Sophia Loren said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
When we are young, our imaginations go wild. A box can be a house and all of our toys can talk. However, we often lose these imaginations along the way. Somewhere in our day to day routine, our imagination and our creativity get bottled up and replaced with monotony. We forget how to have fun when we are preoccupied with meeting deadlines and paying bills. Why does this happen?
As human beings, we are lifelong learners. Even though our learning slows down as we get older, it never ends. Because of technology, there will always be something new that we can learn.
William Blake said, “The imagination is not a state, it is the human existence itself.”
If our imagination is our whole existence, then why does our creativity decline with age? Perhaps we lose our courage as we become more aware of ourselves. One very likely excuse for a drop in creativity is that we are so busy that we forget what it is like to really relax. Luckily, no one’s creativity is gone for good; all it takes is a little bit of nurturing for it to wake back up.
Somewhere along the way on the path of trial and error, “failure” became a word with negative connotations. No one wants to fail. If they quit before they have the chance to experience failure, they think they are playing it safe. However, we can never learn how to do anything correctly without failing several times. If every baby stopped trying to walk after falling on his or her butt the first time, we would have a lot of adults crawling around.
Edwin Land said, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” He was right. We are all going to fail, and it is going to happen quite often. The harder and seemingly impossible the task, the more times we will fail. That is a poor excuse for restraining your creativity. Call upon your fearless inner child when embarking upon a particularly creative task.
Someone once said that everything is impossible and everything is possible. When we tell ourselves that we cannot accomplish something because it is difficult or because we are too busy, we make it so that we cannot accomplish it. This is a form of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Although they can feel cheesy, mantras said aloud can help you feel much more confident when faced with a daunting task. Perhaps you have experienced lifelong difficulties with instruments. Just because you quit working at the drums and piano, that doesn’t mean you can’t try them again or pick up the violin. Try this: write out a self-motivating quotation on a scrap of paper. Tape it up on the bathroom mirror where you can see it when you brush your teeth or your hair in the morning. Before you leave the bathroom, read this saying out loud to yourself. If you aren’t convinced, say it again. When you vocalize your dreams, they become more than just dreams.
Make it Fun
While anything you want to learn requires discipline, try not to get caught up in all the work without having any fun. We have all heard the saying, “All work and no play makes ____ a dull boy/girl.” Don’t be dull. Waking up the creative genius inside you is important, but don’t let him or her daydream. Creativity requires an imagination, which you can’t use if you aren’t having any fun. Learn to laugh at the mistakes and have enough faith in yourself to keep trying.
While you certainly want to have fun, you may have trouble utilizing your creativity if you don’t know what to use it for. Once you focus in on a task or trade that you have been meaning to accomplish or learn, make a plan. Take notes in a journal, draw out graphs and diagrams, and discuss it with both those who are familiar with it and those who know nothing about it. Take all of these ideas and throw them into the melting pot. You may have a brilliant idea, but what is the use if no one ever gets to hear about it and you never work at perfecting it? If you have a day job, plan out time in your schedule to utilize your creativity and master your project. The more effort you put into it, the more results you will see in the end.
Creativity certainly becomes harder with age, but that just means that we need to use it more. Like a second language or an instrument, creativity is something that grows the more that we use it.
Guest author Julie Sorrick is a mother of two, blogger and designer of red tag print sales. She considers herself a creative genius. As her kids have grown up, she’s encouraged them to express their creative side whenever possible. She often gets their advice for her red tag print sales and hopes they will never shed their artistic nature when they get older.