How To Tap Into Your Creative Self

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Art Washes Away From The Soul The Dust Of Everyday Life - Pablo Picasso

Being creative is part of being human. There is no such thing as an artistic type. People are not born creative- that is a myth. Each of us has the opportunity to sweep the dust of everyday life from our souls.

When we refuse to see or acknowledge our own creativity we close off that part of ourselves. A creative life can lead us toward a full life, it can open us up and widen our worldview. This is an opportunity that is open to all, whether or not we have prodigious musical talent or just see the world a little differently. Here are five ways that absolutely anyone can tap into their creative self.

1.) Surround Yourself

There is an economic theory that your income is the average of your five closest friends’ salaries. The people and things that you invite into your life end up shaping who you are. Choose wisely.

Surround yourself with the things that light you up and brighten your eyes. If we are to live a fascinating life - brimming with art, music and intrigue - we must choose to surround ourselves with precisely these things. Pin cool pictures to the wall and place flowers on your desk. Reach out to those you admire - you are only one tweet, email or letter away from absolutely anyone. That is the beautiful and terrifying truth.

2.) Embrace Your Weirdness

Coco Chanel once said that ‘In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different’. Take this as permission to make your quirks and curiosities public.

Don’t make apologies for who you are. Stop running in the rat race and run away to join the circus - find a freak show of friends who appreciate your oddities. Wear whatever you feel like, sometimes the right hat can make you feel better in your own skin.

Insincerity is exhausting. Authenticity is everything. Being creative is all about finding your voice. Honest storytelling has beauty and power.

3.) Channel Your Inner Child

Play around. Ask ‘Why?’ Do what feels good; something without purpose or motive.

Creativity is another word for divergent thinking. Both can mean the ability to see as many possible answers to a question and to think in non-linear ways. Divergent thinking is tested by asking participants to name all the possible uses for a paper clip. Dr. Ken Robinson found that in a study of 1500 people, 98 percent of kindergarteners tested at a genius level. Between the ages of 13 and 15, 10 percent of participants scored at this level. Over the age of 25, this number fell to 2 percent.

This shows that we are instinctively more creative as children, before we are led to believe that we were not born a creative type. We need to re-discover our creative selves. We need to play more.

4.) Show Up

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. Anything is better than nothing. You don’t have to wait until you have learned skills or found your voice. The conditions are never perfect. Don’t keep putting off ‘someday’ into some mythical time in the future that may or may not ever happen. Make your own momentum - just make something. It is true that perfect is the enemy of good. Put your insecurities to sleep. Chuck some paint at a wall or bake some cookies. It may not be a masterpiece, but creativity breeds creativity.

5.) Don’t Be Shy

Life is all about connection. Make eye contact on public transport and talk to strangers. Compliment liberally; everyone needs a little encouragement. Allow other people to compliment you. Leave your creations in places where other people can find them, whether that be online or on your mom’s coffee table. Sharing your work is a tool for connection. That said, it is also really scary. Sharing makes you vulnerable. The good news is, vulnerability makes for the best art.

Though the artistic type may be a myth, it is a compelling one all the same. We like the idea of a paint-splattered existence, tortured artists and broke musicians suffering for their art. Being creative does not mean that we have to try on these archetypes for size. At its heart, tapping into your creative self is about honoring your true self. Living a creative life is about expressing your authentic self, the part of you that remains once the dust of everyday life has been swept away.


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Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Tower Paddle Boards' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.