be more creative

How to be more creative (even if it’s not your thing.)

They say that everyone has the ability to create, that we are all creative beings. 

I didn’t always believe this to be true because I always thought of creatitiy as being artisitc , emphasis on “art.” Definitely not my thing.

In fact, I’m one of the few people I know who stresses out at Painting With a Twist. And crafting projects, those “easy” ones designed to re-purpose every day household items into some beautiful, functional object, tend to put me in a bad mood. 

When it comes to being innovative and creative, I always thought:

  • It’s not my thing. 
  • I don’t know what I’m doing. 
  • It’s never going to look right. 

Words have power.

I didn’t think about how that negative mindset further inhibited my already tentative creativity. 

My creativity was listening to that negative self-talk!

To get past the negative self-talk enough to be able to own my creative capabilites, I had to let go of 2 things:

Expectations, for the outcome, the experience, and the response to it

Self-judgement, which doesn’t allow for compassion, understanding, and kindness

Letting go of expectations and self-judgement have allowed me to explore my creativity and stop comparing myself an my abilities to others.

It was hard at first.

When I started to crochet, my practice swatches never looked like the swatches the YouTube crocheters made. But I kept at it.

Now, after a year of lots of trial and error, I’ve learned that I can start with the intention of making one thing and end up making something totally different, like when I started making a vest and it turned into a bag.

Crocheted bag that started off as a vest.
A bag I crocheted that started off as a top. When that plan didn’t work out I made it a bag.

I’m not sure if we’re born with different levels of creativity or if we all have enormous potential for it, but I now believe creativity and the ability to create has less to do with talent and more to do with mindset.

Here are some things to think about to help you get past the self judgement and start flexing your creative muscles. 

It’s for you. 

Creativity is as individual as you are. What would you want to create? Do you feel drawn toward writing, painting, woodworking, interior design, gardening, photography, paper making, pottery, soap making, cooking, music…? Dabble in it. Try it out.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do and think, I could never do that, then ask yourself, Why not? What you create is for you and doesn’t need to be shared with anyone unless you decide to share it.

Do it for the sake of the experience. 

Failure is part of the process. 

Your first attempt may not come out as you expected or as you envisioned. That’s okay! Don’t let that stop you from continuing if you enjoy doing it. You’ll get better if you stick with it. 

For more on this idea, read Embrace the Beginner’s Mindset

Start small. 

Especially if you’re dabbling into something you think you might like but don’t know for sure, start small. It can be very discouraging to pour money and effort into a project you’re not ready for. 

Baby steps. Start with the basics and then build on those to the next level. 

Do it your way.

There are helpful kits, patterns, and about a gazillion instructional videos about “How To” do almost anything. Use them to help you get started. Or you can hire a coach, take a class, read a book, phone a friend. Whichever way helps you get started and/or to the next level. 

We are all creative beings, even if we don’t really think creativity is our thing.

Letting go of expectations and self-judgement allows each of us to engage in the creative process more fully. Being more creative could mean taking an innovative approach to a problem or actually creating something.

Sometimes the first step is letting go of the limiting beliefs that tell us we are not the creative type.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject! What helps you get past expectations and be more creative?

photo by ruby montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Reminder: You can’t control anyone but yourself.

We all know this if we really think about it, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves…you can’t control anyone but yourself.

What other people do/say/think is out of your control. 

So why do I let people bother me?

I know it’s not helpful or productive and wish I could let stuff roll off my back and not be bothered by what people say/do/think, but it’s hard. 

As the comedian Sebastian Maniscalco – says, “I like to be bothered.”

Allowing myself to be bothered by what other people do forces me to take my eye off the ball. 

It changes my concentration and energy. 

I try to not be bothered. Really try. 

The other day I was sitting in a Jason’s Deli for breakfast and, as you may know, Jason’s Deli’s main serving time is lunch. The place was hopping with dozens of workers in red shirts prepping catered lunches for delivery and prepping the salad bar, dining room, and sandwich station for customers. 

I had my journal and some reading material to keep me busy. There was a hum to the place as everyone did what he or she was supposed to be doing, each to his or her own task.

Except one guy who sat across from me on the other side of the dining room. He wore a Jason’s Deli shirt, looked to be about 40 maybe, and sat sideways at a table by himself watching videos on his phone. Loudly.

As I mentioned, the place hummed in preparation for the lunch rush. Everyone had something to do. Except this guy. 

I wondered what he was doing and why he was the only employee who didn’t seem to have anything to do. Was he not on the clock? Was he waiting for a ride? What? And why did he have to play his video at top volume? Headphones, dude! 

I looked around for the manager, not so I could report the guy, but out of curiosity. Had he seen this guy sitting around doing nothing but watch videos while everyone else was busting his or her butt?

But if the manager had seen the guy, he clearly wasn’t as bothered as I was.

This video-watching-on-high-volume-without-headphones guy totally changed my vibe. He irritated the heck out of me. 

But wait! That’s not what happened at all. 

What really happened is… I let him get to me. 

His actions were out of my control. Reporting him to a manager could have influenced the situation, but would that have been worth it to me?

The reality of the situation was:

  • I don’t know why he was loafing around in the dining room. 
  • Yes, the video blaring on his phone was obnoxious, but big deal.
  • He wasn’t hurting anyone. Just annoying the hell out of me.
  • I could have wrangled my own thoughts better. 

Controlling myself vs. controlling others. 

I couldn’t control him. Not even my stink-eye glances got his attention. I let him get under my skin and throw me off balance.

And I didn’t even know the guy, although that doesn’t matter either. 

It can be infuriating when someone you know and love behaves/thinks/says things you wish you could change. 

But you can’t do that either. 

Influence? Maybe. The best you can hope to do is influence that person. 

I imagine I have a similar effect on people at times.

Life will be sweeter if I remember this

I can’t control people, what they do or what they say, I can’t control what happens, I can’t control the weather. 

All I can hope to control is my reaction to those things. And I must do my best to react in a manner in line with who I am and who I strive to be every day, to be compassionate, loving, and patient. 

So pretty much the opposite of how I reacted to that poor guy who apparently was losing his hearing and had to play his phone so loud they could hear it in the parking lot. 

: )  

For more on this topic, read Be the gatekeeper of your joy