What comes to your mind when you hear the word creativity? There are many definitions, but, by and large, most of us think about artists. When you picture creativity, images of paintings, sculptures, books, or songs are the first things that pop to mind. Moreover, you think about artisanal jewelry, crocheting, or funky home-made Halloween costumes. It seems like a particular “thing” that some people and have and some don’t. But is it that way? Is creativity exclusive to a specific group of people, while the rest are not creative? I’m here to argue that this is not true. I genuinely believe that we are all creative, and in this article, I will discuss a few methods you can use today to unleash your creativity and become more creative.
Creativity vs. Life
I think that the big mistake comes from the generic definition of creativity, which, in various forms, states that it means using imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.
This definition, albeit true, has two main issues. One is scary—imagination or original ideas. Whereas most people will say that they have some imagination, most people will be afraid to admit that they have original ideas. Original ideas are scary because they imply an outcome. Creativity, however, doesn’t necessarily imply a result.
You can open up your mind and dream of impossible things, and you can say that you have imagination. But an original idea almost sounds like you’re expected to invent the next light bulb, doesn’t it?
The second off-putting part is “the production of an artistic work.” Again, this seems to narrow the availability to a few who work in an artistic field.
After all, what if you are an accountant, lawyer, police officer, plumber, or doctor? There doesn’t seem room to do any artistic work of any kind.
I genuinely believe that these are all misconceptions, and I will argue that creativity is not related to your job or profession. Instead, it’s a much larger concept that deserves all your attention, which is why I argue that you should be actively looking for ways to unleash your creativity.
Why We Are All Creative
Imagination is one of our greatest gifts.
I believe that creativity is a much broader concept that breaks through the boundaries of artistic endeavor and truly applies to all aspects of our lives.
After all, at some point in history, a person had to be creative to make a fire. Another person had to be creative to pick a grain of wheat, ground it down to a powder, mix it with water and yeast, and, eventually, make the first bread.
It’s hard to think about creativity as a survival mechanism, but it is. I believe that creativity is everywhere around us and in all professions and all areas of life.
Nowhere is creativity more evident in people who don’t consider themselves creative than when they have kids. Have you ever had to build a leprechaun trap or help your kid write a story about unicorns living on Mars? You almost don’t think of that as creative because it seems to serve a specific purpose.
But that’s the whole argument I’m making about creativity. You can be creative for a purpose—for instance, if you want to write a book—or be creative for no reason whatsoever. The last one is a hard pill to swallow for most of us having to work for a living and juggle a thousand of life’s balls in the air. It seems like there’s no room for creativity, and even trying to dab in it would be detrimental.
I’m here to argue that creativity does just the opposite. It not only helps, but it also enhances your life and improves your ability to perform in many aspects of life.
How Creativity Helps Our Lives
Here are just a few ways creativity helps us and how it contributes to our lives overall:
When you learn and practice creativity, you will be more open to solutions that would seem elusive otherwise. By tapping into your creativity, you begin to view life’s hurdles as opportunities and look at the world as a canvas of possibilities.
We all feel discouraged at times—at work, at home, with our kids and spouses. We all have those moments of being down and lost. Using your creativity to dab into otherwise untapped outlets will pull you out of that mindset. Creativity will rev your mind’s engine and serve as motivation and practice for tackling your life problems, big or small.
More often than not, we are all bogged down by the details of life. Sometimes, it’s impossible to see the forest from the trees. You wake up every day and jump into life’s grinder, trying as hard as possible to get through the next thing, and then the next, and then the next. Working on your creativity allows you to take a step back and see life for what it is. Not only will you be able to see past the trees, but you’ll also be able to take a walk through the forest.
The more you increase your motivation, improve your problem-solving skills, and begin to see the bigger picture of your life, you will sense a new wave of energy. That’s nothing but your confidence growing in front of your eyes. Remember that creativity is not just fun and games or applying innate skills. It’s also hard work and overcoming challenges. The more you do it, the more your confidence will grow along the way.
With increased self-confidence and an open mind ready to tackle new possibilities, something else happens, too. You begin to see an increase in your self-discipline and self-control. The more you allow your mind to expand, think about the impossible, and practice creativity, the more you will find creative ways to be more productive everywhere in your life.
We all have tons of things weighing heavily on our minds. We carry those with us everywhere, and they affect our interactions and behavior. Creativity and creative work allow you to release those thoughts from your mind by allowing them to take material form. May it be writing in a journal, drawing, or any type of adult playtime, by letting those things out, you remove the fog and bring in clarity.
Freedom of Expression
If you ever feel like you don’t have a voice, creativity will give you that voice. It might be in the form of a cake, a poem, a drawing, or a bracelet, but it’s a voice—your voice. Creative work will give you a different form of expression than your actual voice, but it’s one of the most critical needs that we have as humans. Find that voice, and let it be heard!
Last but not least, creativity helps with managing stress. Engaging in creative activities is a calming factor often disregarded. It might not solve the root cause of the stress, nor will it obliterate the stress from your life, but it will give you the outlet your mind needs to rest and recover so that, at a later time, it can tackle the stressful situation with renewed energy and strength.
Famous Thoughts About Creativity
You might know Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, and creator of the Morning Pages method for boosting creativity. There’s a quote that I often return to, and I wanted to show it here because it encapsulates so much of the essence of this article:
“Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny. We may not know that we have one. As children, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone. Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs. Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others.
