Creativity for personal growth

Rosanna Machado | August 24, 2020

I recently heard creativity described as ‘the adventure of trying something new’. I love the idea of embracing creativity for yourself and your own personal growth, rather than always associating it with your role or new ideas for work.

Last week, as part of a local arts project, I was asked to write a monologue about my lockdown experience. My personality is an even split of organisational and creative, however I was still surprised that in a few hours I managed to write poetry as I would not have included that in my skillset. And yet I used to do that regularly at primary school, but it’s as if over the years, we choose a path and all these other fun creative activities drop away and are forgotten. I found the experience cathartic as well as hugely enjoyable and this one exercise not only inspired me, but seemed to unlock more creativity as I progressed through the week with more confidence tackling projects that had seemed difficult and opening myself up to more opportunities. I was even stopped in the street because my purple hair was perfect for a TV advert (I’ve not been cast yet but here’s hoping!).

So how do we open ourselves up to more creativity?

  • Do something for yourself and take the pressure off by not worrying about the outcome or what anyone else thinks. We often carry limiting beliefs about not being creative which can prevent us doing things we love or things that can help us grow
  • Be curious – take the time to discover and take in what’s around you. Walk a different route, look at the trees, read something new, visit museums
  • Give your brain, time to relax. I often have my best thoughts when I am swimming, when I am relaxed and in flow
  • Put some constraints in place to help with your creativity – give yourself half an hour to write a poem or key words that you need to incorporate. You may have heard of Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s oblique strategies cards that promote creativity by suggesting a course of action to take in a creative situation
  • Alternatively take constraints away – if money wasn’t a worry, what’s your dream job? Allowing the mind to wander without assumptions, beliefs and constraints can lead to some interesting discoveries
  • Engage in debate with people who have different perspectives. We all gravitate towards our ‘tribe’ but cognitive diversity is great for widening your perspective and getting you to think differently
  • Change the physical space you are in. My energy levels shift significantly from sitting to standing. Or choosing a different location from usual to see what it might inspire

By opening ourselves up to creativity, we grow and learn more about ourselves, we can celebrate our uniqueness, we gain confidence, we see things from a different perspective which in turn helps with our problem-solving abilities. All of which can enrich our personal and professional lives. We just need to take the plunge. As Joseph Chilton Pearce said,

“To live our creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”