By Bill Yeargin
This blog, without hyperbole, could change your life.
First, imagine what your life would be like if you were more creative. Would life be more fun? Would people find you more interesting? Would you do better in your job? Make more money? Would you have a more positive impact on the world? I’ll bet the answer to all those questions is an unequivocal yes!
So, if the benefits are so obvious, how can you be more creative? What makes the people who we consider creative the way they are? Does their brain just work differently?
I have come to believe that our creativity is a direct result of our self-perception. In other words, if you think of yourself as creative, you will be.
My wife Leigh has taught elementary school art for many years and works hard to encourage kids in their creativity. Years ago, she shared an article with me that claimed adults who consider themselves creative had their creativity re-enforced as kids. Sometimes it was just one teacher who told the child they were creative which sent the child’s life on a completely different, more positive trajectory.
While it is hard to shift our paradigms, especially about ourselves, I believe that, no matter our age, we can still change our creative trajectory as adults. I am not saying it is easy, but it can be done, and the potential rewards are enormous.
Our self-image is how we think about ourselves and it can be changed; it does not have to be permanent. It is developed over our lives and is impacted by a lot of different experiences. Just like kids, our adult lives can be sent on a new trajectory because of positive re-enforcement, but often as adults that positive re-enforcement must come from ourselves. Fortunately, you can use your thoughts and self-talk to change your life. You have the power to change your entire life by thinking of yourself as creative.
Visualization is a tool used by many top tier athletes and it can help you too. Think ahead five years and picture what your life could be like if you were creative. Once you have a clear picture of the new and creative you then take it day by day. Tell yourself each morning that today you will be creative. Have a long-term vision and a daily plan and take steps to execute them.
I realize that many people reading this will think it’s craziness. However, try it, there is little downside and the upside is huge. It will change your life.
Once you have changed your self-image, most of the work is done. However, to develop your creativity even further try the following:
- Be a learner – Read books that are written from a new perspective or which are written by someone with whom you disagree. Listen to a podcast from someone who can teach you something new. Visit new places. Expanding your thinking is one of the best ways to be creative.
- Enjoy some quiet, nature time – The older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize the benefits of spending time enjoying creation. My friend J. Nichols writes about this in his book Blue Mind. Time spent recharging in a natural setting is not time lost, it is time invested in our creativity with very high returns.
- Be courageous – I often wonder what great art, inventions, new songs, or cures the world has been deprived of because people were not courageous with their ideas. Fear of looking stupid has probably robbed people of more success than any other thing. Creative people sometimes say things that don’t make sense to others, don’t worry about it and just step out of your comfort zone. As my friend and ex-CIA agent Michele Rigby says, “Nothing significant happens in your comfort zone.”
Finally, I am a CEO, not a psychologist, so I don’t want to get out over my skis. However, in my experience it’s a myth that some people are wired to be creative when others aren’t. It’s time to bust the myth. For decades I have seen that people who perceive themselves as creative, are creative.
Try it for the next 90 days; modify with your thoughts and self-talk to begin considering yourself creative. It will change your life for the better and who knows, maybe the next great idea will be yours!