Every single one of us is born with a creative spark. As children, our play and creation was our primary task of the day and our final goal. Upon reaching adulthood, however, a lot of us find ourselves craving the answer to the ultimate question: how to become more creative?
So, what happens to us as we age? Well, creativity is a skill. And, like any other skill, if you don't cultivate it, it shrinks and fades. It has little to do with our age per se and has everything to do with our priorities in life. Here are a few ways to be more creative and start enjoying life and yourself a lot more.
1. Morning journaling
I know it's going to be a great day when I successfully get up a good hour before anyone else. That and writing freely for a half an hour or a full hour without editing.
The idea of Morning Pages was first suggested by author Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist Way“ and later popularized by author and public figure Tim Ferris.
Keeping a journal has been and is practiced by many famous and successful people around the globe throughout ages. But there's something magical about doing it first thing in the morning. Cameron herself calls the morning pages “spiritual windshield wipers.”
Your head is the freshest, as you haven't experienced, heard, or read anything yet. It gives you this unique chance to connect with yourself without that editor nagging inside of you. Writing freehand gives you little chance to think about the content. You prioritize action against the thought.
Really interesting things happen when you practice morning journaling. It unravels your subconsciousness which starts presenting you some great fresh ideas. You get a sense of accomplishment before everybody else even wakes up.
Perhaps most importantly, you throw those worries out of your system that block your creativity like nothing else. It's one of the best kinds of therapy you can give yourself.
2. Changing patterns
We humans are quick to get into a habit of doing things the same way over and over again. A little bit of routine is actually very healthy, as it promotes discipline and focus. But do mix some things up a bit if you want to become more creative.
You can start with finding another route to get to work. And, after a few days, yet another. Instead of driving a car, hop on your bicycle or walk. Go shopping to a different grocery store.
Do that thing on Mondays that you do on Fridays. Listen to a music style that you haven't given a chance to before. Instead of having your usual take-away coffee, sit in the coffee shop and drink it, for heaven's sake.
3. Omitting things
This task in itself will get you to be more creative. It will also flex your brain and help you appreciate the things you have and do and the things you somehow deprive yourself from.
Omitting a particular word that you use often out of your vocabulary is a good start. Use one word for one whole day and you'll see yourself finding new fun ways to express yourself. This is a very good practice for those who want to swear less or are known to overuse such self-esteem crippling phrases as “I'm sorry.”
Go for a day without speaking to anyone or yourself, for that matter. Wear earplugs for a day. Don't use your dominant hand for a day. Well, you get the drill. This comes from yogi practices to make one appreciate our bodies and our senses and use them more efficiently.
Challenge yourself to go on a techno fast for one day a week. No gadgets at all, and most certainly not even your phone. Electronic devices are the main “circuit breakers” or distractions out there. Reclaim your freedom and innovative thinking by relying on yourself.
We adults tend to take ourselves way too seriously. It's sad how horrified we are to make a fool of ourselves and look silly to others. When we were kids we had none of these kinds of thoughts. And we were the happiest and the freest when at our beloved playground.
So go and play! Video games might seem a very attractive solution. And I don't have anything much against them, if they are of good quality and you play them abstemiously. But if you can, convince your group of friends to meet up at a paintball court next time or go on a trip to an amusement park.
Buy yourself a nice compendium of games and try it out with your family. Dig out your old art kit or get a brand new one and have fun with it.
Go through your old childhood photos, videos, and toys. Remind yourself how you liked spending your time back then and get inspired to reinvent those games for your adult self.
5. Talking to new people
If you want to be a creative person, you have to get out of your head from time to time. Expanding your social circle is very important for your personal growth. It also helps tremendously to get new ideas and new perspectives towards your problems and goals.
If you always spend time with a small group of the same people for years, you shut yourself in this social bubble, a concept that is even more evident in your social media channels. This eventually distorts your sense of reality and gets you trapped in your own mental loops.
I don't mean disrespect – a close-knitted group of friends is a great gift that you sure must value if you have it. But spice things up a bit by going to new places alone and meeting new people that you wouldn't otherwise. Quirky bars and small coffee shops, dance, art, or language classes, concerts and exhibitions – the opportunities are limitless.
Approaching a stranger on the street is even more liberating. Talk to your neighbors, shop assistants, librarians, bartenders and waiters, that old gentleman or lady sitting on the bench. People crave for a connection and interesting stories, both to tell and to listen to.