Do you believe you’re a creative person? From the first day of school, we are conditioned to be passive in our creativity. We are taught that some people are creative, while others are not, which leads us to become consumers, rather than creators. The truth of it, though, is that every one of us was born to create, and our creative potential is unlimited.
Cast your mind back to your childhood. Remember how confident you were presenting your latest kindy picture to your mum? Everything you created felt like a masterpiece to you because your creativity was being encouraged rather than constrained.
Can you remember the first time you felt self-conscious about something you created? I can, it was the first time I was told I had to keep my colouring in between the lines. I became so obsessed that all I did after school for weeks was colouring until I could proudly show my teacher my perfectly in between the lines colouring.
That first lesson in staying within the lines is repeated in many different ways throughout our school years. It primes us for a life of conforming and consumerism.
Understanding Your Creative Potential
Human beings are born to create. We are so creative that we can create our circumstances with every decision we make. We produce both beauty and ugliness with our beliefs, and we can manifest anything we desire. Yet we have been indoctrinated to become passive consumers of other people’s creativity.
As writer Zadie Smith proclaims:
“What modest dreamers we have become.”
For many of us, our dreams become about buying the latest trend so we can stay in between the lines. As a result, we return to jobs that we don’t love, to slave at something that brings minimal pleasure, so we can consume something created by someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I love buying the work of artists I admire. I believe it’s essential to support the work of people bravely choosing to honour their creativity. However, how fulfilling would it be to see your own creations hanging on your wall alongside the pieces you’ve purchased? Or to enjoy your own poetry or music?
But What If I Can’t Paint or Write?
Let me assure you; your creative potential is not limited to what we traditionally call “art.”
Cultivating a garden full of vibrant life is a way to express your creativity, as is arranging cut flowers in a vase to brighten your home. Blending harmonious scents together is another form of creativity. Sequencing flowing yoga classes that bring your class participants to a place of inner peace is deep creativity. Finding the answer to a clients accounting problem because you thought outside of the lines is employing your creativity too.
How To Explore Your Creative Potential
Allowing yourself to express your creativity is a big, bold, gutsy move. It goes against everything we’re taught in school. Some people may ridicule you for trying – but what is the alternative? You can choose to be bold and explore your creative potential, or you can choose to live life on the merry go round, working to consume. Something tells me that you want to break free and start colouring outside of the lines.
Here are a few ways to start your exploration:
Creativity thrives on enjoyment. Forget the tortured artist stereotype, most people living their creative dreams are full of joy. And what could be more fun than finger painting? Can you remember how much you loved it in kindy?
The thrill of feeling the paint on your hands releases a kind of intuitive intimacy with your creative talents. There is literally nothing between you and the medium, and your inner child takes over, letting whatever comes manifest onto the canvas.
Morning pages are a technique created by Julia Cameron. From her website:
The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
I have practised my own variation of morning pages for many years. Essentially this technique is stream of consciousness writing, which means you allow anything and everything that is on your mind to flow, completely uncensored, onto the page. It has jogged many a creative idea for me. Discover more here
Experiment With Everything
How do you know what sparks your creativity if you don’t try things? My advice is to try your hand at everything you’ve ever said “oh, I’d love to try that” about. If you try it and find you don’t enjoy it, then move onto something else. Your creativity will grow as a result, as will your self-confidence.
Let Go Of The Outcome But Enjoy The Results
Don’t get hung up on suddenly discovering you’re a Picasso in hiding. Let go of the outcome but enjoy the process and the results. You may still have to continue with your tedious job. Nevertheless, you will bring so much enjoyment into your life that even the mundane parts of your existence will begin to brighten.
Discovering your creative potential is a lifelong journey, one that will bring new surprises and more joy and satisfaction than you could imagine.
Be bold, be brave, be gutsy and allow yourself to explore your creativity.
Recommended Reading For Exploring Your Creative Potential
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon