🎨 Awakening Your Creativity in Everyday Life
About a year into the COVID pandemic, I decided to pick up my dusty classic guitar after years of infrequent use. I missed singing and making music and thought playing around on the guitar, even with my limited skills, would give me a reason to sing and bring greater joy into my days.
Although my guitar abilities had never progressed much beyond a beginner’s level, I was game to try, curious and excited about the possibilities. I decided to activate my chutzpa (courage) and take guitar lessons. Then a few months later, my husband gifted me a new Martin folk guitar for my birthday. Let’s just say I was probably the oldest person shopping in the guitar stores I visited. With a friend’s help, I chose a handsome guitar with quality and potential well beyond my current ability level.
Warming to this experiment, I engaged my character strengths of love of learning, spirituality, curiosity and perseverance. My musical potential and creativity have awakened thanks to my perseverance strength. (You can learn more about character strengths at the end of this article.) I’ve had a joyful time learning, making music with a couple of friends, and growing my skills.
Perhaps my musical creativity efforts expanded my overall creativity. I tried my hand at baking bread. While the outcome was not what I’d hoped for, the process was filled with sticky hands, joyful moments, and meaningful creativity. And I’m proud to share that I’ve completed writing a book about finding new beginnings after age 50 – and am seeking a publisher.
Creative Awakening, Inspiration, and Not Knowing
Creativity involves openness to new experiences. The terms everyday creativity or small-c creativity are used to describe originality and openness to new experiences in daily life (Richards, Snyder & Lopez, 2001.).
What if you experimented with less rigidity and greater openness and creative expression in your everyday life? What if you accommodated to personal or professional change with greater flexibility, seeing things in new ways? What if you tried to solve problems more creatively, seeking novel, effective outcomes?
Kids are naturally creative. Similarly, we adults can also nurture and cultivate our inventiveness and self-expression, particularly our everyday creativity. Regardless of the external events life presents, we can experiment with our daily experiences, moments, and actions. Creative awakening need not be about any product, but simply the intention and process of opening to new or unexpected encounters in alternative ways. Creative awakening calls on us to let go of, or reduce judgment and rigidity – embracing what the Buddhists call beginners mind.
💡 Creativity as a Way of Life
What I’m sharing here is not about creative genius, rather about welcoming creativity in the context of your everyday life. Invite yourself to explore the realm of not knowing and then notice what happens.
Here are 17 ways to awaken creativity in your everyday life:
- Travel to a new location or to an old one using a different route or mode of transportation.
- Write a song or rhyme.
- At work or at home, try doing an everyday task in an alternate way or with your non-dominant hand.
- Do a wood project or fix something that’s broken.
- After you listen to a podcast, or read book or article, write down a some of your reactions or create a simple poem.
- Rearrange some of the furniture or items in your home.
- Play a game that encourages you to think creatively, like Scrabble, Dominoes, Chess, or Charades.
- Learn more about something you’re interested in or try a new activity that you’ve always wanted to try.
- Seek a creative solution to an everyday problem and give it a try.
- Play with a child or talk with a teenager in your life.
- Sing in the car or the shower.
- Have fun working on your dance moves or simply creative movement.
- Attend a concert, show or play, on site or virtually.
- Doodle on paper with pencil, pen, or markers.
- Grow a few plants in your window or start a small garden.
- Learn a musical instrument or try drumming.
- Write a book.
Learn About Your Strengths and How to Leverage Them
Character strengths are our capacities for thinking, being, feeling, and behaving (Niemiec, 2013). Psychologists have identified 24-character strengths common to humankind. Creativity is just one of the twenty-four. These strengths are present in people across all cultures and they are measurable (Niemiec, 2013). Thus, we all have these strengths, although for each individual our top strengths vary.
And here’s good news – we can develop and grow our strengths. If you’d like to learn more about your character strengths and strategies to engage them to greater advantage in your life and work, here are a few resources:
- You can learn about and take the free VIA strengths survey at VIACharacter.org (Niemiec, 2014).
- For more information on engaging your strengths, you can click here to read some blogs I’ve written: https://ibzcoaching.com/category/strengths/
- For a deeper dive, to learn about strengths, Ryan Niemiec, PhD has written many books and articles. I like: Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing
Enjoy the process!
* Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No content is a substitute for consulting with a qualified mental health or healthcare professional.
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- Niemiec, R. (2014). Mindfulness and character strengths: A practical guide to flourishing. Boston, MA: Hogrefe Publishing.
- Richards, R. (n.d.) Everyday creativity: Process and way of life – Four key issues. In (pp. 189-215).
- Simonton, D.K. (2001). Creativity. In Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.). Handbook of positive psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD, PCC, CEC, is an Executive and Personal Coach and Speaker. Ilene helps people live their best personal and professional lives by bringing mind, body, and spirit into flow with strengths, purpose, and potential. She inspires clients to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online, set up a free discovery coaching consultation, and access free resources at https://ibzcoaching.com/.
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