Creativity is mysterious. It comes in different forms, so it’s hard to define. It’s everywhere, but we can feel limited. It’s in our nature, yet hard to keep alive.
#1 - Follow Tradition
“They always did it that way, it always worked, so that’s how I should do it too. Why waste my time trying something else?”
Being a rebel isn’t always a bad thing. If a rule prevents you from breathing, are you going to stop breathing? No. Will you follow tradition simply for the sake of following it? I hope not. If your answer is “yes”, all you have to do to is watch and modern dystopian film, and you’ll probably rethink your answer.
Tradition kills creativity, but it’s not always that obvious to spot it. Some traditions we call “life”. We say “it’s just the way the world works”. Traditions can be right under our noses. We may not realize we follow them, and we never question why they’re there.
#2 - Believe the Norms
Ah, societal norms. My favorite. (Not.)
“They do it that way, so we should do it that way too. It would be weird to do it any other way. I’ll just blend in.”
If you spend time with kids you’ll find that they ask some of the silliest questions. One of the most profound questions they ask is simple, yet something we should ask more often: “Why?”
It’s amazing, really. Using only one word, a child can somehow drive you to the point of humility where all you can say is, “You know what, I’m not sure why that is.”
Societal norms manipulate the best of us because they’re loud and persistent. But if you’re not asking the “why”, you’re probably killing the “what if”.
#3 - Lose Control of Your Emotions.
Fear, is one of the greatest enemies of creativity.
“I can’t do this, it makes me uncomfortable. Everyone thinks I’m weird and I can’t handle the pressure.”
The act of creating is also the act of controlling emotions. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no difference between the two. They’re the same. They have the same meaning. Creation is control, but creativity comes in many different forms.
#4 - Redefine Creativity.
Speaking of norms…
“I can’t paint. I can’t draw. I don’t play instruments. I’m not artistic, so I’m not creative.”
Lies. Lies everywhere.
Just because you don’t have an eye for color or an ear for music doesn’t mean you’re not creative. If you solve problems, you practice creativity. If you ever challenge worldviews, if you learn, or produce in any way, you are creative. Know what you’re good at. Channel it. Use it. That’s real creativity.
Maybe what you produce isn’t visible to the eye, but you can still impact the world because of something you’ve created - even if that creation was an idea.
#5 - Hide Your Emotions.
We all do it, but it’s more common in the analytical types of creatives. (See #4.)
“I have an idea but I’m worried it will fail. At least I’m not very creative anyway, no one has to know and I don’t have to care. It doesn’t matter.”
For creativity, hiding emotions is just as lethal as losing control of them. Either way, you’re bound, stuck, and getting out is a difficult process. It’s better to try face up to emotions if it means you keep your creativity - (A.K.A. control).
Be brave, be willing, and don’t kill your creativity.