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Stretching Your Creativity Muscle
by Kim Green-Spangler
Set a timer and quickly jot down a list of all of the creative things you'd like to do. Would you like to take an art class, learn how to write poetry, go back to school, take up a new profession, take cooking classes, etc? Whatever strikes your fancy - write it down. When the timer goes off - select the top 3 things that you can put into motion this very minute. Take the "short list" to bed with you and in the morning select the one item that jumps off of the page at you. This is the thing that you should pursue. Why now? Because May is Creative Beginnings month and it's your turn to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to something new, fun and exciting!
While some people are fortunate enough to be able to create as a profession, for the majority of the masses life tends to get in the way of creativity. As children's creativity soars, it's boundless. As they get older they're taught to conform and as other things are introduced and begin to take up more time, creativity which was once a primary instinct, takes a backseat. The creative process can enhance each faction of everyday life. The feelings that one experiences when a new skill has been attempted, or the sense of self-satisfaction that is felt upon successful completion of a task, can have a dramatic impact. A can-do attitude that may give a tired student a jolt of determination, provide a dissatisfied employee with the courage to find a more suitable job, or make a preschooler ever-ready to tackle a new task is an incredible tool to have at one's disposal. It's the ultimate self-esteem builder.
Feel free to take on a new creative project, but don't just reserve creativity for fun activities. Use it to solve everyday quandaries at home and at the workplace. In fact, many companies actively coach their employees in creativity/brainstorming sessions to increase productivity. They must first teach employees to think outside of the box and to feel free to express their ideas. One way to get the creative juices flowing that has been utilized is submitting idea journals to each employee, who is then challenged to develop a fresh idea that will be shared in brainstorming meetings. Another is a costume party where each employee not only dresses, but speaks and delivers ideas in character. The Rip and Read Party is yet another creativity exercise where employees sit in groups while listening to music and rip pages, headlines, words and phrases from magazines which peak their interest. Their selections are then posted and discussed to generate new ideas. Use these tools and some from your own arsenal with friends, co-workers and family members to practice that creative muscle.
Like most skills, creativity can be developed and will improve with practice. It's not about the individual, but the way an individual attacks a problem to find a different approach. Creativity is all about challenge. Challenge yourself to look at something in a different manner, to be flexible, imaginative, and even juvenile in simplicity. Keep it fun.
After you make your creative selection for the month of May, pick up the phone and schedule the activity. Creativity should become an integral part of daily life. It makes life interesting, challenging and can be downright entertaining. If you're on the fence about a creative activity, try it anyway, but grab a friend or two and ask them to join you. Who knows what ideas your Creative Beginnings month project will generate or the amount of fun you'll have together! Just remember to share the fun!