Is Creativity a Quality Everyone has?

Are you creative, or do you believe that the creativity gene missed you completely? I believe everyone is creative, but not everyone flexes their creativity muscle they were born with.  Last year I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron because I was asked to teach a “Creative Cluster,” as Cameron describes the 12 week course based on the book. Cameron confirmed my belief that we are all creative.  She states that creativity is part of our true and authentic nature, but as we go through life our creative ability becomes blocked. 


Creativity is play in action.  Playing means we are having fun, we are enjoying what we’re working on.  Yet, many of us have lost our inner child, which means that we have forgotten how to play.  You know creativity is happening when you have lost time because you were so focused on what you were doing.  Losing time also occurs when you are playing or having fun.  Whether you are writing, painting, or coding, creativity is necessary.  It enables us to take ideas and make them an actuality.  It’s how we make our vision or dreams and into our reality. 


Creativity is always a leap of faith. You're faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage. ~Julia Cameron


3 Reasons Creativity is Blocked


1. The Voices from the Past


When I was in high school, I took and art class and discovered that I like to paint.  I really enjoy the freedom to create whatever I want with the colors before me.  I was proud of what I was able to put on the canvas as it was a part of me that I was sharing with the world.  Then I was told by an art teacher that even with practice that I wouldn’t be good enough.  So, I quit painting.  It was over 20 years before I picked up another paint brush.  That’s how creativity is squashed.  Things that parents, teachers, or friends say to you that shuts down your creative process. 


That art teacher was wrong.  I am creative.  [Yes, that is my painting in the graphic for the blog.]  I am also brave to face the judgment of others if I choose to go outside of the lines or for my color choices.  You’re creative too.  In order to unblock our natural creativity, we have to rid ourselves of some of the negative thought patterns that we have grown accustomed. 


Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up. ~Pablo Picasso


2. Current Influences on Our Creativity  


We need to be willing to truly examine those around us and be sure that we’re not using them as our reason for not being our true creative selves.  Blaming others for our blocks does not free us.  Blame is unproductive and only causes us to stay stuck.  Are we surrounding ourselves with people who speak poison to our creativity or those who speak encouragement?  Or are we spending time with other creative people who are organized and ready to create at a moment’s notice. 


Personal boundaries are vital in order for us to thrive and be in healthy relationships.  Having them in place allows us to communicate our needs and desires clearly and succinctly without fear of repercussions.  It’s also used to set limits so that others don’t take advantage of us or are allowed to hurt us through their criticisms and discouragement.  We are the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with; are these people energizing your authentic creative self?  If not, you may need to change who you spend time with.


Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. ~Steve Jobs


3. Our Own Attitude


Skepticism is something that we need to set aside to allow ourselves the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we‘re creative.  We need to examine what we believe about ourselves and our creativity.  We must be open-minded about our creations.  We need to focus on the creative process, not the finished product.  Our expertise in our given medium comes with time and in the doing- the act of creating. 


We all have a tendency to make comparisons between ourselves and others.  We do this as a way of establishing a benchmark by which we can make accurate evaluations of ourselves.  They’re not fair assessments because we don’t have all the information about the struggle’s others went through in order to obtain their goals.  Comparing is another excuse we use to not create.


One of the things that can block us is perfectionism.  It’s really just our own refusal to move forward.  Progress, not perfection, is where we need to place our focus.  Perfectionism isn’t enjoying the creative process, but is instead, editing and grading the results, our work.  We stop ourselves from creating, saying the art, and then of course we as individuals, are not good enough.  This is the ego talking- it is pride, not humility.  Our creative recovery of our authentic selves requires us to leave the ego behind and move into action- the doing of the art. 


The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath


3 Ways Unblock Creativity


1. Morning Pages


One of the ways that we can change these thought patterns is through what Cameron calls morning pages.  This is a journaling practice that she encourages everyone to do.  By taking time each morning to get quiet and put our thoughts onto paper, we allow our minds to let go of negativity and embrace creativity. 


Reflection in writing has this magical quality of clarifying our thoughts. Journaling helps us prioritize, simplifies thinking, and helps to accomplish our most important tasks, over seemingly urgent busy work.  Putting our thoughts on paper enables the brain to organize our ideas and helps create a plan of action for our day.  It helps us be more aware and mindful.

Everything that's created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.  ~Wayne Dyer


2. Dealing with Criticism


Creativity cannot be quantified in intellectual terms.  Creativity is a unique perspective. Not everyone will be able to see our perspective, our art - the way we want them to view it.  Remember what Don Miguel Ruiz says in his wonderful book, The Four Agreements, it’s not about you.   Yes, your work is a reflection of you, but criticism about your work is a reflection of the person critiquing, not of you. 


Perspective is the important word.  To overcome criticism, we need to view it differently.  Every loss or disappointment must be seen as a potential gain, a potential learning opportunity.  How can this opinion improve my work?  We need to ask the right questions about the situation and not beat ourselves up. 


A little self-care and re-framing can make a negative into a positive.  One of the keys to life is resiliency.  Another key is self-empowerment.  And yet another is choice.  Only we can pick ourselves up from disappointment and move forward.  We can easily choose to view any loss as a learning experience.   


Your thoughts, positive or negative, can have long term effect on your future.   Knowing that all negative thoughts come from a place of fear and all positive thoughts come from a place of love, we can consciously choose the thoughts we have.  This enables us to learn and grow from any negativity, or criticism, we encounter. 


Compliments and criticism are all ultimately based on some form of projection.  ~Billy Corgan


3. Adding FUN back into your life


Regrettably, for many of us our lives have turned into boring days of routine.  There is no play and no fun in our lives.  Research has shown that having fun makes you more creative, more productive, improves your health, decreases your stress level, and enhances your relationships.  And, of course, having fun is a great way to boost your happiness.


What fun things did you do as a child?  I used to color and draw pictures when I was a kid but stopped doing so by the time I was ten.  Last year as part of my Happiness Project, I choose to make coloring a weekly fun activity I did as a way to put some playfulness back into my life.  To encourage this, I choose a planner that had pages I could color each week.  You need to help set yourself up to succeed in those things that you want to add to your life.  Make a list of the fun things you remember doing as an adolescent and incorporate one or two of them back into your life. 


 Creativity is intelligence having fun. ~Albert Einstein


Creativity is a Present Moment Activity


Creativity occurs in this moment, not in the past or in the future, but this present moment.  Our age has no effect on our creative ability.  I have been painting for the past five years and still enjoy the process.  Creativity is boundless, so if there are any limits to our creativity, they are self-imposed. 


No creative act is ever finished, just as our learning is never completed.  Focusing on the process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure.  Focused on the product, the same creative life can feel foolish or barren.  Although we like to focus in having learned the skill and having made a piece of art, the attention to final form ignores the fact that creativity lies not in the completed item but in the doing.  Creativity is an act, and only when we are truly being our authentic selves can we create.


Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. ~Elizabeth Gilbert


Moving Forward        


As you decide to accept the act of creating as a part of your life and become conscious about your mindset, you can alter the course of your life.  If you would like to receive more enlightening articles right into your email fill this out now.

Do you need help becoming aware of your own mindset?  Do you need support in unblocking your creativity?  Do you want a strategy to help you create a marvelous life?  If so please contact me and we can put together an action plan for you to be authentically you and for you to know that you are enough.

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