Let’s start with a little game. You can do this wherever you are. Grab your handbag or empty your pockets, or open the nearest drawer and randomly choose 3 objects. Doesn’t matter what.
Now figure out as many ways as possible to place these objects together on the nearest surface (yes this could be the floor of the subway, or your own hand). How many ways did you find? One, three,10, 27? We’ve just been kickstarting our creativity!
People so often say: “I am not creative”. Have they forgotten how they built castles out of two cardboard boxes when they were kids, how a stick could become a sword, mud a beautiful pie with little pebbles making the tufts of cream?
Somehow, the adult world has created (pun intended) this false belief that creativity can only be called that if it produces masterpieces and if it sells well. Otherwise, it’s considered dabbling, amateurism and mostly mediocre.
Nobody wants to be seen as mediocre. So we stop being creative. We put our creativity on a shelf, or worse, hidden in a dark corner of a basement or attic. Out of sight, out of mind.
The sad part is, that creativity needs to be used, to be activated, to allow it to come to its full expression. It’s like a muscle that needs to practice to become strong. If we don’t use our creativity muscle it will atrophy and become useless.
That’s why it is so easy to say that we are not creative. Once we have stored our creativity in a dark corner of our being, it does not get activated at all. It atrophies into a mere shadow of itself. We forget about its existence.
The good news is, that we can never totally deplete creativity.
Instead of trying to produce masterpieces, all we need to do is let our creativity practice its muscle, on play. Play with colours and shapes, with words, objects, ingredients, sounds, thoughts, options, solutions.
We cannot force the creation of something new by the intellect. But when we give our creative mind something to play with, eventually it will shape it into a new creation.
“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.” ~ Stephen Nachmanovitch.