Stop to consider, when was the last time that you truly created something? Something new. Something useful. Something that you were proud of?
Was it this morning? Last week? Last month? Or was it the end of year school project that was required of you?
If you find yourself discouraged by that length of time, then I’ve got good news. It’s something that you have the power to change. Right now, if you feel so inclined. Seriously.
Feel free to take the next few moments to put together an exciting new meal for tonight’s dinner (paprika infused chicken with fresh lemon sounds pretty good to me). Or come up with the opening line to a mystery novel set on a rainy day in the Scottish Highlands.
I’ll let you in on a secret, creativity isn’t some magic sauce that only a select gifted few have had bestowed upon them. It’s a tool that we’re all born with; one that needs to be nurtured, practiced and refined on a regular basis.
Don’t have enough time to be creative?
I call bullshit. Sorry, but it’s true.
Consider spending 30 minutes less watching TV each night to instead practice carpentry in the garage. Or wake early each morning to start on that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Or rather than going to a bar on the weekend, spend your Saturday night attending a cake decorating course.
I’m not advocating that this will turn you into the next Picasso or J.K. Rowling overnight, but you begin expressing yourself in a completely different way to what you previously allowed for. Allow yourself time to authentically express your inner passions. Watch in wonder where they may lead you, blissfully ignorant to their final destination.
Creativity is a core element of the human condition.
As a child, can you remember that feeling of bringing home a drawing from school to show your parents? Even though you’d gone outside the lines and you’d coloured the grass red, they were still immensely proud of what you’d drawn. You’d feel a glowing sense of achievement in your artwork for days afterwards.
The issue as we mature however, is that scenarios like this become rarer and rarer. More often than not, work doesn’t encourage colouring outside the lines. And so we need to nurture our creative impulses ourselves and realise that this sense of achievement in our work may need to come from within.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up - Picasso
For me, it was re-discovering photography casually through Instagram on my iPhone about two years ago. I found the social and community elements highly encouraging which helped drive my interest in the craft forward. So much so that I now find myself setting 4am alarms chasing the morning light, following my passion wherever it may take me.
For you, it could be picking up your guitar from your teenage years. Or cooking a new recipe for friends next weekend. It’s less the medium of creative expression that matters, but rather the act itself.
And so I encourage you, I urge you, to follow and express your own passions. To create something. Something new. Something useful. Something that you are proud of.