I had saved this excerpt from Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification by Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman, Chapter 4 Creativity pg 109-110 intending to share. Then this week I came across a blog written by Jeff Goins full of boundless inspiration for my already churning mind. I began to puzzle together this excerpt with last weekends pursuing your passions. And as I began reading his blog entry called You must Engage Your Creative Side, my half written piece on living up to your creative potential came to the forefront. It began with a list of questions:
- Do you live up to your full creative potential?
- Do you realize how extraordinary you are?
- Are you living your passions?
- If not what is stopping you?
Jeff had engaged in an evening of creative exploration by drawing eyes closed on a sheet of paper. I began to ponder. How do you unlock creative potential? Some ideas sprang to mind. Try drawing from an image turned upside down, Pick a word randomly and begin writing a short story, Find a photo and create your own caption, Pick three incongruous items from your kitchen and cook something. Or chose from one of the suggestions in 33 ways to stay creative or Why not be Creative by Shannon Ables.
We live in a world of stereotypes “intellectual, artistic, athletic. As you may have gathered from my article on Nicknames these stereotypes pigeonhole us into categories. We even categorize artists (painters, singers, dancers, chefs, architects etc.) You don’t have to be published or recorded. Even if your work is never seen this by no means excludes you as creative. Every single one of us has a creative spark. We’re all creative. It is one of the things that connects us.
As Jeff put it,
“We don’t create for others.
We don’t create to impress or be the best.
We create, because we can.”
“I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free”….Michelangelo
For me creating is divine, the spark that comes from deep within when we drop our defenses. I believe this is part of my own spiritual expression, the sacred. In this space I feel my own connection to all things. I delight with the ideas and pictures seeking expression and feel the flow and presence of my whole mind, the reality of the “I am”. Whatever you call it, divine inspiration, the human spirit, a muse, the intangible, God, whatever your source, unleash it.
Don’t let your limited belief systems hold you back. Those mental habits that keep playing in a perpetual loop in your mind, that fixed companion, the nagging thoughts that your dreams are unobtainable. You know…I’m not good enough, funny enough, and smart enough. I say enough! Break up these very belief systems before they become self-fulfilling. Don’t become less than what you truly are. Seek the truth, shine your light, and start fresh unencumbered.
If you don’t know what your gift is then just try something, anything, until you find the thing that whispers to you long after you’ve put it down. What is it you see that no one else does? Your voice is uniquely your own so share it. Get to know yourself. What are you willing to give your heart and soul for? Create conversation, ask questions, and stand on your tip toes, spend an entire day fasting from self-concern. Engage, experiment, and give art the space it needs to grow, to breathe. Then keep doing it so it can flourish.
Any passion must be practiced. So you must love it or you’re bound to quit. Jeff Goins says of writing that you must “learn how to enjoy writing for what it is — an arduous and sometimes tedious process of dying to yourself and being reborn. It is painful and glorious all at the same time and not to be taken lightly in the least.”
Don’t create for others, create for yourself. Whether anyone ever sees it or not is irrelevant. If you deny this spark you are denying a part of who you are. And with each new creation you will discover a part of yourself. Perhaps something you never knew you were capable of. Delve into your Passionate Curiosity and be Fearless, bold. Hold nothing back.
We are all Creative. Our greatest masterpiece is our life. So what are you waiting for? Create.
Weekend Reading List:
- Creativity and the Design Process ~ CSULA
- How to Be Creative ~ Jonah Lehrer Wall Street Journal
- 10 Habits you must Quit to be Happy ~ Marc and Angel
- Releasing David from the Stone ~ Life 2.0