This is the third entry in a series aimed at readers who need a little help rediscovering their natural creativity. So far we’ve learned that Creativity = Applied Imagination and you need to get out of your own way and give yourself permission to be creative. Today we’ll talk about finding your creative discipline.
Have you ever felt natural? Not in a no deodorant, unshaved armpit kind of way, but have you have done something creative that just feels RIGHT? Everyone is wired a little differently and each of has something that we born to “major” in. Ken Robinson, in his book by the same title, calls this “The Element.” Your element is something you are born to do, something you are passionate about, something you have trouble NOT doing. For some of us, it is writing. Some of us can’t help but dance and move and still others have a head for math, we can’t stop doing calculations.
When you feel like you aren’t creative, it could be that you haven’t found the right Discipline in which you can apply your imagination. In my case, drawing is an exercise in impatience and ineptitude, I didn’t get the drawing gene. If you hand my a sketch pad and a pencil, I will, after a frustrating period of time, tell you that I am not creative, throw the pencils away and storm out of the room. Here’s what happens, often, kids get labeled that way in school, “Oh, you are NO artist!” and that label becomes part of their self identity. Let me tell you something, we are all artists, we all have the ability to create, its just that some of us haven’t found the right element. Yet.
We call someone who is good with a paintbrush an “Artist” but someone who is creative with money is called an “Entrepreneur.” A curious kid might apply his creativity though science and research and others are great teachers. Finding a place that feels natural, that feels like home is the key to creativity.
Here’s something that is HUGELY important: If you go looking for your passion and find it, that doesn’t mean you automatically get paid to be creative. You might and you might not. If you discover your creative outlet is writing, why do you have to put the pressure on yourself to become a rich and famous author? We only seem to do this with art. There are millions of avid golfers who pay to golf every weekend with NO chance of ever earning a living playing golf, that doesn’t prevent them from enthusiastically traipsing around golf courses. Why do we put that caveat on creative pursuits? There is no question that living a life as a creative has its own benefits, there is no reason to place pressure on yourself to become a famous artist. It’s ok to create just because it feels good and makes you happy!
My suggestion is that you try a bunch of things until you find something that feels right. In my case, I take cooking classes, guitar lessons, dance classes, and any other idea that comes along, I’ll try most anything once. But I always come back to words; I’m in my element when I am writing. Someone once said to me, “Not everyone can write as easily as you can!” and I was a little confused, “Why not? Writing is easy, they give you all the letters!”
That’s what it feels like when you find your creative passion, it feels natural.
Go apply some imagination today, you’ll feel better. So will I!