the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.
inventiveness, imagination, imaginativeness, innovation, innovativeness, originality, artistry, expressiveness, inspiration, vision, creative power, creative talent, creative gift, creative skill, resourcefulness, ingenuity, enterprise
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be exploring some ideas around what I think aids making the most of your creativity. A series called ‘Becoming a wealthy creative’. Do I mean that you’re going to be really rich if you follow this series? Maybe, maybe not but you will engage with some ideas that will hopefully inspire you on your journey. Wealth refers to so much more than your financial status. One of the synonyms of ‘wealth’ that I really like is the word ‘substance’. How can we become people of substance and in so doing move closer to seeing our imaginativeness and dreams flourishing into beautiful realities around us?
We often focus on developing a skill but seem to lack the ‘certain something’ that takes that skill and turns it into something more. I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity recently. What makes someone creative? Or perhaps a better question, how do you use the creativity inherently part of your genetic make-up? I think many people think of ‘creativity’ as the domain of artists, poets and people who wear weird clothes. But really if you look at all those wonderful synonyms above it is more about an approach to life than the ability to paint like Picasso or sing like Adele. What is a key ingredient to being successfully creative? Consistency. Some good old fashioned grit and consistency. Now I’m not saying that talent doesn’t play a role. Of course it does. But talent is not enough. Good intentions are not enough.
For those amongst us who do adopt the title of being a ‘creative’ (and possibly do wear weird clothes. I often go to dress up parties wearing clothes from my regular wardrobe- from Victorian to Gatsy to 80s, I’ve got it covered -in blue crushed velvet), how do we use our imaginations, inventiveness and ingenuity to turn our creative skills into something that we find fulfilling as well as financially viable? A few years ago I did a stint in theatre (please pronounce in posh accent) after having worked at a business school. The two environments could not have been more different and I observed some interesting mind sets amongst the artistes. I found that there seemed to be an expectation of being treated in a certain way due to the fact that they were artistes, there was something fairly demanding in the way they approached their work. Now, I of all people get the difficulties of ‘the industry’. Not being paid is never fun and there are some terrible management situations out there but I couldn’t help wondering if they would be able to continue working in this way and at the same time remain passionate and alive inside.
I find the people who inspire me most are the ones who are innovating all the time with their skills and talents. They are not stagnant or sitting around waiting for people to do everything for them. They have a go-getter attitude and have also made peace with the fact that they will fail. Often. They work consistently towards their goals and dreams. I will always be very grateful for my classical music training. If practicing the same instruments for thousands of hours over your lifespan doesn’t teach you about consistency, I don’t know what will. The work is tough and you need grit and determination but the rewards are always so worth it.
I watched this amazing TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth (watch it here) on grit. The greatest thing that determines a student’s success or failure is not their IQ, but their commitment to consistently work towards their long term goals. I wanted to write music for my whole life. What held me back? Having no idea where to start and that internal voice that said ‘don’t bother, it will never be good enough’. The change came when I decided to start somewhere. To do it anyway. To do it scared. To try and fail. To risk. To work consistently towards a long term goal. I know that I haven’t composed my best work yet, but I can hear the development of my compositions over a span of four years. This is progress. To me, this is success. The amazing thing is that consistency is something that you can develop. It may not be super trendy right now and will require commitment but perhaps it will enable us to see our dreams become a reality.
Consistency is not the same as stagnation. I am not suggesting that we all stay in the same job for 40 years (I am a real millennial in that sense) but what I am suggesting is that you develop your skills and talents consistently and live fully committed to yourself.
Here are a few things that I have found helpful in developing consistency in my life (I have most definitely not got this all figured out, but love to share what I’ve learned):
- Learn to work past how you feel. You’re not always going to feel like doing something. You’re not always going to feel motivated. Do something anyway, even if it’s not your best work, you are honing your skills and creating space in your life.
- Set a few goals that are attainable in the next little while (being published as a famous author next month may not be realistic if you’ve never written anything).
- If you’re not doing your creative endeavor as a day job, set aside time where you switch off everything else and focus. I always used to think that if I wanted to compose something I needed to set aside 5 hours. Those 5 hours of uninterrupted time never materialized and so I try and set aside shorter times more regularly and that has worked well.
- Get an ideas journal/board. Keep a record of all your amazing ideas and then decide on one or two that you’d like to explore further.
- Keep practicing. I’ve been playing the piano since I was four years old and still need to practice. Also, many of my compositions have flowed out of practice times. You never know when inspiration may strike.
Here’s to developing the consistency of a beautiful and fluffy chocolate cake.
We’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and feel free to share a tip with us on how you’ve developed consistency in your life.