Creativity is not a talent or a gift reserved for the blessed few as some people believe. Nor is creativity limited to artistic creation, efficient problem-solving, or industrial-commercial innovation.
Creativity is an innate capacity that every human being possesses, just like any other thinking, reasoning, memorizing, learning capacity.
Ideally, creativity is a way of being – a way of experiencing and interacting with the world. It’s an attitude of openness, exploration and freedom; it’s a natural tendency for experimentation, curiosity and discovery.
The reason that most people have lost touch with their creative potential still lying inside them in latent form can be traced back to the socialization and schooling process in early childhood.
Socialization and education processes unfortunately rely too heavily on obedience, and rote learning, which stifle free, uncensored, imaginative thinking and day-dreaming which are so characteristic of children. As a result, creativity becomes suppressed, and in some cases repressed – buried. What was once a natural ability has now to be uncovered, learned and cultivated.
What was once a state of being has now to be consciously embraced.
What are some obstacles to tapping into our creativity that we have to look out for?
Conformity – our desire to be accepted by the social group to which we belong may prevent us from experimenting with new ways of thinking,living, being.
Fear of criticism – fear that our new idea will be faced with opposition and ridicule.
Lack of Self-Confidence – self-criticism, self-doubt, lack of belief in our autonomous, independent thinking can thwart our creative ideas and prevent us from developing them.
Routines – inflexibility of thought and action. Holding onto absolutist beliefs, adhering too rigidly to “rationality”, having set ways of doing things.
Our Ego – perfectionism, not wanting to make mistakes, not wanting to be proven “wrong”, fear of failure.
What are some ways to re-awaken our creativity?
Permission – we must give ourselves permission to get in touch with our creativity, to be imaginative, to think outside the box, to imagine the “unthinkable”.
Study books about creativity and apply some of the things we learn.
Attend courses in creative thinking, learn mind-expanding techniques.
Re-awaken our innate curiosity – investigate topics outside our usual range ofinterests, open ourselves to a variety of new stimuli.
Provide variety and change in our home and work environment.Creativity requires fresh input, new points of interest.
Break our routines, forsake convenience and embrace change and stimulation.
Participate in new activities that stretch our coping skills and problem-solving abilities, and enhance adaptability. flexibility and versatility.
Re-connect with the child in us – engage in carefree playful activities and allow ourselves to day-dream, imagine, fantasize, pretend, make-believe.
Take time away from work, and engage in relaxation activities, mild exercise like taking a walk, and meditation, all of which rest and rejuvenate the mind.
Pay attention to our dreams - very frequently dreams can be a great source of creative solutions or insights coming straight from the unconscious.
For most of us, creativity is our “buried treasure”. It does require some effort to dig it up and get in touch with it again. The reward, however, of living a fuller, richer life is well-worth this effort. Once we get in touch with our buried
treasure, the sky is the limit as to how far we can develop it and unfold it – as long as we make a start.
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Ismini Apostoli is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, practicing in Greece and offering online services throughout the world. She is particularly interested in self- esteem, self-development and self-actualization and helping people uncover their special gifts and talents. You can find out more by visiting http://www.yourempowermenttherapist.com.