Nurturing your creative side

We’ve talked at length about how all humans have capacity for creativity, but it’s important to nurture your creative side. Creativity is teachable, and here are some characteristics (found in psychological research) you can work on as you embrace your creative nature.

Being creative means being adaptable.

Creativity isn’t an all or nothing trait. It’s an ability to be open to possibility and flexible in situations. Nurturing both sides is important.

  • Be wise but filled with childlike wonder. You definitely need intelligence, wisdom, and analytical skills to solve problems, but you also need the ability to brainstorm and even daydream ideas that aren’t always the status quo. Let yourself dabble in Fantasyland with the knowledge that you’ve got a grounding in reality, as well.
  • Be disciplined but also playful. Creative people know that there’s a time to buckle down and focus but that there’s also a time to play, release, and let your ideas incubate a bit.
  • Be humble but also proud. It’s important to recognize that your contributions are part of a greater whole, but it is also important to be proud of the importance of your contribution. Stay humble and learn from your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to let your efforts shine.
  • Recognize what traditionally works, but don’t be afraid of risk. The old adage of not fixing something that is not broken definitely applies sometimes, but don’t let it get you stuck in a rut. Experiment with alternate ideas. You might find something that works more efficiently (or that inspires).
  • Be passionate but reflective about your work. Don’t ever let the inner critic kill your passion for what you do, but make sure that you stop to objectively look at your efforts, so that you can learn and improve.

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Other creative characteristics

People who honor their creativity often share characteristics with young children (who haven’t learned to let social comparison and inner critics get the better of them). Characteristics they share are as follows:

  • Curiosity
  • Independent thinking
  • Playfulness
  • A sense of adventure (i.e., willing to try new ideas)
  • Energetic and active
  • Imaginative
  • Willingness to be vulnerable

What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful–Brene Brown

Remember, creativity is a teachable trait. Review this list again and find the areas where you might need some improvement. Find books on the topic, or seek out a creativity coach. And you can also check back here and on my social media pages (see the bottom of my homepage for links) for exercises that will boost your creativity.

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