, creativity is one of those things that everyone has an opinion about -sadly it is often black or white. Either you‘re creative or you aren’t.

This has been shown by countless studies not to be true. What is correct is that everyone – and I mean everyone – can be creative. However, when this resource isn’t actively used – it’s like a muscle that isn’t regularly trained – your creativity skills go soft and flabby.

There are several reasons why this happens. We opt out of being creative. We think being creative is just for arty professions or for kids. Maybe our western school systems are to blame. For more on this, see Ken Robinson‘s ultimate TedTalk „Do schools kill creativity“ in which he scales creativity on the same level as literacy:

And too often adults apply their analytic mindset and learn to ignore the spontaneous, playful, abundance mentality. This mentality is often just lurking under the surface waiting for the chance to be activated and to come up with many alternative ideas and great creative problem solving.

When we let routine thinking take over, we aren’t creative, we repeat and don’t try different ways. Here are some easy ways to reacquaint yourself with your creative power.

  1. Catch yourself! When you find yourself in a rut, doing the same thing in the same way. Stop in mid-act, start self-talk and force yourself to try something else. Any change will do. Feel strange? Should do! Explore the feeling. Try again.
  2. Release your creativity by challenging yourself to do 5 things differently today, write these things down and then observe your emotional state. Do you feel challenged? A bit lighter?
  3. Invent reasons to make yourself to break patterns. Eat at different place, use your left hand instead of your right (or visa-versa), buy a magazine about something you know nothing, learn how to juggle, take a class, talk to a stranger, work at someone else’s desk, cycle instead of driving to work, do 2 things you always wanted to do!
  4. Ignite your curiosity and ask questions that demonstrate open-mindedness. Or practice reframing questions from a different perspective. How do those around you respond?
  5. Create movement – move your body – get out of the building, do something else, to break mentally free in order to get and use random stimulus.

By trying out new and different combinations, sampling the unknown in little steps and allowing ourselves to have fun with the change challenge. All you need to do is splurge on a little experimentation!