“I know not what I appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore” – Sir Isaac Newton
This is part-2 of the 2 part series on how to be creative like a child. Read part-1 here.
Here is a summary of Part 1:
1. Everyone Is An Artist Inside. Embrace your inner artist.
2. There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Or An Unintelligent Question. Ask many questions!
3. Make Work Creative And Make it Feel Like Play.
4. Have An Infectious Enthusiasm And Engagement For your Creative Projects.
5. Engage in Possibility Thinking.
6. Be Non-judgmental With Yourself And Others While Being Creative.
7. Have An Observant Focus: Being In the Present Moment.
8. Do New Things And Look At Things From Different Perspectives And Angles: Connecting And Combining.
9. Practice The Amazing Beginners Mind.
10. Engage in Role Playing and Assuming Personas Easily to supercharge your creativity.
Let us go ahead with part-2!
11. Not Taking The Self Too Seriously And Allowing For Some lightness, Hope and Optimism
“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”― Dr. Seuss
Children do not take themselves too seriously and are able to radiate out joy, hope and lightness.
They skip, waltz, run, move, laugh and do things that are very silly and fun. With a smile they can light up the world and with their silly and fun approaches they can infect their surroundings with joy.
As you grow up, you may have been conditioned into being serious and excessively practical. We need to take the cue from children and lighten up and allow more humor and silliness into our lives.
When you can laugh at your life, your mistakes and setbacks, life does not become such a difficult place to navigate anymore. When you allow for mistakes and experimentation, Creativity does not remain an abstruse idea and transforms into an exciting discovery.
Allow more smiles and good-natured humor in your life.
Develop the ability to laugh at your troubles and lighten up your daily stress level.
See things differently and allow for more hope and optimism in your life.
Transform your view of creativity into that of an exciting discovery and adventure.
12. Unconcerned About Failing And Being Fearlessly Creative
“They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in Kindergarten, why fear them now?” ― Hugh MacLeod, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
Have you seen a child to be excessively concerned about failing and giving up before taking up some crayons and creating their masterpiece? I did not think so.
It is only later on in school or at home when children are criticized and made to feel guilty for their natural creativity that they begin shutting down to their immense creative powers.
By the time you grow up, you have already learned that failure is a bad thing. Many people move from task to task avoiding setbacks and doing anything radically differently.
As you can imagine, we are effectively shutting ourselves from immense creative magic by not allowing the power of failure in our lives.
Do not be afraid to be highly creative and get your hands full of crayons and paints or anything creative. Engagement is key to breaking through excuses and the idea that you are not highly creative.
Implement creative ideas without too much worry about failure and outcome.
Embrace your inner child and jump fearlessly into a creative venture.
Failure and setbacks are valuable teachers. Instead of avoiding them, welcome them into your life.
13. Workspaces Matter: Your Creative Tools
Look at a preschool and then look at an average workplace with cubicles and the non-creative colors and uniformity.
Why is it that in pre-school it is all right to have colorful carts and trays full of highly creative things but not later on in schools and in work places?
Children love to have their tools like boxes, play silks, pillows and other things that they can freely use for highly creative play.
Children are the greatest quick product prototype builders by using what materials they have at hand. And they deeply and intuitively understand the importance of workspaces to creativity.
You do not have to go very far to find evidence for creative workspaces as indicators of imagination and productivity.
Look at the offices of Pixar, 3M, Ideo, Disney and Google where highly creative work places are specially designed to spark imagination and improve cross collaboration of ideas.
At Ideo, one of the most innovative companies that is credited to bringing many innovations including the computer mouse, creativity is highly encouraged. They have carts full of items like tape and other materials that they can make a quick prototype out of and show to others.
Have a cart of manipulatives ready like duct tape, paper, cardboard and other things that you can make a quick prototype out of.
Set up your creative space if possible to your liking and allow it to inspire you.
Change the environment of the workspace to get very different results in your creative endeavors.
14. Being Spontaneously Creative
”The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” – Aldous Huxley
Children have the ability to jump into their creative projects and be spontaneously creative. Children cannot help themselves when they see anything creative like crayons, boxes or the like and jump in to test their hand.
Children do not need a special invitation or do not have to get beyond their blocks or have to set up special incentives or motivations to express their creativity.
They are naturally creative and highly expressive. They also do not need permission to be highly creative and do not apologize for their new ideas.
Children love free play that by definition can be highly creative and have many different creative outcomes by having open-ended creative solutions. Children love creative play where spontaneity and improvisation are required.
Children love to have open-ended items like simple boxes or kitchen scoops and ladles and play endlessly with them instead of the toys that they have been bought.
They spontaneously build forts, castles, kitchens and other highly creative ideas with the materials that they have at hand.
Adults on the other hand have forgotten this spontaneous nature and expression of their innate creativity and approach it with blocks and hesitation.
