Creativity is crucial for more than just kids, mama. Careers guru Michaela Anchan explains how to nurture your own creative spark — and why it’s essential to career (and life) satisfaction.
This New York Times article by Adam Grant discussing creativity for kids has been making waves lately. It’s a wonderful piece, encouraging parents to let children follow their passions and interests. It led me to think of those parents – of us mamas – and how we encourage our own creativity. Do we allow room for ourselves to follow our own passions and interests?
Creativity has been called THE most essential quality for our modern age. For entrepreneurs, creativity is essential for business success. For corporates, when many jobs are being outsourced or computerized, the essential element that we bring to our position can be the spark that we hold inside – the curious, questioning spark.
British educator and author Ken Robinson, in an interview with Amy Azzam, has some wonderful points about the value of critical thinking in conjunction with creativity, and how the both of them go hand in hand to create a creative process:
“A creative process may begin with a flash of a new idea or with a hunch… It’s a process, not a single event, and genuine creative processes involve critical thinking as well as imaginative insights and fresh ideas.
“Creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas; some ideas might be completely crazy and impractical. So an essential bit of every creative process is evaluation. If you’re working on a mathematical problem, you’re constantly evaluating it, thinking, “Does that feel right?” If you’re composing a piece on the piano, part of you is listening to what you’re doing and thinking, “Does that work? Is that going in a good direction?”
So how to nurture your creativity, mama? And how do evaluate and process the results?
Give yourself space to play
Like children, we need time and space to play. In our busy schedules, jumping from job to meeting to school pick up, all the while staying connected to Facebook and our inbox– we don’t allow our brain any space for that spark to burn brighter.
Think about scheduling in one hour – just an hour – per week. Put it in your calendar as Play Time. Turn off the phone and let your mind wander in however way you want. Use paper and pen, a camera, a swim, a nail and hammer, paint and a canvas – however you like to play. No rules, no conditions. Try a medium you’ve never tried before. Paint a self portrait. Go for a walk on the beach.
Follow a passion
Like the recommendations for children – we also need to follow our passions. Be it a night class in Thai cooking, a weekend cycling trip, or an online degree in something wildly different to your day job: passions have their place and their right to your attention. Don’t ignore them. Recognize them, let them know they may not be all served at once but will be acknowledged and explored sometime soon. Then take action steps to pursue them – a step is a step no matter how small and how little time you have available.
People enjoy talking about themselves – ask them questions. Dig deeper. Go to an art exhibition and find out about the artists motivations. Think about why they made the decisions they did. Think about design – the objects on your desk, in your household – why were they designed that way? Read fiction and think of the story from the writers point of view – why did that character get killed off? Why does the cover look like that?
When we get behind the surface of things and dig deeper into the creative processes of others, we help our own brain to make connections between ideas and thoughts.
Do Something Different
It can be as simple as taking public transport instead of driving. Having lunch somewhere new. Breaking up routines can expose us to new ideas and new encounters. It’s an easy way to mix things up. Take your laptop and work from a new desk. Say Yes to something you would normally say No to. Say Yes all day! Or, alternatively, if you are a Yes kind of person already – start saying No!
Creativity is a vital and wonderful part of our make up as human beings. We are blessed with this amazing brain, which can formulate, experiment, create, design, play and question. Let’s take time to consciously nurture and love this side – as we would encourage our children to do. Even better –perhaps it’s something that can be nurtured together?