My rules of creativity

Can everyone be creative?

Creativity can be defined as an ability or power to create something original. As opposed to popular opinion, a person is not ‘born’ creative. Creativity is a soft skill. It can be learned by anyone. Sure, some people are more drawn to their creative side than others but that is completely fine!

Creativity is not just meant for designers or people in ‘creative fields’. Any field can be creative. A person can find creativity in cooking while another can find creativity in something as mundane as filling excel sheets.

Creativity seems to be more prevalent in people who are more comfortable learning from their failures. Creativity involves a lot of failure. This is something I learnt throughout my journey from design school to multiple internships to finally working in the UX field. My best ideas came only after my first few ideas failed.

‘There is no innovation and creativity without failure’, Brené Brown

At work, we have a workshop every Wednesday. For two hours, we participate in an activity or listen to talks that get our creative juices flowing. It is a break from our regular projects, but at the same time, gives us insights and learnings that can be applied to them. One Wednesday we had to make our own rules of creativity. This got me thinking, do I really follow ‘rules’ to be creative?

This is a take on my rules of creativity.

1. Take inspiration from everything

An important aspect of being a creative person is that they are very observant people. Observe everything around you. Take inspiration from daily life. See things clearly first, then think things clearly.

Observation does not have to be limited to just when you are working on something. I try to be observant all the time. It has taught me so many things but what I’ve learnt the most is – Empathy. Observing humans and the way they handle situations really gives me insights on life and helps me understand the experiences they face better. Observing my environment has helped me handle potential problems in my life before they materialise to real problems.

2. Declutter your life

Declutter your workspace, declutter your mind. When I’m working on something I prefer to work in a tidy workspace. A tidy workspace helps in clearing out my mind. Decluttering helps stimulate creativity.

By working in a tidy workspace, I don’t mean working in a spotless, neat area but I should be aware about where what is and having clear spots for things you need.

It’s not just decluttering the environment I am working in but also the various touch points I experience. For example, when I’m working on something my desktop slowly starts to get more and more cluttered. My anxiety also starts building as I’m struggling to find a certain file or image. I start experiencing blocks and lags in what I’m working on. When it finally starts getting to me, I sit and clear my desktop. This exercise is so therapeutic for me and it really starts helping me clear out my mind. Suddenly, ideas start flowing through me once again.

3. Question everything

Asking questions and being curious, like a child, can be an important aspect of fostering creativity. When we are young, we are naturally curious about the world around us and are not afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly or naive. As we grow older, we may become more self-conscious and start to suppress this natural inclination to question everything.

I approach a problem like I’m a five year old child. Being a child and questioning every small part of the problem helps me get solutions I probably wouldn’t have thought of before.

I, an adult, need to bring my inner child into my profession. That is what matters in a creative profession and not how many hours you worked.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

Getting out of my comfort zone is something I used to find very difficult to do. I wanted to excel at something almost immediately after learning about it and this caused me to not even attempt to learn new things. To try and break away from this habit I started the practice of trying something new every weekend.

Last week it was jewellery making. The week before that it was baking and the week before that it was crocheting. This helps me pick up new skills which I am sure will help me out somewhere unexpected. I know I won’t always immediately excel at these activities. I can admit now I suck at crocheting and it frustrated me more than anything. But at least I tried. And I did learn a lot from it. This helps me keep the creative juices flowing and not get stuck or experience a mind block.

Also, it’s great to learn new things. All my friends are getting necklaces and cookies as birthday gifts this year.

5. Forget these rules and find your own rules

The main part about being creative is being true to yourself. These rules that work for me may not always work for you. I know some people who follow exactly the opposite of my rules and are thriving. You should find what works for you and follow that system. But you will only find what works for you if you get out of your comfort zone and try other methods and practices.

In conclusion, creativity is a complex phenomenon that is essential for both personal and professional growth. Creativity is the ability to think outside the box and manage to break free from established patterns of thoughts and practices.

The rules of creativity are not set in stone, but rather a combination of various elements such as imagination, knowledge, skills, and motivation. Knowing now that everyone has some amount of these ingredients, maybe it’s time to write your own recipe for creativity.



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