We are, in effect, trained to listen to others’ versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if… If we had known who we really were.” — Julia Cameron.
There is so much profoundness in this one paragraph. When I first read it, I teared up, especially at the part about us being encouraged to believe that our lives should fulfill others’ expectations. It’s such a limiting view of life that begins at an early age.
In one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, Sir Ken Robinson explained why he believes that the current school system kills creativity. He said:
“[…] kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. Am I right? They’re not frightened of being wrong. I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original—if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
It’s sad but true. Luckily, you don’t have to count exclusively on the education system to tap in and unleash your creativity. There are many ways, some of which are easy and available to you right at this moment.
7 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity
Here are seven practical ways in which you can tap into your creativity, unleash your creativity, and learn to love and nourish it.
Take note / Observe
Observing your surroundings is a great way to play with your creative mind. Observation is possible everywhere so long as you remove other distractions and allow your mind to be free. Whether on subways, buses, trains, or simply walking, there are always opportunities to observe your surroundings. During those times, try to forego listening to your music or podcasts or reading. Instead, look around. Don’t look simply to admire, but to question.
That is an exciting technique that writers often use. It involves looking at people and making up a story about them in your head. Where are they coming from? Where are they going? What happened to them today?
You can do similar mind games with buildings, cars, even pets. It’s all about play and no rules. That’s why I recommend you carry a notebook everywhere, so you are always ready to jot down some of these thoughts. The more you observe, the more your brain becomes comfortable exploring the real world and using imagination to picture new and exciting worlds.
Find space for the mind
This one is critical and often disregarded because when I say space, I mean space and time. That means that you need to create time to allow your mind to think and be creative. It requires a deliberate disconnection from the day-to-day and a connection to a creative outlet.
That type of deliberate disconnection is required for your mind to open up and feel free enough to explore those creative pathways that exist but are buried under layers and layers of to-do lists and preparing kids’ lunches.
I recommend finding a place conducive to that type of mindset and blocking time on your calendar to go there. It could be a coffee shop; it could be a corner in your basement or even your bed. Whatever works and allows you to be free from all distractions, even for just a few minutes—go there.
A lot of times, the information in your mind is overwhelming. On the one hand, it’s the sheer volume of things, and on the other hand, it’s the wide variety of data. Today, there are so many available inputs that we get constantly bombarded with new things to the point where we don’t even know what is real and what is part of our imagination.
That’s why doing mind-mapping sessions is a great way to teach your brain to organize your thoughts and ideas. An organized brain learns how to connect information, and related information is easier to access. That means that those creative juices hidden underneath your mundane tasks can tap into those resources easier and with more profound results.
Identify your creative outlet
Not all forms of artistic expression will work for everyone. There are innumerable ways to express yourself creatively. To name just a few: drawing, painting, writing, sculpting. Those are just the top, most known expressive outlets, but there are many others. You need to experiment and figure out which one works for you and keep using it. This is not an exercise in perseverance. I’m not asking you to try your hardest to create clay statues if that form of expression is not working. Instead, it’s an exercise in self-reflection and understanding to which kind of creative expression your body responds best.
Create a creative habit
Creativity is a muscle that you can train. Habits are the ways by which we teach our brain to do something repeatedly until it’s no longer a burden but a pleasure. If you must push yourself to do it initially, soon, after enough practice, it will pull you in. Whether it’s drawing, writing, singing, or any other type of artistic expression, do it often. The more you develop a creative habit, the more your creativity will unfold and grow.
Seek out new experiences
Go out there and explore. Find new places, new cultures, new adventures. There are things in the world that are magnificent, and they might excite your creative mind in ways you can’t even imagine until you’re there. Unleash your curiosity and try your best to find time to explore.
Find Your Tribe
It’s always a great idea to seek like-minded people from all walks of life. When it comes to creativity, it’s even more critical because creativity has an expression form. That means that you can find forums, Facebook groups, even in-person meetings where creative people share their work and support each other. A group like that would be a source of motivation and inspiration for your creativity.
I know that many people will read through this article, and by the end of it, they’ll still be skeptical. There will be that voice in the back of their heads saying, “You are not a creative person. You are simply not.” I get it. That voice is inside my head too sometimes, and I hate it with a passion.
Try your best to go through some of these techniques and give it some time. What’s the worst that can happen? Not much; maybe some wasted time. But what’s the best that can happen?
You might discover one day a beginning of a seed of an idea. Something that you’d never thought would come out of your mind. It will surprise you. Maybe you’ll even leap out of bad muttering something under your breath. That’s your creative self that is awakening. It wants to come out.
Let it! Push it! Go!
Other Resources on How to Unleash Your Creativity
- Four Ways To Unleash Your Creativity
- Unleashing Your Creativity ~ 16 Practices and Mindsets for the Reluctant Artist
- 3 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity
- How To Unleash Your Creative Thinking
Now, before you go, I have…
3 Questions For You
- Do you feel like you are a naturally creative person?
- What are your favorite ways to express your creativity?
- How has creativity helped you solve some real-life problems?
Please share your answers in the comments below. Sharing knowledge helps us all improve and get better!
Hi there! I’m Iulian, and I want to thank you for reading my article. There’s a lot more if you stick around. I write about personal development, productivity, fiction writing, and more. Also, I’ve created Self-Growth Journey, a free program that helps you get unstuck and create the beautiful life you deserve. Enjoy!