As a child we think up imaginary friends, play in worlds unknown to others, and create without thought to surrounding outsiders.
When I was 11 years old my mom bought me a small red leather notebook with gold dipped edges. I filled the pages with a story as my pen wrote effortlessly with scene after scene appearing in my head. Creating came easy. Fast-forward nine years and I sat in a creative writing class with a professor who assigned us the task of writing in a journal for 30 minutes a day. You would think that the young imaginative girl with the red leather notebook would have flourished with such an assignment. Yet instead I stared at the empty pages paralyzed. What changed?
When we grow up and enter our teenage years, our self-understanding and awareness of others intensifies. Unfortunately this impacts us mostly in a negative way with becoming overly concerned with what others think. Our naivety is lost. We no longer freely create. So as I peered down at those blank pages my mind raced with questions like what are you going to write? What if someone reads this? What if it’s not good? What if it isn’t unique? These are questions that as a young child would rarely or simply never come to mind.
The lack of creativity for many continues further and is enabled through the left-brain driven jobs we usually acquire. Such jobs center on routines, processes, and systematic ways of completing tasks. Seldom are people told to be creative in these positions, and when they are, they’re lost as where to begin. The issue may present itself when your boss promotes the person in a cubicle next to you with a bright new idea that seemed so simple you’re mad you didn’t think of it yourself. It’s becoming a more necessary skill to have, as left-brain jobs are being outsourced or becoming obsolete with technological advances. Creativity cannot only be the separating factor between you and the person next to you, but a way to make yourself indispensable.
So how can you gain back what’s been lost?
Here are five easy ways to engage in a right brain creative thinking.
- Take technology breaks. Even if just for an hour a day, turn your phone off and set it aside in another room. Allow yourself to truly disconnect. You’ll be surprised to see how helpful this can be for you not only to relax, but to engage in creative thought.
- Visit cultural events. Whether it’s an art museum or local play, try to take advantage of events happening around you. Our minds are like sponges, the more creativity we take in the more we can give out.
- Doodle. This doesn’t mean formal artwork; it can be as simple as side pictures on the side margins of a notebook. Doodling can help improve note taking by connecting abstract thoughts while also sparking new ideas.
- Journal daily. At first this can seem like a difficult task, but after time will become a natural habit. Begin with just 15 minutes of writing a day. Don’t limit or criticize yourself as you write. Write about anything! You may surprise yourself with what you write when you let down your mental guard.
- Ask questions. When we’re children we all go through the phase of repeatedly asking “why”. Even after receiving an answer we would ask it again. At one point in life, many of us stop asking questions in fear that asking them will make us look dumb. But it’s important to be curious, asking questions opens up a realm of possibilities to explore.
I hope that by implementing the above suggestions you will feel better equipped to take advantage of the creative opportunities that come your way. The journey of your creative self may at times be met with a few roadblocks. However with a little time and effort you can move forward and gain back what’s been lost.
Author: Karli Azar
Author Bio: Karli is majoring in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Marketing at Butler University. She dances and teaches at a local dance studio in Indiana. In her free time she enjoys painting, writing, and traveling.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/eclectic_craze/