Creativity is a skill that can be built like any other. Understanding your passion and challenging the voices in your head that say “no” are a great way to start.
Maybe it’s disingenuous to say that each of us has the potential to be a creative genius. Gifts of personality are dispensed in varied measures at birth. Humans are tangled balls of social conditioning, reactions to environment, and serendipity. Life isn’t fair. Luck plays a part. We’ve all heard someone say, “I was in the right place at the right time” or “I never get lucky.”
As far as creativity is concerned, most people believe you’ve either got it or you don’t. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard someone say wistfully, “I’m not creative.” When I hear a statement like that, I think to myself, “No one has ever shown you where to begin.”
Because the fact is, creativity, like any skill, can be cultivated. It takes a healthy combination of self-knowledge and stamina.
Athletes have an advantage: prescribed methods of building stamina, because physical prowess is revered by our culture. Hire a personal trainer and you’ll start with a series of exercises done repetitively – gradually adding reps as the body gains strength. Exercise is specific, varied, and involves what’s called cross training. One day a session of running to work cardio. Next time? Yoga to maximize flexibility. A steady, balanced program of activity keeps the human machine functioning at its optimal level.
So what about the rest of us? How can we engage creatively with what we care about – whether it’s a job or an avocation? And just as important – how can we identify what works against building creative stamina in every aspect of our lives?
I teach artists how to build stamina through what I call “creativity strength training” but the fact is, the lessons apply to everyone.
Here are three aspects of thinking more creatively each of us can embrace.
The Inner Rebel