Did School Kill Your Creativity?

I believe this passionately: that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it. - Ken Robinson

The most watched TED talk ever with 54 million views is by acclaimed educator and visionary Sir Ken Robinson. It is titled Does school kill creativity? Schools teach us that it's not okay to think outside the box or draw outside the lines. From an early age we are taught to conform to a set norm which offers little room for being creative.

hummingbird young.jpg

Long after we leave school we continue to repress our creative self. We have often decided that we just aren't creative. Robinson insists that when people tell him they aren't creative he assumes that they don't understand what is involved. Creativity is actually a process that can be learned. New advancements in neuroscience have shown that it's not a matter of right brain/left brain but rather that different networks of brain regions are enlisted during different stage of creativity. We all have the capacity to access these parts of our brain.

In the past several years top CEOs and educators around the world are insisting that creativity is the top trait needed to do well in the twenty first century. Creativity has so much to add to our lives. It gives us a deeper understand of ourselves and the world around us. It can improve our performance at work and our pleasure in our daily life.

In working as a creativity coach where I essentially act as a midwife to help others reawaken and reclaim the creativity that is their natural birthright, I have found that it is always alive and well just below the surface waiting for a bit of encouragement and nurturing to come forth.

To begin to do this for yourself, stop telling yourself that you are not creative and start looking for all the ways you already engage your creative capacities. Any time you come up with a solution to a problem you are being creative. Since creativity has a strong subconscious element, exercising our intuition, intention and focus as well as an awareness of those flashes of inspiration are key element in building our creative muscles and experiencing how the process works.

To nurture your creativity play with it. Let yourself be pleasantly surprised. Have fun. Resist the urge to take it seriously or feel you have to do it right or perfectly. The only way to be creative is to try something and see what works and what doesn't, then play with it some more.

Making Mistakes

Life is "trying things to see if they work. - Ray Bradbury

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. -James Joyce

full moon dark night.jpg

Recently I worked with a client who was really blocked in her writing and painting. Through our coaching we were able to discover that the root of the block was a fear of making mistakes. Once she identified that bugaboo her writing and painting started to flow again.

Our culture and educational systems teach us that mistakes aren't okay; that there are real negative consequences to making mistakes. Yet the only way we learn is by our willingness to make mistakes and see what works and what doesn't.

From my own years of writing I have had countless pages that were practice that never really took off and I had many scraps of poems that were never finished. I always knew that this was part of the learning process of being a writer. Yet I also found that the stories and poems that really wanted to be completed would stay with me through the process of growing in my craft.

This really helped me to show up and just play with the process and allow what wanted to born come through me. This and just being able to play with the process is really an important part of being creative in any form you work with.

A friend once told me about a book on creating art that was called, One Continuous Mistakes. I never bothered to read it because just hearing the title was all I needed. My creative self immediately intuited the truth of it. I felt could feel that the secret to really being in the creative process is indeed a willingness to make mistakes and see where they lead.

What Sparks Your Creativity?

One of the loveliest words in the English language is the word “inspiration”. It signifies again the creative breath. It also has to do with spontaneity, with the arrival of the unexpected image or idea in the mind. Inspiration is the flash of connecting light that suddenly comes from elsewhere and illuminates. - John O’Donohue

white butterfly.JPG
 

We don’t all find inspiration for our creativity in the same way. For me walking can open things up and let the ideas pop in. In my writing, starting with a word or phrase without thinking about where it’s going and allowing what wants to emerge on the page with a willing to be surprised gets the inspiration going.

For you it may be cooking or playing with your kids or grandkids or walking in nature or sitting in meditation or reading poetry or taking a class or dancing around the living room. Take a minute and consider what brings your inspiration alive. Plan to include more of that in your life.

There is tremendous value in sparking our creativity, not only for our work and personal lives but our bodies benefit as well. Research shows that when we engage our creative capacities we produce endorphins, the feel good hormones, along with boosting our immune system and the neurochemistry that increases brain function. We have an overall sense of wellbeing and an ability to solve problems and engage projects in expanded ways.

I know this is so true for me. Even writing a short draft of a poem or haiku immediately lifts my spirit. It doesn’t even need to be something I think is good. The act of opening to the creative flow even in small ways opens us to more flow and possibilities. Play with it and see if this isn’t true for you.