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Who Does Your Creativity Serve? You need to be at least a little selfish with your creativity.

Who Does Your Creativity Serve?

Who Does Your Creativity Serve? You need to be at least a little selfish with your creativity.

A few weeks ago, we talked about how creativity was more than just arts + crafts. In doing so, you came up with a variety of ways that you are creative throughout your day that have nothing to do with arts + crafts. However, my guess is that if you went back to your list, you would notice that most of your creativity was used in service of other people.

It’s great that you can use your creativity to solve problems for others, to entertain your kids, or to make something awesome at work, but don’t forget, your creativity should also serve you.

How are you creative that is just for you?

Not sure? That’s okay. Keep reading for 4 ways to get started on your personal creative path.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get started on the path to finding your creativity. One option would be to just jump head first into something. If it works, great. If not, try something else. If that’s not your style, option two would be to take a more practical, practiced approach. Try one of the ideas below to get started thinking about your own creativity.

Who Does Your Creativity Serve? You need to be at least a little selfish with your creativity. Here are 4 ways to get you started on your creative path

Number 1

Go for a walk by yourself + let your mind wander. If you come up with any ideas, use the voice memo app on your phone to record yourself talking it out.

Number 2

Set a timer for 30 minutes and “wander” around Pinterest. Find a project you want to try, and make a list of everything you need to start it.

Number 3

Browse through Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu until you find a documentary about someone doing something they are passionate about. Watch it.

Number 4

Get a blank notebook and pen or pencil. Set a timer and start writing, drawing, or some combination of the two. Stop when the timer goes off.

Are any of these going to change your life? Probably not. Are any of them going to make you instantly into your most creative self? Definitely not. However, they are all priming you to start thinking of yourself as a creative person. In addition they are all great exercises to allow you to unleash your creativity and find out where you could take yourself if you gave yourself time to stop and reflect. Finally, they are all easy to do and it’s completely reasonable to choose one to start practicing on a daily basis.

The truth is no matter who your creativity serves – you or someone else – you benefit from the process. Even so, you should still be at least a little selfish with your creativity. 🙂

Creativity: Beyond Just Arts + Crafts - Creativity is so much more than arts such as drawing or painting, or even crafts such as knitting or scrapbooking. Creativity is turning ideas into reality - and that is going to look different for each of us.

Creativity: Beyond Just Arts + Crafts

Creativity: Beyond Just Arts + Crafts - Creativity is so much more than arts such as drawing or painting, or even crafts such as knitting or scrapbooking. Creativity is turning ideas into reality - and that is going to look different for each of us.

If you do a quick Pinterest search of “creative” you will end up with an endless supply of DIY craft projects. I’m not ragging on these, I love a good reclaimed pallet project as much as the next person. But what if you are someone whose creativity goes beyond arts +/or crafts?

Before we dive into this, let’s take a minute and re-visit what creativity really means. As I have said in the past, the definition of creativity that I like best is “turning ideas into reality.” By sticking with that simple definition, we don’t have to get into an argument (or all out brawl) about what qualifies as creative activities.

Creativity: Beyond Just Arts + Crafts - Not sure if something is creative? Ask yourself the following:

Not sure if something is creative? Ask yourself the following:

Do I have to:

  • use my imagination?
  • problem solve?
  • learn more?

Even better if it:

  • satisfies my curiosities.
  • makes me happy.

Whether your chosen creative activity is designing a new play for your Ultimate Frisbee team and executing it (are there plays in Ultimate Frisbee?) or learning how to crochet a slip stitch – it doesn’t matter. If you are turning ideas into reality, then you, my friend, are creative.

Creativity goes beyond arts + crafts. Often when you hear about creativity it is associated with arts like graphic design or crafts such as scrapbooking or knitting. Creativity and creative activities go so far beyond that. It’s impossible to make one succinct list that includes all of it, so I’ll share a few examples to just give you a better idea.

  • Woodworking
  • Soapmaking
  • Model Building
  • Stand up Comedian
  • Pottery
  • Cooking
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Playing Sports
  • Writing
  • Playing an instrument
  • Making a video game

As I mentioned, these are just a few random activities, very likely you practice your creativity in a way that is not on this list.

Think about your day. If I asked you to make a list of the ways you were creative sticking to just the arts and crafts model, there is a solid chance your list would be pretty short or maybe even non-existent. However, when you use the definition of turning ideas into reality, keeping in mind that whenever you use your imagination, problem-solve, or satisfy your curiosities – that all counts as being creative – your list would be considerably longer.

