Being creative is good for the soul. This is, I know, a sweeping statement. However, let me explain what I mean by this.
Creativity is about using all parts of our brain, both our logical, rational minds and our intuitive, more ‘open to possibility’ minds. This surely can’t do us any harm. In fact, I would argue that by doing this, we are more likely to be taking wiser decisions and living our lives in a fuller way.
So, what does it mean to be creative?
That depends upon each individual. Each of us has our own possibilities for becoming more creative. Some people will have an interest in the arts, some will be interested in developing creativity and innovation at work. Some will be developing their writing or photography, and others may express their creativity through activities such as cooking or sewing. There are many ways in which we can develop our creativity. What is important is to search out and find your own path to being creative. If nothing else it will offer you a richer experience which you can carry with you throughout your lives.
What are the benefits of creativity?
A blogpost I shared last year offered some benefits of creativity and they are summarised here:
Working creatively can be motivating. It energises and can build up a strong sense of self-confidence.
Creativity can re-ignite our passion. When we are lost in working creatively we are in what Csikzentmihalyi calls a state of flow. Being in a state of flow leads to a sense of happiness. It is a form of mindfulness in which we are in the present, absorbed by our creative pursuits, and not focusing on the past or future.
Developing a creative pursuit can open ourselves up to new opportunities and possibilities. A sense of positivity can result from creative pursuits. It is great to see and reflect upon something tangible that we have achieved. Who knows where this may lead in terms of personal change and development?
Becoming more creative is about doing things differently. Enjoying doing things differently will impact on our whole life and generate more sense of fun in our lives.
Working creatively can reduce stress levels. There is some evidence that stress levels fall when we are absorbed in a creative task, whatever our level of ability.
By becoming more creative we can become more productive at work. We begin to challenge the existing way in which things are done. and search out new and better ways of doing them.
By introducing a creative approach in the problem-solving process, we find that our skill at solving problems develops immensely. Creative problem solving enables and encourages us to see the big picture and not to go down the same road each time we encounter a problem.
Finally, being more creative will be less boring and you will have fun!
“I’m not very creative” doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity isn’t benign. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.’
So, suppressing our creativity can be negative for us.
During the recent lock-downs due to the COVID pandemic many people have turned to creative pursuits, and there seems to have been an upsurge in interest in these.
So how can you become more creative?
- Start by reflecting on what creative activities in your past have brought you joy.
- Start with small amounts of time and dedicate this on a regular basis to that activity. It need not be ambitious to start with, half an hour a day is good. Build up a habit of doing this.
- Find a buddy who has a similar creative interest and support one another. Arrange to meet/ chat regularly so you can make progress.
- Seek out workshops/training to follow to develop your creative pursuits. There are lots around that have free offerings. For example, social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter have interest groups or people to follow in different creative fields.
- Seek out other more experienced people in your creative field to follow and to gain tips on your development.
Finally, just do it. Start small and take baby steps and you will start to reap the benefits.
Barbara is an executive coach, leadership and creativity facilitator. She has coached women and men in a variety of corporate settings, and has developed a unique approach to using creative techniques in her coaching and workshops to enable change at a group or individual level. She has recently co-authored a book on creativity for leaders, called Creativity Cycling , with Dr. Tracy Stanley.