The Key to Being Creative

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” - Pablo Picasso

Earlier this week, as I do most weeks, I was listening to the Suitcase Entrepreneur podcast, and something the guest said struck me. Natalie, the podcast’s host, was interviewing Kim Ades, a well-known life coach, author, speaker (and much more). While they discussed many things, what struck me most was something Ades said about resistance.

In the podcast, Ades defined resistance as “a lack of belief that something can happen.” Resistance is also called fear, the inner critic, and many more other things. Basically resistance is a feeling or belief that prevents you from taking action. It’s a force within you that prevents you from moving forward. Of course, in the end, there’s always a choice to be made about whether action happens or not, but resistance often quashes action and progress.

Today I want to look at Ades’ definition as it applies to creativity and creative pursuits. As a left brain person, I used to hold the belief that I wasn’t creative. I didn’t believe I was creative because I wasn’t capable of producing great works of art or composing beautiful music. I was looking at some of the most extreme examples of creativity, people performing at truly high levels, and deciding that I didn’t live up to that. Hence, I wasn’t creative. I didn’t believe that creativity could happen to me or that I was capable of it.

But then one day I realized I was selling myself short. I realized that just because I can’t paint a masterpiece or compose a single bar of music, let alone a song, that didn’t meant I wasn’t creative. The fact that I couldn’t do any of those things or the myriad of other things society deems as creative only means I’m not capable of creating those specific things. I can still be creative and not be able to do those things. You can, too.

The key to being creative is believing that you are. It’s realizing that creativity doesn’t look the same for everyone (or even any two people). You need only to believe that you are creative and then actually go about creating something to be creative. Owning the fact that you were born creative and then actively practicing your desired creative pursuit makes you creative. Period. It really is that easy. Accept it, embrace it, and get to creating!

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Finally, and this is BIG, don’t go comparing yourself to anyone else and their creativity. As I said, it’s an individual pursuit and judging yourself against someone else is futile. It’ll always leave you feeling hollow. Instead, judge yourself against yourself. Gauge your own progress over time and use that as your guide. Your unique talents and gifts will provide the insight you need judge your own progress. Be inspired by others and their work and abilities, but never use them as yardstick for your own progress.

If you’ve been grappling with whether or not you’re creative, consider this: you already are. Stop using resistance and fear as an excuse to not get out there and express yourself. If you need to create in the privacy of your own living room and never show a soul, that’s your choice. But take the time to express yourself, especially if you have the creative urge. Don’t allow your perceived lack of talent to stop you from trying. Believing and accepting that you can be creative then taking action on that belief is all you need. So what are you waiting for? Start creating today!