Cultivate Ordinary Creativity

Years ago, my wonderful sculpture teacher confided, “I used to think that people were either creative, or not. Now, I believe that everyone can be more creative.”  IMG_0938If you don’t think of yourself as creative (of creative enough), I hope her comment encourages you.

In another conversation, after she had been rather brutally honest about a piece I was working on, saying, “Linda, this is boring, but I can tell you how to improve it,” we got into a discussion about critiques and how to teach people (I was still teaching grad students at Northwestern at that time). She laughed at her remark to me and said, “I wouldn’t have said it that way to everybody. I don’t teach sculpture, I teach people.”

I’ve thought about that remark a great deal in the years since. It was, and remains, wise.  Learning is very personal, growth is idiosyncratic, and Im sure that my take-away from those classes was radically different from the experiences of others.

When we want to grow or change, it is smartest to do it in ways that feel right to us. We have a better chance of success. With that in mind, here are some ways to increase your creativity. Pick the ideas that make sense to you.

Add something new to your ordinary way of doing things, such as: new hair or make-up, take a different path when walking or driving, eat in a new place, watch an entirely different type of movie, or change your rooms around.

Behaviors only work if your attitude is complementary. Here are attitudes to cultivate if you want to increase your creativity:  Open-mindedness, curiosity, adaptability, and playfulness. Mix solitude with sociability, don’t dismiss ideas too quickly, get in touch with little used aspects of your personality, and allow yourself to consider new solutions to your everyday problems.

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