Some people, it seems, are born so full of creativity that it comes out of their ears. Others feel dull and lifeless. What is the difference between the two? Is creativity something you can learn?
The answer is both yes and no. The truth is that everyone has creativity in their soul and that you cannot actually teach creativity. What can be taught, however, is how to awaken the creativity that is already inside you.
First of all, let's consider what creativity is. Some people are creative with regards to formal art, like painting. Some are creative when it comes to writing. Still others are creative when it comes to music. And, of course, some people are creative in other ways.
The first thing to understand when you are seeking to ignite the creative fire inside of you is that creativity is NOT limited to what are traditionally considered creative activities. While some may be creative in music, art, or writing, others may be creative in seeing new uses for existing tools, in seeing what would make a good photograph, or coming up with new dishes.
If you want to see an example of someone who took their creative urge in a direction that is not generally considered a "respectable" form of creative expression, look at the art of Julian Beever. He took sidewalk chalk to a level that most people would never even imagine, and is famous worldwide for it. So don't worry that your particular form of choice is one that isn't generally associated with creativity.
There is one thing that all creative people have in common. They are all passionate about what they are creating, about the very act of creating. That passion is one of the very things that scares off people who don't feel they are creative. When you are uncertain of your talent, you may be hesitant, and that hesitancy can make you kill your own creative impulses.
So you've made the decision that you want to light the fire of creativity within you, that you want it to burn bright and high. Here are four steps to lead you in that direction.
Find Your Creative Calling
If you want to awaken the creativity within you, you have to find something that you enjoy, something you resonate with, something where you have the kernel of a flame of passion. This doesn't have to be an "approved" form of creative expression, it can be anything. There are even creative criminals, though I would advise against that path.
Make Small Changes
The second step is to start pushing your creativity in the area you have chosen. Take a step off the beaten path, and do something differently. Do it differently than you have done it before. Do it differently than the official "prescribed" way. Change it and make it your own. It doesn't have to be anything big, even small steps will help build up your courage for bigger steps later.
Build On Those Changes
The third step is to take encouragement from your small experiments and take a bigger step. Change a major component of something, whether it's the process for doing something, or changing the actual end product. You can't grow without change, so if you want to grow in creativity, if you want to light that fire inside you, you have to feed it, and it runs on pieces of old routine and "safe" ways of doing things.
Evaluate What You've Built
The fourth step, and the last one that I can guide you toward, is to look back and evaluate the changes you have made. Did things improve? Did they grow worse? How did it make you feel to make those changes… did it make you feel uncertain but more alive? Look back and learn… learn which changes were beneficial and which ones weren't, but most of all, learn that change is the only path for growth.
Some people are blessed with creativity burning bright from the time they are small children. Some people are not… some even have those flames of creativity intentionally doused by parents or teachers who think they are being "realistic". Even those who are born with the fire inside, however, sometimes find that the fire has burned low, and they need to re-ignite it.
Whether you are building the fire of creativity for the first time, or simply trying to build it back up to where it used to be, always remember what that fire burns as fuel: routine, "safe" places (where you are not mentally or emotionally challenged), and fear of failure. So break pieces of those things off and feed them to the fire! You'll be happier, more creative, and more confident in no time.
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