How to get creativity flowing

CreativityAs soon as I start talking about creativity, people get a little freaked. “I’m not artistic,” they say. “I can’t even draw a straight line.”

But you don’t have to be the next Georgia O’Keeffe (have you seen my Pictionary drawings?) to have fun, to be creative, to broaden your life.

I’m talking about tapping into your very essence to realize your potential, not creating some master work. Creativity is about potential and possibility and energy and excitement and it’s about getting out of that rut you’ve been in ever since you quit work to change diapers, or moved into the CEO seat and stopped the day-to-day development.

Creativity isn’t just about painting or writing or composing, it’s about creating a life out of everyday experiences that fire you up and get you excited.

When you do that, you feel energized, healthier. You live longer too, say the big wigs. And, when you create you have more to contribute, because creative expression inspires and energizes you.

And, believe me, it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, you can start creating a new experience right now, by using these tips.

 Be brave. Step into your inadequacy and imperfection. Own it. Laugh about it and know deep down that the first time you do anything, isn’t going to be as good as the 53rd time you do anything. We don’t care about the result here, or the how it’s all going to happen. This is about doing. Do. Something. And if that new recipe you try tastes God awful, laugh and celebrate the attempt and figure out how to make it just a little bit better. If the post you write isn’t all that, celebrate that you are actually on par with Hemingway and Shelley and all those who came before who first created crap.

You can do this. You can make something.

 Get the cross-talk going. Fluid communication between the brain’s hemispheres has been shown to aid creativity. But, many of us become stuck in a dominant or sometimes narrow way of thinking that limits that cross-talk like a duct tape line dividing the kids bedroom. But, bringing the brain together may be as simple as moving your eyes back and forth.

In one study, researcher Elizabeth Shobe and her colleagues found that when cross-talk was encouraged among study participants who were heavily reliant on a single hand — a la right handed or left handed rather than ambidextrous — they became more creative.

Reliance on a dominant hand is an indicator of less cross-talk in the brain. But, study participants who moved their eyes back and forth horizontally for 30 seconds opened the communication in the brain and became significantly more creative.

I love this, because I can do the eye thing. In fact, I just did. Before you start work on a work or art project or craft, shift your eyes back and forth for 30 seconds and prime the cross-talk in your brain. Then get to work.

Switch chairs, make a change. Creativity is stifled by routine, little moves like this change it up a bit and that helps our creativity flow.

For example, I tend to sit in the brown chair, the one with the leather cracking on the arms. I look at my husband who sits on the left side of the couch. I watch T.V. this way. Make my notes this way.

Last night, though, I went a little crazy, and sat on the opposite end of the couch along the far left side. I could see the kitchen from there. The angle to the T.V. changed. And, so did my perspective on just about everything else. Not kidding.

Sit in a new place today, drive home a new way, eat lunch in a different spot and pay attention. A different perspective changes everything and ignites the creative process.

Ask a question of the person you know best. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid? What was one of the best moments of your life? If you weren’t afraid, what would you love to do?

Relationships often break up because they become mundane, boring. We get used to looking at each other in that same old familiar way. We do the same things and forget to create new experiences with each other.

But, people are not boring. We are complex and ever-changing and fascinating. Remind yourself of that by asking the person you know best, a new question. Then get quiet and just listen. Soon, you’ll discover that you’ve created a new experience in your relationship.

So today and going forward, don’t worry so much about what you’re going to paint, or write or sing or talk about. Don’t stress about whether you are good enough or not, (we all create crap in the beginning – not kidding, and it matters not at all.) Don’t even ponder about how you’re going to get it all done. Just get going. Take action, put yourself out there and create something, please, anything. The result will be a life well lived.


Image by: Stock.xchng

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