“Stop making things up” came the irritated voice from the bench behind me. I took a sly peek over my shoulder to see a dejected little girl, candy floss in hand, being told in no uncertain terms that unicorns do not exist. And even if they did they would not be found paddling at the seaside.
My heart ached for her. This was one of many blows to her imagination she would have to face in the years to come -
Then when she gets to senior school she may well also be told she can’t draw and the many happy hours she spends doodling monsters and fairies will come to an abrupt end too. Or like me a fellow pupil (of all people) may tell her ‘doodling will get you nowhere’. It’s like childhood is designed to beat the imagination out of us.
So when I talked to a friend who writes stories for a living about my latest offer for creatives I shouldn’t have been surprised when she stopped me in my tracks and said ‘I don’t think of myself as creative’.
My heart sank, again. My friend, who was so passionate about stories, didn’t think she was creative. In the following days, as I began to pay attention, I noticed she wasn’t the only one. A look on a face here, a clearing of the throat there, I realised there was something provocative about saying the word ‘creative’. You could almost see the thoughts running through their minds, telling themselves ‘who do you think you are to be creative?’
It’s not surprising, childhood has done such a good job of squashing our imaginations that many of us feel like it’s a mystical, unattainable unicorn. Do an internet search and you’ll see how many people are asking how to restore creativity or how to get your creativity back. We’ve forgotten that it’s not something to be attained, we already have it, always will.
It is absolutely possible to become more creative because the thing is, imagination can only be dampened not deleted. It’s a core part of every human being since the beginning of time -
So the question is who do you think you are not to be creative? What makes you so different? 😉
Imagination is fundamental to how we operate in the world. It allows us to experiment with flavours when we cook, choose the perfect present for a loved one, plan what we’re going to do tomorrow. Whenever you go inside yourself and come up with various combinations in your head before you make them into reality, you’re accessing your imagination, the centre of your creativity.
Whether you’re designing fitness routines for your clients, creating courses or finding new ways to use the herbs in your garden, you’re being creative. Your imagination is like an eager puppy, point it in the direction you want to go, feed it, believe in it, encourage it to practice and watch it grow.
So never think it’s gone. Never think you’ve missed the boat or you’re just not one of those lucky people. In fact remember about all the times you use your imagination every day and keep feeding it regularly.
__ Books, films, walking in nature, listening to music. Remembering times when you’ve felt creative, even if it was when you were 5. Really stepping into that creative feeling, seeing what you were doing and hearing the sounds. Taking courses in fields you’ve never explored before. It’s all nutrients for your imagination. And unlike a puppy you can’t over feed it.
If you’re stuck for ideas right now check out What to do when you have no creative ideas