This appeared in one of my podcasts and I took the time to talk about living a creative life. So, I thought I would share it with you here!
If you’re not into listening to podcasts, you can still read it. =)
I am quite invested in today’s topic because I believe personality affects the way we make decisions and the work we do. I also have two kids who are almost completely different or opposites of each other.
There are two things I touched on here. One is living a creative life, you as a person. And two, if you’re living with or raising someone creative.
There are different sets of challenges. So, I wanted to take a look at what it is like on both sides.
1 – Living as a Person with Creative Tendencies
If you asked me if some people were born more creative than others, my answer would be a “yes”. I think it’s got to do with your inclinations and personality. Just IMHO.
My own personal likes reflect that – singing, dancing, and…doing badly in math at school shows that. My lack of math skills is not just a preference, I just preferred and am more interested in creative stuff. I’ve noticed that it affects the way I think and work.
At work, my personality affects my performance and the way I perform. I write a lot for work and if you asked any writer if they can write and do something else at the same time, I think many will answer you with a firm ‘no’,
When I was raising my young boys, working with distractions was possible but I produced sub-par materials I wasn’t very proud of.
What I have discovered was that I have spurts and I have identified them. My mornings is when I have the best creative spurts. I also needed some form of isolation. It is still quite impossible for me to write well when I am disrupted because my flow is cut off.
The same worked when I was a performer. I had to spend some time ‘getting into the zone‘. In other words, it means relaxing myself and getting rid of the nervousness and prepping myself mentally for performance. It allows me to take control of what’s in front of me.
Others may not understand why we need to live in this little bubble sometimes. But after interacting with each other and helping each other understand, life became easier. I also felt ashamed or weird about myself. I have friends who are more practical about things and they struggled to understand my curiosity about many things. But I think it worked out and they’ve stopped asking me about things and accepted the fact that I am just exceptionally curious.
2 – How Creativity Works
I was reading an article with a very explicit and accurate description of how creativity works.
Unlike many other skills, creativity is rarely summoned. You can’t sit there at 9 am expecting creativity to show up on time. It rarely does. It also does not sign off at 5 pm.
It’s just something that’s there, at every unexpected hour of the day, even when you’re about to fall asleep, taking a shower, waiting at the bank…and then it sort of shows up and says ‘hi’.
And when it does, you rarely have the time to respond because it sort of sweeps you away and you’re in the zone.
So, creativity is like a friend who is kind of there all the time but does not respond unless it is stimulated. It is there while you’re doing the most boring stuff. It’s also incredibly stubborn even in the face of a deadline. In fact, for me, it’s worse when I am under pressure and am often hassled with the everyday stuff of life.
When I have to do something, I am constantly thinking about it. Even when I am driving or ordering something online, Then, out of the blue, it hits me like a truck.
I could have been sitting there the whole damn day trying to think of something and, yet, nothing happens. But when I am in an inconvenient place or time, it happens.
That’s what creativity is.
Of course, living in this day and age, we can’t be living life at the whim of a very unruly skill. This ‘creativity’ creature.
Creativity is not like anything else because you can’t lure it out of its hiding. You can’t summon it just because you need it.
In fact, you are already feeding it with everyday stuff like the movies you watch, the things you write or read, the ads you see, your neighbor’s noisy kids, or the ice cream store on the street end.
The worst thing is that even if you’re a very disciplined person with unquestionable work ethics, creativity is hard to grapple with.
I know this personally because that’s what I struggle with all the time.
What creativity does is that it takes notes of our experiences and stimulants around us. When we are too busy catching deadlines, it doesn’t come around. When your mind is freer and clearer, you can see that creativity friend emerge.
It explains why ideas come to you suddenly when you’re least expecting them. Maybe it is BECAUSE you’re not expecting it and there’s space in your mind for new inspiration. Creativity cannot be forced and cramped out.
Creativity is a Process, Not an Event
To describe it, let’s look at the creation of the telephone.
The earliest known experiments related to the telephone date back to the 1660s, which includes the very well-known tin-can-phones. Yes, the ones we make at home as kids for fun. There was nothing solid developed until the late 1800s.
The point is that it took decades to come up with the conventional telephone.
It was a journey that continues to develop today. I mean, we now have mobile phones and the internet in our back pockets. It’s something our ancestors can only dream about.
In the 1960s, a researcher conducted a study on more than 1,500 children in 5-year increments. He found that the level of creativity for the participants dropped steadily as they age. They think creativity was slowly trained out of their natural system as they grow into adulthood.
I find this intriguing and sad at the same time.
Of course, as with everything else in life, there are variables to take into consideration. In other studies, it was found that the level of IQ has risen for many people in our generation, and creative thinking skills have dropped.
