Creativity is the word we use for our desire to make use of our inner resources, employ our imagination, knit together our thoughts and feelings into beautiful things such as songs, quilts, or novels, and feel like the hero of our own story. It is the way we make manifest our potential, make use of our intelligence, and embrace what we love. – Eric Maisel
Wether we like to be told or not we have two very different mindsets we do war with daily, growth and fixed. If we want any kind of progress at all with our creative potential, a growth mindset is what I have come to understand through experience as the best one to embrace. This type of mindset encourages experimentation and outreach. It strengthens your resilience to any kind of blocks or setbacks.
We don’t embrace our creativity for a lot of reasons. A main reason is our mistake in believing only artists, composers, the newest musical protege to break into Beats 1 stardom, and others of that pedigree are the only kind of creative people in the world. We are wrong to believe that. A creative is anyone that creates something that impacts someone’s life. We are all creative. However, our fixed way of seeing things prevents us from ever trying to make that creative leap.
With that fixed mindset we fall prey to believing we are what we have. And, we cannot do anything to improve our skills we have, they just are. This closed off approach is really our worst enemy. It lives in all of us just like creativity. Someone with a fixed mindset tries to hide their lack of skills, mistakes, and deficiencies instead of working on trying to discover why they even exist.
There are many ways you can overcome this locked in feeling of a fixed mindset. The easiest and most successful one I have played with is a simple reflection exercise. With some deep specific questions of your work, you can walk through a self-examination and begin to move into a growth focused mindset. Some great specific questions to ask:
What do you love to do so much, that you might actually pay for it?
When you completely are so into something you lose all sense of time, what is it you were doing?
Who are your creative heroes? Why?
When are the best times of the day you find your creative spirit the most active?
There’s a few exercises you can do that can continue to help you hone your creative side even more. One of the best ways can come from your answer to when you feel the most creative and what time of day does it happen. Reserve that space for yourself and time block it on your calendar. Really give that time a special place in your daily routines and never let it be overrun with anything else less important.
When I am free writing in a journal I set a timer a friend gave me for 15 minutes. I just pour everything out in my head that I can find into that journal. After 15 minutes I allow myself a break and then go through reviewing what I put done. I am amazed at what I get down in that journal in just 15 minutes of mind dumping. Anything that sparks me to continue work on, I set the timer another 15 minutes and go deeper. Again, stopping when the timer is done to take another look. So on, and so on. Many of my Shorts posts have come from those sessions.
The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying. – Steven Pressfield
Lastly, I have a notebook or my phone close by to capture others creativity that I see or my own spontaneity when it strikes. You never know when that time will cross your path. Having a growth focused mindset allows me to be open to it more than a fixed. I am always on the look out and open to fresh ideas from others. I find them coming to me when I am just chilling or dazing off into space more than any other time. When I am not in problem solving mode and my mind really is just free to roam about the cabin, inspiration has the best opportunity to strike.
Don’t abandon your creativity the moment things stop being easy or rewarding – because that’s the moment when interesting begins. – Elizabeth Gilbert
Finding the best time for your creative spirit to take hold, reflection time free of distractions for your mind to just wander, and really building a routine to get yourself into the flow as frequently as you can is the art as well as science to being your best creative selves. Carl Dweck was onto something with his idea of a growth mindset and a fixed one. Commit to showing up everyday and be ready to learn, your creative self is waiting for you to embrace it.
Enjoy the long weekend. I cannot promise I will get a couple more posts up before Monday. I may be just enjoying some creative time and space during these last days of summer. But, then again, that is when you see me post the most.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the holiday if you can.