So, let’s do that. Make a list of the ways you were creative yesterday. Need some inspiration? Here is a list I made from last Tuesday (I included just a few ideas, but in reality I could make an argument that a few other activities were creative as well):

Creativity: Beyond Just Arts + Crafts - Make a list of how you were creative today, be sure to go beyond just arts + crafts in your thinking of creative activities.

 

 

As you can see, I have one example of an arts + crafts type activity (it just so happens that I love a good craft project though). A majority of my creative activities throughout the day are non-arts + crafts creative activities. 

Here are a couple more examples of how you may use your creativity (turning ideas into reality) on a daily basis:

  • One of your kids gets the idea to make a fort under the dining room take + you make it happen = creativity
  • A special request for dinner + you scouring the refrigerator and cabinets to make it happen = creativity
  • You realize you haven’t taken a trip in awhile + set out on a new adventure = creativity
  • A problem arises at work + you figuring it out = creativity
  • A conflict between two co-workers + you coming up with a compromise = creativity
  • Your kid refuses to do his/her homework + you come up with an idea to get them to do it/trick them/bribe them = creativity

So what’s the point? The point is you are creative, you practice your creativity in many different ways throughout your day that go way beyond what is considered arts + crafts.

Just because you are not painting portraits or DIY’ing you kid’s 3rd birthday party – it doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. Don’t let an outdated notion of creativity stop you from practicing yours and doing something to make yourself happy.

So practice your creativity – whatever form your it takes – just practice it. Leave me a comment and tell me how you practice your creativity.

p.s. Need some help figuring out exactly how you are creative? Sign up for the free 5 day email course – Find Your CREATIVE SPARK Adventure.

 

Read What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada - It will only take you 5 minutes and will provide you with a new outlook for viewing your problems - creative + otherwise.

Flip Your Problem

Read What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada - It will only take you 5 minutes and will provide you with a new outlook for viewing your problems - creative + otherwise.

We all have problems of different varieties. I won’t pretend like creative problems are nearly as serious as other ones. But nonetheless, we have them. Whatever problem is currently weighing on you, you need to read What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada. It’s been awhile since I shared a book that I love, so here it is. You’re welcome 🙂

Did I mention it is a children’s book and will take you about 5 minutes to read? You’re even more welcome. (BTW – A few months ago I shared What Do You Do With an Idea, also by Kobi Yamada because I absolutely love love love everything about that book. If you missed it, you can read about it here.)

I view this as a companion book to What Do You Do With An Idea? because an idea that you can’t get rid of can feel like a problem, like something negative weighing on you, despite the fact that it can be an amazing opportunity. At the same time, a problem, which is normally viewed as something negative, can actually be positive – it all depends on your perspective. Moral of the story – read both books because they are fantastic 🙂

Here at Greens & Blues Co., I try to keep it positive, so let’s take a look at the positive parts of a problem.

But first, a short synopsis of the book:

You realize you have a problem.

You start to worry about your problem.

You make it a much bigger deal than it actually is.

You try to run from it, but that doesn’t work.

You realize your only option is to face it.

You realize it wasn’t as bad as you made it out to be…

The most important part of this book, something that anyone – child or adult –  can learn from is what you take away from your problem. Each problem that we face can be a chance to challenge + improve ourselves in some way.

By flipping something that you normally perceive to be a problem around, you provide yourself with have a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow. Often times, our biggest problems are the result of our own personal outlook. Sometimes by simply looking for the positive, you will realize you don’t even have a problem, just an occasion to challenge yourself.

A couple of creative problems you might run into:

  1. I’m not creative.
  2. I don’t know where to start with my creativity.
  3. My creativity is not good enough.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these creative problems and determine how instead of viewing them as problems and trying to ignore them, you can flip them araound and use each one as an opportunity.

#1 – I’m not creative.

Problem – You believe you are not creative. Since you are not creative, what would be the point in trying any creative activities? As a result, you never attempt anything creative (and therefore do not practice your creativity) and then you never get any better at them and reinforce your idea that you are not creative.

Opportunity – The truth is of course you are creative…but you have not practiced your creativity in a long time, so of course you aren’t good at any creative activities. So what’s the positive side of this? Since you haven’t practiced your creativity in a long time, the expectations are pretty low – which is great! You can take a class or watch a Youtube video to learn something new + try it out without assuming you need to be perfect. The possibilities are endless.

