Reclaim Your Creativity

Costa Michailidis -
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Why Is Creativity Important Now?

As robots and agorithms take over the reptitive tasks of the work world, we humans are left with the more creative tasks, the change and innovation.

This is the realm of creativity, but many of us left our own creativity behind.

A friend and colleague phrased it best:

It's a strange thing, isn't it, that people don't want to declare their creativity... always kind of coy about the idea of calling ourselves creative?

- Tim Morley

But, why is it that most people don't think of themselves as creative?

Stop It! Your Singing Hurts My Ears!

Has anyone ever told you that you sing badly, or that you draw poorly? Perhaps when you were young someone looked at you with their eyes wide and their eyebrows out when you tried to dance, and then smirked, giggled, covered their mouth, and looked away when you noticed their strange stare?

It doesn't feel good, does it?

It happens to all of us in some form or another. Our creative inclinations are stomped on, and having been stomped on they shrink and hide. Our creativity stays where it was born, in our childhood.

Why is it that we remember these harsh moments so vividly, and forget their positive counterparts?

Grandmotherly Love

My grandmother was a hero in my family.

She loved as if she had an infinite supply of love. She welcomed visitors into her home and fed them as if they traveled for six hours on a donkey through a snowstorm before arriving at her door. (I mean, she lived through two wars and a famine, so I get it.) She listened like the only thing left to do in her life was to hear the stories of her grandchildren.

For me, she was a source of encouragement for my creativity; In my case, storytelling, and building things (couch forts, Lego creations).

Today, I'm going to invite you to actually do something to reclaim your creativity.

Many of us had the good fortune of getting to know loving grandparents. All of us have had people in our lives who have saved our creativity from the harshness of reality, and the criticism of friends and foes.

Here is a simple activity to thank someone who encouraged your creative inclinations, and in doing so to reclaim your creativity.

Activity: Use Gratitude to Reclaim Your Creativity

  1. Think of a formative moment in your past when someone encouraged your creative inclinations. We all have them, even if the encouragement was rough-faced.
  2. Think about what happened. Who encouraged you? What were you trying to create? Where were you? How did you feel then? How do you feel about it now?
  3. If you are grateful for this person's encouragement, write them a message of thanks, and be very specific in your gratitude. What did they do that helped you? What did it mean to you? How do you feel about it now? What do you want them to know?
  4. If the person is still alive, go to them and read this message to them in person. (Bring tissues.) If the person is no longer alive, deliver this message to a place that you remember them for, and read it out loud. Then, hang it on the wall, or tuck it under a mattress. Let if fly away in the wind, if it biodegrades.
  5. After you deliver your gratitude for creative encouragement, make a promise to yourself, that you will encourage the creativity of others, at work, at home, and anywhere else you have the opportunity to do so.

Cultural Change

Organizations and consultants work very hard to create cultural change, but in some instances it's actually quite simple to do. It's just about identifying when a value became real for you, and acknowledging it. In doing so, you embrace that value and your behavior shifts. By living that value, you encourage the same value in others, making it real for them, establishing a feedback loop, and perpetuating the change.

Embracing Creativity

In my case, the value I've acknowledged, lived, and encouraged is creativity.

Last year, I helped sponsor a young girl to attend a performing arts summer camp that lives by the same principles of creativity as we do here at Innovation Bound.

I noticed the power of this pairing of encouragement and gratitude when I received a letter of thanks from that camper.

Letter from a Summer Stars Camper

(The camp is called Summer Stars, by the way, and they are incredible!)

My encouragement and her expression of gratitude magnified both of our commitments to embracing and living creativity.

Sometimes the smallest of actions make the biggest difference.