Thursday, October 15, 2009

Discovering Your Hidden Creativity

Whenever someone asks me what I do, and after explaining that I’m a writer, I almost always get the same response:

“WOW – I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’m not creative enough.”

Or alternatively, the other person’s eyes light up like a solar flare as they respond:

“I have a story that needs to be told, wanna write it?”

The later one is easy to dismiss – I’m no longer a journalist. I write this blog based on my thoughts and observations around me – which is what all writer

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’s do to an extent. Not that I easily dismiss another person’s story – we all have our amazing stories which we want to share with others. Just I don’t want to be the person writing about everyone elses lives – my life gives me plenty to write about thank you very much!

The first response is what today’s blog is all about – creativity.

We all have some element of creativity buried deep within ourselves – it is just a matter of digging within to uncover it.

Yeah, I’ve heard it a zillion times – “but I’m not a creative person.”

Without creativity, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right this very second. The first sign of creativity is a sense of curiosity – and it is that sense of “need to know” which drove you this far in this blog.

Curiosity drives us to do many things. From the simple, such as clicking on a blog and reading it through, to the more adventurous – reading a blog, becoming inspired

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to write your own, to the more – uh er – well you decide – tasting that mysterious brown clump of food that’s been sitting at the back of your fridge for the past six-months, to figure out what it is or was.

Provided you don’t get food poisoning from tasting mystery foods left in your fridge, creativity is driven by a sense of curiosity – interest in the people, places and things around us.

Unless you really live in a vacuum – which in of itself would be quite the tall tale – chances are you are curious about something.

So curiosity is one of the key characteristics – which we all have – of being creative. Still don’t think you are a creative person? What if I told you there really are only three elements to being creative – you’ve just discovered you have one, what if you have the other two?

Ask yourself: “If I won $35 million in the lottery today, what would I do with the money?”

Take a moment to salivate over your winnings – thirty-five million dollars is nothing to sneeze at!

What would you do?

Would you buy a new house? Get a red hot exotic sports car? How about take a trip around the world – no! Even better than a trip, a cruise around the world.

Just by thinking about what you’d do if you won the lottery, you just proved you have one of the other two characteristics embodied in being creative.

The first of the remaining two characteristics is the ability to imagine – using your mind’s eye to see other possibilities. Imagination is key to creativity, as curiosity drives us to imagine what it would be like to do something, be someone else, meet a celebrity, or win the lottery.

Our imaginations give us an alternative perspective on the world around us. At night, when we sleep, our imaginations power our dreams.

Psychiatrists, neural surgeons and other medical experts on human

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thought patterns and brain activity still don’t know much about how our brains actually work. They have told us that our brains are electro-chemical nerve centers, where each thought – a neuron of electronic and magnetic impulses – whizzes from one nerve center in the brain to another one faster than they can realistically measure.

But one thing most of these experts agree on is that our dreams are our mind’s way of sorting and organizing the infinite amounts of sensory data we collected since our last deep sleep. We imagine many things when we sleep – that’s our mind sorting out all the information into bits and pieces.

Very often we influence our dreams, by adding in our own wants, needs and desires. Maybe you wanted to say something to that mysterious person you ran into on your way to the office, but didn’t have the courage – but in your dreams, you are the boss – anything goes.

As your mind goes about its sorting and organizing of information, you dream a nice dream, where you tell that mysterious person what you wanted, and then the adventure begins. It is sort of like a play within a play – your mind is dreaming what you want, while cataloging al

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l the other information collected since your last deep sleep (to be scientifically accurate, since your last Rapid Eye Movement (REM) deep sleep cycle).

We all dream – even if we don’t remember our dreams. Unless you don’t sleep – ever – then chances are you dream. The average human being can only go for seven-days without REM sleep, before suffering nasty side effects – such as sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and eventually death.

I take it because you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably had an REM deep sleep cycle within the past seven days. Which means you’ve dreamed. Which means you’ve now experienced two of the three key characteristics of creativity:

  • Curiosity
  • Imagination
Only one more key characteristic and you too will be oozing creativity.

Okay, the third key characteristic of creativity is the hardest one to acquire. You might as well stop reading this blog and give up now – there’s no way YOU could possibly have it – is there?

You might as well just point and click your mouse to the next web site you were going to check out before stopping here.

Still here?


You just proved you have the third key trait of creativity.

Determination – the will to complete something to its conclusion. The desire to see things through. The need to read to the end of the book, or in this case, blog.

You’re almost done! And you have all three key characteristics of being creative:

  1. Curiosity – the driving force which compels us to seek things out.
  2. Imagination – the ability to visualize alternative realities, paths, roads, outcomes.
  3. Determination – the desire to see things through until the end.

YOU are a creative person!

Now go out there and put your creative juices to the test – do something – well – creative!

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