“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
What is Creativity?
To “live creatively” means to “LIVE!” in capital letters with an exclamation point! Living creatively means living up to your true potential. “Living” does not mean “breathing” – it means being alive in the fullest sense of the word. What is meant by “creativity”? Does it mean playing a guitar, painting a painting or writing a novel? It can, but it need not specifically refer to the arts.
The word “create” comes from the Latin creare meaning “to make, bring forth, produce” related to crescere “arise, grow, expand”. When you’re creating, you are building, bringing something into being, and you are arising, growing and expanding!
Creativity can encompass any field, any profession and any facet of life including living itself. Ever notice how some people make being alive into a work of art? Are there ways to grow and prosper and infuse your life with creativeness and imagination? On the internet, people seem to like lists of things, so here are 15 ways to go about it:
1. Give, Don’t Receive
Better to give than receive so says the old adage. It’s true. Sitting at home watching the “news” on CNN (aka the Bad News) or The Real Housewives of Hell for hours on end accomplishes nothing. Turn it off and do something productive. Get going on SOMETHING of value to yourself, your family, the neighborhood, the world at large. If you’re already doing that, more power to you.
2. Embrace Responsibility
Concepts like “responsibility” and “honesty” and “ethics” get a bad name because of extreme levels of hypocrisy. The people telling you to “Be honest!” and “Be good!” are often the most dishonest and unethical people around. So if you are to be honest and decent and good, it’s got to be a personal thing. You are the one who must face “you” staring back at you when you gaze into the mirror. What does responsibility, honesty and ethics mean for you personally? Start working on that.
3. Stop Worrying
If you can’t do anything about something, stop worrying about it. Are you going to tackle Ebola? If you aren’t, no need to endlessly worry about it. Either you are going to do something about something or you aren’t. It’s pretty much plan A or plan B. Not that you should ignore real problems, but why not tackle what is right there in front of you before worrying about everything else? If more people simply did that, we’d have far less problems. The more you do, the less you’ll worry. Less worrying and more doing!
4. Don’t Care What Anyone Thinks
All you have to do is create something these days and you get an army of haters. In fact, due to anonymity, the “army” could be only a handful. Caring what they think is a waste of time. Any person who did anything worthwhile had people that despised them. People will resent you for the crime of being creative and prosperous. Even people that were revered later in life or after their death had vicious critics – and they generally shrugged them off and got on with their mission. So just don’t care.
5. Live By a Code
There is beauty in living by a code. The samurai and the knights of chivalry lived by codes. “Look what happened to them!” you may say. “They don’t exist anymore!” Well maybe that’s part of the problem. Your code should encompass and embody your values. Having one guides you in times of adversity. At least consider it.
6. Get Obsessed
Those who do great things are obsessed people. They are single-minded in their pursuit. There’s nothing wrong with being so absorbed and determined that you forget to eat and sleep. Anything can be taken too far, but when you’re being constructive and exercising your extreme creativity, the result is bound to be positive. What can you get obsessed about? Do that!
7. Make Your Hobby Into Your Profession
Do you live for your hobby? Why not get paid for it? Of course that could take the fun out of it, but if the idea appeals to you, think up possible ways to do it. Like to write? Start a blog or write a book. Like playing your guitar? Stand on the corner and busk or play some open mics. Is your garage a workshop? Build beautiful things and sell them. Invest some time and effort into becoming a professional and put your own creative spin on it. People will be drawn to what you’re doing and even want to exchange for it.
8. Join a Club
There are clubs and groups for everything. Pick one and join it. Right there you are joining like-minded people doing something you like. Join a club that reads books, builds birdhouses, writes songs, plays poker, races snowmobiles. Go hiking, biking, snorkeling, sledding, fishing. And bring your family onboard. Life is better lived when you are part of a group.
9. If You Can Think It, You Can Do It
If you’ve always thought about writing, write. If you’ve always thought about singing, sing. If you’ve always thought about starting a restaurant, get started. The point: If you can think about it, you can do it. Not doing it because you “aren’t good at it” is only an excuse not to do it. Think back to the girl or boy you wanted to ask out in high school. For those who did it, even if they said no, you probably don’t regret doing it. For those who didn’t do it, you probably wish you had done it. A long as it’s not destructive (just needed to clarify that), do it.
10. Deny Yourself Something
Here’s a negative one: Don’t watch any TV until you’ve completed a project. Don’t go to bed until you’ve practiced your performance. Don’t go out and play until you’ve done your chores. Don’t reach for the bottle of Jack when you know it will mess with your head. Don’t smoke the PCP-laced joint when you know it’ll damage your brain cells. But don’t do these things because “someone said not to”. Don’t do them because YOU said not to. Impose your own boundaries. Get creative about it. It can even be fun if you make it so.
11. Feel Better Physically
Life can be rough when your body just plain feels bad. Abstain from the fast food and soda pop. A can of Coke contain 9-10 teaspoons of sugar. Millions of people drink several Cokes per day. Want to feel better? Cut out the sugar, processed, frozen and fried foods. Replace it with fresh, natural or organic. Can’t afford natural or organic? Factually, you cannot NOT afford it. Hunt around and you can find reasonable prices. At the same time, get outside and exercise. Those two alone will create a more creative YOU that feels better, is healthier and will probably live much longer.
12. Help Someone Else
Helping others is like heroin for the soul without the nasty side effects, withdrawal symptoms and death rate. Actually that’s not totally true; helping others can be completely addictive. In fact, it’s helped me stay drug-free for decades. It gives one a clarity and sense of purpose like nothing else. Helping youth get their lives together doesn’t just mean helping them to build their own future – it means building the future of the human race! And when you help someone gain the ability to help themselves, nothing in the world compares.
13. Demonstrate Charisma
You might think of “charisma” as being attractive or charming, and while that can be useful, that’s not what I mean. To me, charisma is staying late to get the job done, then staying even later to fix it when it didn’t come out right. Charisma is making the effort to keep your word. Charisma is leaving a note when you dented someone’s car. It’s making sure everyone’s seat belt is buckled before you take off. It’s looking someone in the eye, saying “I got this” and meaning it. It’s not necessarily romantic or sexy, but it makes or breaks a society and everything in it. We need more of it.
14. Combine Disparate Elements
Apply a sports mentality to your business. Treat your office like an orchestra. Make a marriage into the Super Bowl. Take your kids on a safari to the supermarket. Combine elements that aren’t normally thought of together: The metal band that played with the symphony, the Film Noir science fiction movie, the computer inspired by a blender – all these represent disparate elements combined in unique ways. Get creative and do this with your personal life and career and see where it leads you. Do so brilliantly and I may end up writing articles about you.
15. Generate Momentum
When you’re moving fast enough, the haters and naysayers won’t be able to keep up. Their poisonous words of defeatism and cynicism will be drowned out by the roar of your 800 HP engine. You won’t even notice if they’re there or not due to the dust cloud in your rearview mirror. The way you generate that kind of momentum is to keep creating. Create. Create. Create. And when you’re done with that, create some more!