When it comes to creating a path in life that is truly yours, one of the most valuable tools that you have at your disposal is your creativity. Whether you like it or not you ARE creative. And just like everything else, the more time you put into developing this skill the more easily accessible it will be to you, aka PRACTICE. Conversely, if you don’t feel creative this may be a result of not cultivating your creativity.
About a couple of years ago, I began to realize that I saw a different future for myself which looked nothing like what others pictured for me. So I began to ask myself “what would I like my life to look like?” I began to imagine aspects of this alternate life which included: the freedom of not having to go to work for 9-11 hours daily, the ability to feel calm and peaceful on-demand, and spending more time with my family. This imagination, which we mostly used as children, is creativity in action.
The following are some ways in which you can flex your creative muscles so that they continue to expand and help you to create your path, solve any problem, and even envision a new you.
Share Your Ideas
Last year, I began to listen to a lot of podcasts. This resulted in many thoughts and original ideas popping-up in my head. Unfortunately, I was not totally comfortable speaking about these ideas around my work colleagues because my thoughts didn’t fall into the category of “normal” conversation. So I saved these ideas for speeches I gave to my Toastmasters club. I soon found that my speeches were not at their best because I wasn’t comfortable speaking at length about these topics. So what did I do? I decided to throw caution to the wind and talk to EVERYONE about ANYTHING that was on my mind.
This literally created a new world in and around me. I became comfortable speaking my mind and others became comfortable because I was comfortable. The takeaway here is to share your ideas with the world. There is a chance that something you say will make absolutely no sense to others but it’s important that you get comfortable with expressing yourself. This will allow a well of new ideas to continue to fill up until it overflows. Next thing you know, the ideas will come out of thin air. But the first step is to take a deep breath and release that first idea.
Remember, there will always be someone who has something (negative or positive) to say about what you do or say throughout your life, so be prepared. But ultimately, DO YOU!
Task 1: Think of one original thought or idea and share it with 5-10 people today!
Creative visualization is a meditative practice which brings your visions to life in your internal world before they show-up in your physical world. Visualization can be a way to recognize a personal goal/dream, solve a difficult problem, or even create a cool fiction story. When you use creative visualization you go into your mind and have access to creating any reality that you want.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be able to see pictures in your mind to visualize. We have the luxury of having multiple senses, so use whichever one allows you to connect with your vision. In fact, the visualization process is most effective when you are able to immerse yourself in it by getting all of your senses involved. If you are on a beach: smell the ocean, touch the sand, listen to the waves. If you are eating a meal: taste the flavors and enjoy the presentation. Make it as personal as possible and enjoy the experience. And there is no right or wrong way to do it. Your visualization is your personal creation.
Remember to visualize often, in a quiet setting, and in a relaxed state. Personally, I anchor my days with my visualization, so right when I wake-up in the morning and as I’m going to bed at night. Find the time that works best for you and make it a habit, then just allow your creativity to run wild.
Task 2: Set aside some time (5 minutes max to start) when you will visualize one future goal you have for yourself. Put it on your schedule, set a timer, and enjoy!
Challenge Yourself, Consistently
This may very well be one of the fastest ways to expand your creativity. When you’re consistently doing the same thing over and over you eventually get to a point where you will notice that your brain is lacking stimulation. This stimulation can easily be gained by trying something new.
When you are facing a new challenge you begin to access parts of your brain that you didn’t even know existed. The result: your thinking literally expands. This happens because the new experience creates a new way of thinking. For instance, during my training to become a life coach I was introduced to different skills. Though these coaching skills made it possible for me to gain a deeper connection with my clients, learning them was not the easiest. Yet, each time I practiced a particular skill I became more and more comfortable with it. Eventually, my thinking and my coaching style completely evolved as a result of my new abilities.
Now, in order for this to be the most effective you have to keep an open mind and a general willingness to want to succeed in the challenge. In other words, approach the challenge with the mindset of discovering new opportunities rather than recognizing problems or focusing on lack of progress. A problem focus typically cuts off your natural creative flow. Whereas focusing on opportunities allows your mind to continue to open up to limitless ideas. The more you challenge yourself the more your creativity will continue to expand.
Task 3: Challenge yourself 3 times this week. You could prepare a difficult recipe, read a book in a genre you don’t typically enjoy, or even learn a new skill. Just remember to enjoy the process!