I belong to a club in my town called the “Newcomers Club”. Perhaps you might have a group like that in your town too – where people come together to make new friends, meet your neighbors, and get involved in your local community. I’ve made some great friendships this way.
Well, last week, the Newcomers hosted a “Watercolor and Wine” night. It was at a members home, and she decked out a work space for us, complete with twinkle lights, jazz music, and charcuterie.
It was all very Stars Hallow, and I was so grateful that I chose to carve time out of my life to attend and connect with my neighbors, because let’s be honest – sometimes it’s way easier to stick to routine – cooking dinner, getting the kiddos bathed and in bed, staying up and checking emails…
But perhaps the best part of the evening was when I entered my “FLOW” state. It felt so so good time make the time and space to be creative. To get into the zone while I went into that untapped part of myself that doesn’t get the space to create.
These days, we have all the information in the world at our fingertips. We have access to all of the knowledge, concepts and ideas you could ever want to know; But sometimes, the overconsumption of it all turns into noise, and it prevents us from actually listening…To taking that beat of recalibration to allow us to hear our own original thoughts.
The noise stops us from taking action on any original thought or idea that helps us to learn and grow more deeply. Because “KNOWING” how is very different than actually “DOING”.
I know I can’t be the only one with a Pinterest board full of ideas I’ll do “one day”. And then that “one day” never comes, and I find myself scrolling along for more ideas…
Why do we do this?
Well, I’ve come to realize we can get stuck in this “thinking vs doing” rut for a few big reasons:
1: We don’t make the time and space to foster creativity. Unless there’s space for creation in our to-do lists, it can become too easy to let routine take over.
1: We’re fearful of failure. That perfectionistic part of ourselves rears it’s ugly head again. We must have that understanding that we won’t grow by mere “knowing” we grow by “doing”. In Seth Godins Book “The Practice” he talks about how it’s hard to even start creative work when in your mind the outcome has to be perfect… AND it’s hard to finish creative work when you won’t settle for less than perfection.
3: We’re fearful it will be hard. Steven Covey talks about starting with a beginners mind, but this is easier said than done, when we’re so used to things being so easy. Babys don’t just one day get up and run, they stumble along as they go and work up to scurrying along.
Not taking the time to flex our creativity muscle can have some pretty detrimental effects on our life and work too. We can get stuck in a rut, or stuck in the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset. When we flex our muscle for fun, it will help us flex when life requires us to be a little more creative, too.
TRY IT YOURSELF
So, here’s a few things we can do to help us turn down the noise and finally get in touch with that creative spark that lives inside all of us. That spark that’s unique to all of us. That spark of creation and contribution that is the essence of why we’re all here.
- Make time and space: Plan some intentional creative time in your day to do something creative that you haven’t done before. Pick up a paintbrush, make up a song – create something just for the sake of making it, without judging the end outcome for probably not being perfect (at all).
- Go Screen Free. Get Bored. When I was little I remember asking my mom what I should do with my time because I was bored… “You’re too smart to be bored” was the annoying response I always got, but it forced me to use my imagination and make something out of that S P A C E of time. Go screen free tonight after work, and see where it leads you.
- Take a class. Visit youtube and search for something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do. Or check out Masterclass to learn from some of the greatest minds of our time.
Watch This: How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”
Read: If you haven’t read BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, the author of the cult fav Eat, Pray, Love), then you NEED to pick up this book asap. She goes deep on her own learnings on creativity and fear and how to dance with both.
Listen: Check out this podcast on creativity where Seth Godin and Marie Forleo discuss creativity and how flexing your creative muscle is a choice.