For the early part of my life, I did not even dream of myself as creative at all. I would often see musicians, artists, dancers, actors and think I would never be as creative as any of them. But growing up gave me a new perspective of how things really are; that being more creative is a practice, a habit, and a process. A good way to begin is to notice how creative babies and young children are. Just the act of crawling, walking, and exploring can be enormously creative. What I learned is that creativity isn’t something that you have or don’t have; it is something that you can nurture and develop. It is not just for artists, musicians, writers, and designers. It is something everybody has but sadly most don’t use. I was as guilty just as many of you reading this post right now. Anytime someone asked me “What do you do?” I responded with the widely used infamous response ” I don’t do anything.” But somewhere along the line something happened and now I do spoken word poetry, write music, stories and my new last creative baby…this very blog.
Here are 10 simple truths I got to know as I pondered on the issue of whether I was creative and decided to take steps to be.
- Anyone can do it: If you want to be creative, do it.
- Creative steals: Pablo Picasso is often quoted as saying, “Good artists copy, great artists steal. This is seen in all disciplines, with blaring examples surfacing in hip hop (I didn’t mention Meek Mills) and even in our tech industries with Apple stealing from Samsung and Samsung stealing from Apple. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes ( you’ll look more like a Chinese replica and nobody really wants that) , you want to see like your heroes.
- It is a learned skill and can be improved or lost: Creativity is a muscle that can be developed with constant exercise and healthy habits (Just imagine working out your creative pot belly to a 6-pack bod…sexy huh?)
- Creativity is infinite so look outside the box. But on your way out destroy the box.
- Creativity is a conscious decision. Creativity takes work, time and energy so get off your lazy bum. Being creative is a lifestyle choice.
- All ideas matter: One idea can create a domino effect but in that same regard do not be mediocre with your ideas. An idea that is not dangerous is not worth being an idea in the first place.
- Takes notes all the time, Document everything. Have notebooks and jot down ideas. I use the S Memo on my phone for my scrap ideas and have endless drafts for spoken word pieces, books and all of my writings (published and trashed).
- Trash opinion: Van Gogh, Thoreau and Edgar Allen Poe were all ahead of their time. Who’s to say you aren’t? Create what you want, write what you want to read, build what you want to use, cook what you want to eat and share it with the world. If the world responds positively — cool. If not, who cares? At least you’re doing what you enjoy. Maybe the future will appreciate you, and maybe not. Learn how to be creative for you.
- Pay attention to details – By entering into the practice of creativity, you can begin to notice more of the details of everyday life.
- Embrace Paradox – It seems that nearly everything about being a human being is a paradox. In my own life, I’m an introvert (contrary to what people think) and I enjoy speaking to people, popularly called a talkative; I can be indecisive and make decisions quickly; I’m confident and vulnerable.
Creativity is more than just about being different. Making the simple awesomely simple that’s creative. It is seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what no one has thought. It involves breaking out of established patterns in order to see things differently.
Life’s a marathon, not a sprint. So stop fighting, comparing and competing. Channel your rage into a creative pursuit. Make friends, ignore enemies. Show appreciation for the good things you see around you. Creative people love putting things together, are curious, different, playful and childlike do not play by the rules, want to keep inventing and they break things. They are adventurous, have trouble being accurate, spontaneous, funny, sensitive, enthusiastic, bold, see things take action, push beyond, constantly stretching, driven; are not content with the obvious, know when to let go, don’t mind being lost, have courage and will power. In short a creative person is you and not being afraid to fail is the perfect start.
Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world. A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great (Proverbs 18:16). From forward-thinking tech-product gurus such as Steve Jobs, to the kente weaver who weaves your beautiful colorful kente in Bonwire, we all have creativity within us. Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done. The important thing is that you recognize that the potential is there inside of you. You just have to really want it.