#2 – I don’t know where to start with my creativity.

Problem – Even though you are interested in practicing your creative and being a “creative” person, you have no experience with it and therefore do not know where to start. So you do nothing.

Opportunity – The truth is that your creativity is a journey not a destination (I swear this is true even though it sounds lame). You can’t go wrong because whatever creative activity you try-out will help you find the path you should be going down. Your creative will change and evolve over time (and through practice), but in order to do so, you have to first start. (If you want some getting started you can take my free email course Find Your CREATIVE SPARK Adventure.)

#3 – My creativity is not good enough.

Problem – I like to ________________ (fill in the blank), but when I compare it to what I see online, it’s clear that I’m a joke.

Opportunity – Use the online “competition” as motivation to get better. I know that we aren’t supposed to compare our creativity to other people’s, but I think that’s only half true. I think comparison, or dare I say competition can be a good thing if it is used in a positive manner. Don’t compare yourself to someone else so that you can think I can never be as good as them; instead compare yourself to someone else so that you can figure out what areas you need to improve and so that you can get some inspiration.

YOUR TURN – FLIP YOUR PROBLEM:

What problem – creative or otherwise, is currently weighing on you? Is it the type of problem, you can fix by facing it? If so, take the following steps:

Flip Your Problem - Instead of avoiding your creative problems, take the following steps to flip them around and use them as learning opportunities.

Make a list of any creative problems you are currently avoiding. Use the aforementioned steps to flip them around!

 

The Intersection of Creativity & Learning

 

The Intersection of Creativity + Learning - For me, creativity goes hand in hand with learning. The more skills I learn or acquire, the more creative I can be.I have always been happy to admit that I am a total nerd; and as a total nerd, I am not ashamed to admit that I love learning. I love taking classes and learning new skills. I get giddy just thinking about it. In college, I was always so excited at the beginning of the semester when I could go to the bookstore and pick-up all of the books I was going to need for my classes – ridiculous I know! Or when I open a notebook for the first time – total happiness.  As a result of my undying love of learning, I always have a long list of creative pursuits I want work on next or classes I want to take.

For me, creativity goes hand in hand with learning.  The more skills I learn or acquire, the more creative I can be (this is true for me personally, but may be different for you). At times, I have had flashes of inspiration, but did not necessarily possess the skills to execute my ideas. Therefore, by learning and then practicing new skills, my creativity has expanded.  I believe creativity is a skill, and like other skills, it must be practiced in order to improve.

I have such a wide range of interests that currently it is not about mastering any or all of them. I am not trying to be the best in any field.  Rather it is about increasing my knowledge and skills in my areas of interest to enhance my life in some way.  Photography is the perfect example of this. Since having kids, I take a lot more photos, using both my phone and my DSLR.  While the photos I take are not bad (in my eyes), there is still a lot of room for improvement. I am not planning on becoming a professional photographer, but I want to be able to take quality photographs of my children that my family will cherish for years to come.

Learning and creativity work closely together.  The times when I am learning new skills or information is when I am feeling most inspired and overflowing with new ideas.  As I mentioned, I am currently interested in learning the basics of a several skills, but the same is applicable to mastering one skill.  For example, if I was just interested in learning to sew, I would start by learning the most basic skills, then move on to following an easy pattern.  From there, I would chose a more difficult pattern that would force me to learn a new skill and eventually maybe even design my own patterns.  As my skill set augments, so does my creativity because the reality of what I can create increases.  By continuing to learn, I continue to challenge myself creatively.

Therefore, in order to stay inspired creatively, I try to always have a plan for what to learn next and how I am going to go about learning whatever it is that I want.  As I mentioned, I have a long list of interests that I want to learn more about.  Listed below are a few:

  1. Learning to code – html and css
  2. Learning to sketchnote/visual thinking
  3. Graphic design
  4. Digital photography
  5. Using power tools
  6. Watercolor painting

When I decide on something new to learn, I start by gathering resources to determine how/where I am going to learn this new skill.  Obviously, the Internet is a wealth of information, but it is helpful to have a starting point.  In addition to the amazing blogs and websites available to learn from, I have used the places listed below to take free/very inexpensive online classes/courses in the past:

  1. Skillshare
  2. EdX
  3. Stanford Online
  4. Coursera