The promise of spring in the air reminds us of the endless opportunities for new beginnings, renewal, and growth. Wherever you are in life’s journey, now is the time to cultivate creativity and reap the benefits of increased joy and good health.
Creativity is intelligence having fun. — Albert Einstein
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. — Edward de Bono
The Joy of Creativity
Creativity enhances quality of life and has a powerful impact on longevity. Research studies show that seniors involved in creative activities like writing, painting, and singing experience improved cognitive processing and mental health, and often live longer. Young or old, everyone can benefit from a dose of creativity!
Creativity takes many forms. If you struggle with creative expression, you just haven’t found the outlet that’s right for you. If you aren’t a painter, maybe you enjoy expressing yourself in thoughtful song lyrics. Maybe writing isn’t your thing, but you thrive on creating delicious new recipes. My friend Arlene loves to draw with colored pencils, John plays his sax, my niece Kara decorates cakes; for me, it’s harmonizing to songs. Whatever brings you joy and lets you express yourself — go for it and have fun!
Creativity doesn’t have to be “artsy” — outside-the-box thinking and problem-solving at home or in the workplace can be just as creative and rewarding as creating a work of art! Creativity is intensely practical (despite our mental picture of “creatives” as rebellious free spirits!). An IBM study shows most CEOs believe creativity is the key to navigating today’s volatile and increasingly complex business environment.
Richard Restak, neurologist and author of Think Smart, says, “Creativity is critical to solving problems in all part of our lives.” Creativity is invaluable in perceiving and developing ideas and alternatives, building connections, and generating solutions.
Courage to Create
Creativity can be scary. To banish fear of creativity, let go of any niggling suspicion that you’re “doing it wrong,” or that your creative thought isn’t worth sharing.
Without creativity, the world — and you — can never grow. So grab a paintbrush, strap on your dancing shoes, or draft a memo on your great idea — and don’t be afraid to share it. Expressing your thoughts and ideas with others can make you feel vulnerable, but consider it your way to give back — your unique contribution to the world!
Here are some practical tips to cultivate creative thought and expression in your daily life.
- Create daily. The simple motion of creative actions, big or small, helps creativity flow naturally. Make it a habit to take one creative action each day — whether it’s doodling in your notebook, singing in the shower, snapping a photo, or enrolling in an art class. Reward yourself with the “gift” of creativity every day.
- Ask questions. Children ask an average of 120 questions a day until age five. By age 40, that number drops to a measly four questions a day. Reconnect with your “inner child” and ask open-ended questions — ones that start with how, what, or why — to discover a realm of possibilities.
- Shake up your routine. Change spurs creativity, and inspiration can be hard to find if you never vary your daily routine. Try a new restaurant, a new hobby, or even just a new route to work. Take yourself off autopilot for a few moments each day and savor the fresh perspective.
- Nurture your senses. Creativity can be stirred through our five senses, by flipping through a book of artwork, the smell of baking bread, or the sound of a violin symphony. To move your creative spirit, make a conscious effort to be fully present — fully aware and inspired by the awesome things you see, touch, taste, hear, and smell every day.
- Get outside. Nature nurtures creativity. Make an effort to spend some time outside each day. And make those moments intentional … don’t sit on a park bench staring at your smart phone! Absorb the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, and use them to spur your creative thought.
Focus on the Future
At Leap Forward Coaching we have a process to help you cultivate creative thought and expression in your personal and professional life. Our thoughtful methods will help you gain new perspective and find increased fulfillment and peace in your life.
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© 2014, Leap Forward Coaching