First and foremost, creativity is the ability to come up with new and exciting ideas. It encompasses a wide range of skills such as problem-solving, innovation, and artistic production—creativity is present in every aspect of life: from our personal lives to our professional ones.
However, how can we be creative when we’re constantly told to “think inside the box”? With so many rules and restrictions in school, it’s easy to lose sight of your creativity. But don’t fret! As an artist myself, I want to share some ways how you can tap into your inner creative self without damaging your grades or social life.
Why should you care about creativity?
If you’ve ever struggled to finish that latest project, you know that it can be challenging to stay motivated. Creativity can be difficult to enjoy. And it’s not uncommon for all of the hard work you’ve put into completing a project to disappear when you need it most.
In the book Creativity Works, Ted Leonhardt writes a universal connection between art and genius. This means that genius can emerge from anywhere and that creativity is much more common than you might think.
Leonhardt states that being creative means “We develop an inner ear that hears everything, takes in everything, recognizes it, and responds to it.” In other words, you can unlock your creative potential by connecting to your creative side and feeling that rush of creativity flow over you.
What does it mean to be creative?
I’m going to go ahead and provide an answer for you. It means challenging yourself. This can be in terms of daily life, whether you’re cooking, exercising, or even breaking out of routine. It means dreaming up new and crazy ideas that make the ordinary world look brighter. It means creating something that truly helps other people.
Let’s take my creation, Lino-Eats, for example. It’s a chocolate cake that melts in your mouth, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. I never thought I’d ever invented something like this, so I am genuinely proud of it. I am creative in the way I see things, and in that sense, I am creative. I never dreamed up a cake-like Lino-Eats.
How can you be more creative in school without hurting your grades or social life?
I recently studied a blog post by Kelechi Okafor. She was trying to figure out how to make her creative writing assignments more enjoyable while keeping them on track. Her answer was very intriguing and helpful to many of us who feel trapped in a system that doesn’t take us seriously. Her advice is simple but so powerful.
Don’t do the work. Do the dreaming. Do the “prep work.”
Okafor explains that she would go to the library to browse through books, she’d order books from Amazon and read reviews, and most importantly, she would dream.
“The work I do for my final paper isn’t necessarily difficult, and the purpose of the work I do is not to find the formula to perfect writing.
When is it okay to break the rules?
Once in a while, the rules and limitations are worth breaking if you feel they will improve your creativity. The skill is knowing when to do it and how to keep it a mystery.
How often do we hear, “If you’re not a rule-breaker, you’re not in the right environment”? But this rule is not always applicable. Let’s take the baseball rule: Don’t swing for the fences!
Creative flow occurs when you’re open to new experiences, thoughts, and ideas. While you may have to work out the details later, when your mind is calm, you are ready to create. Allow yourself to engage in creative projects in a healthy environment.
The secret to succeeding in this society is to have fun, and taking up creative activities is a great way to do just that. There is no need to study in an art school to become original. Instead, keep an open mind, and try as many things as you can to stretch your wings. Never forget, creativity is a muscle, and you can grow it when you exercise it.