Allow for some spontaneity in your creative projects.
Practice freeplay or open-ended solutions since they can be dynamic and flexible and allow for the best solution instead of “one best solution.”
You do not need permission to be creative. Embrace your inner creative genius and allow it to be expressed.
15. Breaking creative assumptions and rules
“It Takes a Lifetime to Paint Like a Child”-Pablo Picasso
Children can effortlessly break and get past creative limitations and assumptions. Adults instruct children things like “paint between the lines” but children can routinely follow those rules or even easily break them.
Creativity involves both allowing for restrictions and the ability to break those rules and assumptions without hesitation. When adults assume that things need to be a certain way, they have already ruled out several creative solutions.
Bring new ideas in your creative projects.
Try out new things on a habitual basis.
Follow restrictions but also give yourself the creative freedom to break those rules.
DO not get excessively attached to one way of doing things and call out assumptions by become aware of them.
16. Incredible Persistence
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews
Children can be immensely persistent with their creative projects and can pick up where they left off in a seamless manner.
If there is one major thing that we can learn from our inner child and from when we were children, it is persistence in the face of failure, fear and other limitations.
Children can be blissfully unawares of any limitations that others or the surroundings might be imposing on then and just go with what they have at hand.
If children were not immensely persistent, they would never learn anything including walking.
As adults, our experiences and our past gives us the framework to be successful but they also have the potential to lock us down in a pattern and impose fears and other limitations on our creative work.
I think we need to continually use our experience as a springboard to launch into new territories of creativity aka the discomfort zone.
Persist in your creative projects like a child and do not take no for an answer when completing your creative projects.
Set aside limitations and fears when you are creative. You are creating in spite of your limitations and it is best to become friends with them.
17. Trusting The Creative Process, Taking Small Steps Being All Right with Uncertainty
Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work. —Rita Mae Brown
Children trust the creative process to work out as it should and do not impose unrealistic expectations on it to happen. In fact, being open to a vast array of outcomes makes children highly creative.
Children do not worry excessively about uncertainty and seem vastly unconcerned that they are exploring into realms that they have not yet ventured into. In fact, novelty and creative adventure is not an exception for children and they embark on their creative quests frequently.
Children do not have unrealistic timelines and do not expect creative things to happen instantly. They take little steps forward and keep at it till they get done.
Trust the process to work out by reassuring yourself that everything is working out as it should.
Your task is to move ahead taking small steps at a time and not be concerned with outcomes.
Become friends with creative uncertainty. It is your great friend in the creative process.
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”― Erich Fromm
18. Let The Imagination Fly
“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke
Children do not have a problem letting go of their creativity and do a considerable amount of imaginative play and thought.
Their imagination involves a certain amount of magical thinking where they allow their creativity to go unhindered in new ways and in new directions.
Adults limit their imagination and believe that imagination and dreaming are to be used sparingly.
You do not have to look far to find evidence of imagination and daydreaming in highly creative people including Einstein and many others who have abundantly used their powers of imagination to create.
Allow your imagination to fly uninhibited.
Set up some time to sit down in a creative space in your room or studio to daydream and come up with creative solutions.
19. The Key Is In Numbers: Have A Lot Of Ideas Including Bad Ones
Children really believe in creating a diverse amount of creative work as an expression of their creativity. They do not make one creative item and then create more based on what everyone thinks about it.
The key in understanding how to embrace your inner creative child is to understand that children are prolific when it comes to their creativity. As adults, we get hesitant if our creative work does not become well recognized and stop creating.
But the most successful creative people have repeatedly created before and after they became highly successful.
Pablo Picasso produced more than 22,000 pieces of work including paintings, sculpture work, and graphic design and not all of them are famous.
Charles Schulz produced a new Peanuts strip every single day for half a century.
Twyla Tharp has choreographed more than one hundred sixty works in her creative career including dances, television specials, Hollywood movies, full-length ballets, Broadway shows and two figure skating routines.
Produce a diverse variety of creative work. DO not get confined to one medium.
Become a prolific creator.
Get feedback on what works and what does not and improve your skills and strengths.
20. Unconcerned About What Others Think Of Them
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.”― William W. Purkey
Children are mostly unconcerned about what others think about them. They are unapologetically vocal and unafraid about their creative ventures.
Adults get very self-conscious about their creativity because they have learned to be hesitant.
Children put their creativity out there and are all right being vulnerable and authentic. As we grow up, we begin believing that expressing authentic creativity is a setup for getting rejected.
Creative expression is replaced with hesitation, worry and avoidance.
Dance and sing and create like no body is watching.
Allow yourself to be creatively vulnerable.
Sing your own authentic song and do not hesitate to tell your creative story.
Now over to you! Please let me know in the comments below if this post resonated with you.
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