While I might think that people are ‘born creative’, there are other arguments from people who believe that creative thinking can be learned, picked up, or practiced.
Some experts believe that once a person has become intelligent, creativity prospers. In short, it is a matter of whether we approach the world with a fixed or growth mindset.
Yes, it has something to do with your intelligence level, and readiness to embrace new things, and it is also about your self-esteem.
It makes sense because creative people have nothing much to fall back on when they’re stuck with a new idea, even if it was something unventured. They have to stick it out and continue to do everything to make it work. In other words, they’re not afraid of failure and they’re resilient.
Facts About Creative People
Most of the facts I found on the internet were negative. What do I mean? People generally think creative people are nuts, neurotic, don’t need much sleep, we’re tortured individuals, and tend to affect people negatively. For some reason, we are also better liars. 🤷😔
Personally, I’ve done this with writing. Without a word count limit, I don’t need to get creative. I am allowed to ramble on and on and on.
But when I have to write a report or Copywrite an advertisement where there are space constraints, I tend to struggle a little more.
The good news is that the more you do it, the better you get at it.
If you open your mind to new things, stuff you’ve never thought of before, you become more creative because you’re pumping in new knowledge and experiences. The creativity within you will feed off of that new knowledge.
Having done only one or two projects for medical and pharma companies a long time ago, I have close to no knowledge about how a medical facility is run. But when I became the Marketing Manager for an online doctor services app, I was fed new words, conditions, and situations. It started to broaden the way I look at other more conventional things in my everyday life.
It’s funny that some people think that there is a very psychopathic side to creative people.
Being creative requires one to be less inhibited, less honest, and more open to risks. These, according to research, are the types of traits that exist in naturally psychopathic people.
Creative people tend to perform better at night, hence, they’re better known as night owls. Despite that, whether creative ideas come to be better day or night, one thing is for sure…ideas come to you, most of the time when you’re not supposed to be working.
They’re random. Some friends report waking up in the middle of the night, going to the bathroom half awake, and then getting hit by a major idea.
Raising a Creative Child(ren)
By the time my first son was about five years old, I knew he was more creative than he was intellectual. He had no time for books but would play with his imaginary friend(s), play pretend, or he could build something out of cushions to LEGO blocks.
The way he learned things and absorb knowledge was different. I got angry with him for not learning anything. I did not realize that he saw things GENUINELY differently.
My second son was more ‘by the book’.
So, if you think your child is a creative person, open-ended toys are best. And questions that encourage personal input gets their juices flowing. They don’t perform well in memorizing information from textbooks. But if you asked them how we can better use a fork, they will probably show you a thing or two.
You can also give your creative child some time for unstructured play. No rules. No restrictions. They can come up with their own games.
If your child is often curious about new things or taking things apart, continue to offer them new opportunities and encourage them to give them a shot. Of course, stop them and let them know when it is not OK. For example, taking the TV apart or putting dangerous things into electronics.
Allowing your children to explore and expound on their interests means setting boundaries for them. They’re kids, after all. They still need guidance from their parents.
My boys play computer games and watch videos and movies that I may not necessarily agree with. But video games require a person to be very engaged creatively. Creative people may be particularly invested in or are good at RPGs. Unfortunately, I have never tried them and I don’t think it’s up my alley.
Creativity in children comes in many different forms – it could be knitting, scrapbooking, drawing, decorating, or just coloring. You just never know! As parents, we’ve just got to watch what our children are interested in, catch on, watch, nurture, and encourage.
As a parent, I often take cues from my kids when they were young. I also provide them with prompts and fresh ideas. You can start by asking them for their thoughts on certain topics, activities, and or even your interests. Put things out there or in their hands and then watch what they do with it. You’ll be surprised.
Giving creative kids the freedom to come up with whatever they want, including coloring outside the lines, is exciting for them. The light in the eyes of my boy is brightest when I tell him there are no rules.
I’ve heard of parents giving their creative children random stuff like empty egg cartons, used toilet paper rolls, boxes, paper towels, paper cups and plates, glue tapes, glitter, and ribbons. I’ve never tried them so, maybe you can.
And if your child is into entertainment like singing, acting, and comedy, give them the chance to do it in front of you. Many successful entertainers have told stories about being allowed to perform in church, at family gatherings, or small school concerts. It gives them a breadth of experience and confidence. Things like getting over stage fright, developing their styles, creating a scenario and the likes come from these opportunities.
Before I Go…
I hope that you have some takeaways from this and, as I said in the earlier part, I am highly invested in this topic because I am, after all, considered a creative person and I am raising one as well.
The journey of producing this podcast has also given me so many insights.
Every time I do something on a topic I am either invested in or interested in, I learn so much!
Thanks for reading this far. I am so much more long-winded on a podcast because talking about it makes me go on and on and on.