All children love creating. They color, paint, dance, sing, doodle, sculpt with play-doh, build sandcastles, tell stories, act, etc. They cannot wait to create 1st thing in the morning. They refuse to go to bed at night until their work is done and probably hanging from an art wall in the family home. They just love it so much. So what happens to children when they grow up, why do they lose their creativity??

My 5 year old child sings. She sings in her loudest voice, closes her eyes and swings her head back and forth. She did this for 2 months, and then one day, she stopped. She changed her song, sang at a lower volume and I saw her looking around the room to see who was looking back at her. I wondered what happened. Did she loose that “wow feeling” when she sang because she became a little more aware of what people around her thought of her signing? As children grow into adults, when do they loose connection to creativity?  Is this why there is so much anxiety associated with the creative process? Creativity is supposed to give us a freedom that allows us to feel joy in the creative process. That’s why we should be careful how much we allow the opinions of others to affect our creativity.

Undoing the conditioning that has stunted the creative flow

Not everyone may be an artist, but every individual has creative capacity. So, where do you start if you want to undo the conditioning which has stunned your creative side?  SILKMentoring suggests using a two-prong approach to ignite the creative flow.

First, try to remember what you loved to create when you were younger and just start doing that. If painting was your thing, just get some paint, brushes and a piece of paper and just start moving that brush across that paper. No plan, no end product in mind, just paint for the sheer experience of painting again. If you remember loving play-doh, get some clay and just roll it around and mould something. The process of going back to creating or doing things that made you happy,  will help you get in touch with your playful side, the side that is adventurous and fun, the imaginative side.

Once you reconnect with your creative side, since you are now an adult, you will have some capacities which were not there when you were a child. You can approach your creativity with an adult mindset. You could for example write a creative plan that breaks down what you want to achieve, how you want to go about it and how much will it cost you to do it. You might decide to take some classes, talk to other creatives, and refine your creative style so that you become better at it day by day. I recently met a 65 year old woman who decided to go back to art school to learn the basics of painting, and this time, for the sheer pleasure of it.

The Importance of Creativity

Creativity is vital because it gives us joy, it releases the child in us, and it allows us to feel deeply, to love strongly, and to experience feelings of awe. Creativity is one of those uniquely human traits that exemplify our noble nature. Through it, individuals and societies have risen above themselves. They have created and discovered new realities, have embellished their surrounding and have made life worth living. To deny anyone’s creativity is to rob that person, and society as a whole of a unique contribution to the wealth of life.

Some Aspects of Creativity:

SILKMentoring suggests the following 3 characteristics to heighten creativity:

  • Discipline and Persistence
  • Patience and Calm Endurance
  • Seeking to Sense with Childlike Adventure

To be disciplined and to persist means to wake up every day and create no matter what, to learn, to consult, to be exposed, and to prioritize your creative path. This path is usually solitary and may be subject to criticism and unwanted opinions from others, so patience and calm endurance is vital. To continue on the creative path no matter the obstacles, and during those dry spells where we don’t create at all is important. At the same time, it is crucial not to approach creativity as you would other activities, like a chore or obligation. Creativity needs to be free, it needs to flow, it is best when it is playful, spontaneous, unfettered, maybe even capricious. Then it helps us see and experience the world and its beauty and possibilities with childlike awe.

Suggested ways to practice Creativity:

There is plenty of material out there on the various ways to enhance creativity. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Find your “creativity fountain” and use it. Your fountain is that moment, place, person or feeling that triggers the most experimental, daring, adventurous part of you. Some feel most creative at 3 am, others need a specific location; a park bench or a swing, and some have a muse, while others’ creativity is triggered by memories or feelings. It can be a combination of these… or it can be something distinct, not mentioned here.
    For me, that place between wakefulness and dreams, right before I am about to drift off to sleep, I get the best thoughts and ideas, the most impactful personal conversations, the pictures I want to paint, the things I want to make…and when I feel most positive and make most of my personal pledges. Sometimes, I get up and write the ideas down and I try to capture the feeling.Creative ideas I have carried out after these experiences, have been awesome and brought me much joy.
  • Collaborate with other people. Every well of creativity has a limit. Unless you move on to a completely different thing, you will need to collaborate with others to inject new ideas and inspiration into your style or art form. Some great collaborative examples include:
    Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat (painting)
    Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili (photography and light)
    Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers (music)
    The Chemical Brothers and Noel Gallagher (music)
    Sting and Cheb Mami in Dessert Rose (music)
    Dance collaborations that cross styles… Ballet with street dance, jazz steps with break dancing, etc.
  • Create something new… let your creativity feed your passion and your passion, feed your creativity – – – and try something you haven’t tried creating ever. It is liberating.

The best thing about creativity is that is connects you to the present, and through it, you feel alive and you begin to see new possibilities in life. Creativity is one of those experiences which crosses cultures and is able to transcend many human barriers. Creativity inspires eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand and feel. Create to live a fuller life!