According to the authors of “Mind Gym,” “When it comes to creative thinking, being too literal doesn’t pay… Looking at a picture and imagining what it could be as opposed to what it is can release a fresh train of thought.” This is the same kind of “could be” creativity that children use. Give a child a cardboard box, and it can become a spaceship, a boat, a car, a cubby house, a cave… anywhere their imagination wants to go. They are not worried about whether it is correct or not. Children will colour pigs orange with stripes, if the idea takes them.
It is that kind of experimentation that helps us along the path to solving problems in our work, personal life or creative endeavour, even as adults. Sometimes to think outside the box, we need to get hold of a big empty cardboard box to sit in, look at, turn over, cut up, re-colour and imagine in a new form.
To recapture a “could be” spirit, you need to provide an environment where exploration is encouraged, welcomed and free from restraint and criticism. Building that kind of creative environment in your home is an important element in fostering creative potential. It gives everyone the necessary permission to make striped, orange pigs for the joy of experimentation and discovery. An environment which is free from having to do things the right way, even in play, is a major step in the right direction. I remember as a child that I always coloured animals in their correct colour because I would be told I was wrong. Pigs were pink, brown or white, and that was the way it had to be. It stopped me from experimenting.
Experts on child learning tell you that children need to build collections, be silly, and be exposed to a wide range of activities. Not only will it help them, but the very same principles and activities will inspire and enhance your creativity. Listen to a broad range of music, watch new television programs, visit museums, art galleries and places that are different to what you would normally choose. Read a different magazine or book genre every so often. Discover something new. The more widely your experience ranges, also the more your children and those around you will be as you role model exploratory behaviour.
To nurture childrenʼs innate desire to explore, it is recommended that you:
1. Allow freedom and autonomy
2. De-emphasise passive stimulus/response; extrinsic reward and competition
3. Encourage trial, error and failure as opportunity
4. Focus on intrinsic goals
5. Challenge the inventive spirit
6. Support interests
7. Inspire by involvement and role modelling
8. Create fun and enjoyment and freedom and autonomy
9. Recognise process based accomplishment
10. Embrace diversity in people and in approach.
This old post is an excerpt from Cate’s e-book “Unleashing Your Creative Spirit” which has just been officially released. If you have an interest in enhancing your creative potential, the e-book will be of inspiration to you.
Unleashing Your Creative Spirit was written to help you turn your dreams into reality! It explores the process and practical aspects of creativity; and has been written for artists, writers, musicians, dancers, gardeners, cooks, craft lovers: anyone trying to tap into their creative potential. It looks at the mental processing behind creativity; philosophies that drive how we think about and assess our creative worth; creative character traits; historical role models; an extensive bibliography and web link list plus more. The content is practical, not just analytical. It will give you ideas on how to move forward in your creative life.
- Capturing the Muse
- Quieting the Internal Censor
- Building A Creative Space
- Working With Failure
- Finding Direction
- Techniques To Use
The abridged ebook is available now on Amazon Kindle. The full illustrated e-course version with additional resources and exercises is only available from me, as e-book formats cannot handle it. You can order it directly from http://www.virtual-desk.com.au/trainer.html. Please scroll down the the course list and the select the buy button.
This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2011. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.
No images on this blog may be copied, captured, or altered for your own purpose without the consent of the originating owner. Where images are marked as being iStockphoto.com images, they are paid for and licenced to Cate for use on this blog. If you take them, iStockphoto.com has the right to take legal action against you for Copyright Infringement.
Please see the Blog Content and Image Copyright page of this blog for further information in regards to Guest Posts, other images, Cate’s checks on infringements and Liability.