Nothing kills creativity more than being focused on a specific outcome. If your mind is already thinking about the result then it’s difficult to be open, relaxed and present, which is necessary in a creative state.
I experience it so often when writing: as soon as I start thinking about who will read what I write, and whether they will like it or not, then it takes me out of the process and blocks me completely. It’s like I suddenly feel a pressure to perform and create something good.
To nurture creativity we need to let go of the idea of having a specific goal.
As a child I would engage in all these activities that were fun, creative and explorative: I would draw, sing, dance, play theater, make up games and so on. As I grew older this started to change, and I slowly I felt the expectation of having a purpose with the activities I engaged in.
Fast forward well into my adulthood I moved overseas. Moving to a new and completely different country made me realize that I had taken on so many limiting beliefs. I had somehow gotten too caught up in my head, and believed that I wasn’t really creative because I hadn’t become a dancer, a filmmaker or an actress. I had linked creativity with certain professions, and I didn’t see how it could be a part of my daily life. Slowly but steadily I started shedding these ideas by reintroducing play into my life.
You don’t have to move overseas to cultivate creativity, you can start right here right now:
1. Rediscover the personal value of play
When we get a chance to do things that are fun and inspiring it enhances our feeling of joy and happiness. It doesn’t have to have a professional purpose, you will feel recharged, and it will inevitably ripple into other areas of your life.
2. Try new things
Challenge yourself by trying new things regularly: take a class, google a ’how to’, invite your friends to join a new activity, go to places you haven’t been before. Do something that is different from what you normally do. Your brain will be stimulated, and you’ll learn new things.
3. Prioritize time for active creativity
Make sure to schedule time where you can be creative. This can be in any form you like: drawing, coding, writing, building, knitting, gardening etc. Just make sure that you allow yourself to create without expecting a specific outcome.
4. Don’t listen to the mind
In the creative state we enter a space beyond the mind – on the way there the mind will most likely come up with thoughts like ‘this is not good’, ‘I’m not doing it right’ or ‘I don’t have time for this’ etc. Don’t listen to it, and it will eventually subside.
5. Notice how you feel
Notice which creative activities resonate with you and bring you into a state of flow. What feels fun, playful and effortless? Cultivate this.
How will you be creative today?
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