What Your Kids Can Teach You About Creativity
Photo: nist6ss/Creative Commons
Have you ever wondered how your kids could create a masterpiece with crayons, white paste and paper clips? It was so wonderfully ingenious that you scooped it up and put in in a frame, a permanent shrine to their inspriation and creativity. You were like that too one time, in the not too distant past. So what happened?
I truly believe every one of us as the ability to be inspired; the problem is that it gets tamped down and ultimately extinguished by the rules of convention. There is a way to get it back -- and you can learn how from your kids.
1. Let your mind wander. When was the last time you sat down and did nothing? By "nothing" I don't mean nothing in your hands; I mean empty your mind. Don't worry about the laundry or bills, this is about letting your imagination take over. Kids do it all the time; it's called daydreaming and it's a not bad thing (unless they're in school and supposed to be focused).
2. Don't ask why; ask why not. One of the many things I love about my son is his absolute unshakable confidence when trying something new. He approaches the unfamiliar with a sense of abandon; in his mind it's not about why but why not? Yes something may have been done one way for years and years but that won't stop Cole from figuring out a new and better way.
3. Be fearless. Speaking of trying, really, what's the harm? For adults, our paralyzing fear of failure keeps us rooted in routine. Time to shake it up. Failure isn't a bad thing but we need to reframe it and instead, look at it as a step in the process. Ever see a batter hit the ball the first time, every time? Yeah, me neither. Kids instinctively know it's better to swing and miss (and learn what to do next time) than to not swing at all.
4. Laugh it off. Watch what happens when your children try something new and they are not successful at it. They may shrug their shoulders or they may laugh, the best response of all (provided no one got hurt). Their ability to not take themselves too seriously fuels their creative fire.
5. Have a support system. Well that's what we call it: Kids call them friends. They'll be the ones laughing with, not at you. They'll also be there to encourage you to take another stab at whatever it is. Friends might even help you build a better buggy or just stand on the sidelines while you race it. Either way, they'll have your back.
Thinking creatively and finding inspiration is closer than you think. Watch those little ones the next time they show you a way around a problem your adult mind couldn't come up with.
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