The dictionary definition of the word “create” is to bring something into being. Creativity is bringing into being something that did not exist before and experiencing something in a new way.
We are all born with an innate creative potential which, if exercised leads us to experience life in a unique and enriching manner. To live creatively is to live a life characterized by experimentation, curiosity, taking risks and daring sufficiently to see these risky choices even in the face of uncertain outcomes.
Nurture your Curiosity
We hold back from asking questions as we do not like to come across as incompetent, ignorant or even a little silly. “What will people think if I ask?” and “are my questions good enough?” could be some limiting beliefs that stifle curiosity.
If you allow these limiting beliefs to hem in your own innate curiosity, the only person to lose out on discovery is you. Allow yourself to nurture your curiosity without fear of the impression you make.
The more people you speak with, the more research you do, the more questions you ask, the more your brain gets inspired and starts making a connection between pieces of information to create something novel.
Give Yourself The Permission To Explore
We live in a time where achievement is valued so much that we end up honing our skills in one area instead of exploring different experiences and skill sets. The excuses we use to hold ourselves back are, “I am so busy I don’t have the time to explore something new from scratch” or “I will not be any good at it as others have been doing it for so much longer.”
To spark creativity, give yourself the permission to explore different domains of knowledge and skill without judging yourself. Being creative does not necessarily mean being the best at something; it can mean making connections to present something from a new perspective. In order to explore, it is important to be able to approach life from the perspective of a learner rather than an achiever.
You know that frustrating feeling when you don’t get something on the first try? We are so conditioned to be correct that often we stifle the creative mind by looking for the right answer, instead of just exploring. It feels good to be rewarded and so we are always tempted to abandon the unrewarded path. One keeps hearing that you learn more from your failures than your successes but you have to give yourself the permission to fail. Did you know that the popular children’s author, Dr. Suess who has sold over 600 million copies of his books worldwide was rejected by 27 publishers before getting published?
Belief in yourself. Remember that persistence to not give up in the face of rejection is integral to living creatively. Taking small risks in everyday life helps you to develop a greater tolerance for feeling vulnerable and persevering in the face of failure. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if you fail. It is often not as bad as we imagine.
Allow Yourself To Play
We are so conditioned to think of work as being something that’s “hard” and “play” as being something that’s recreational and totally separate. For a person who lives creatively, work can also be a form of play.
According to Winnicott, play allows a person to access to the more authentic and creative parts of themselves. When one adopts the attitude of play, one opens oneself up to more possibilities and perspectives without being bound so rigidly to the constraints of success and failure which can create so much fear in us to try something new.
In order to live more creatively, you need to take risks, get comfortable with not having answers right away and take yourself a little less seriously so that you can enjoy the journey instead of focusing solely on the destination.
About Ashika Mehta
Ashika Mehta practices psychotherapy in Mumbai. She has completed her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University along with a BA in Psychology from Vassar College. Ashika also facilitates training programs for corporates and has conducted training for YPO and ASCENT.
Ashika has done intensive post-trauma work with those affected by the 26/11 terror attacks at the Breach Candy Hospital and facilitates therapy groups for those with chronic illness.
Ashika is passionate about working towards the prevention of the sex trafficking of at-risk women and children. As a Board Member of Apne Aap Women’s Collective, Ashika helps rehabilitate women in prostitution and creates educational and job opportunities for the children of sex workers.