We’re all creative beings. Inside each of us is the power to create something, anything. There are endless possibilities of creative power in our head and our heart. Take a 15 year old boy who comes home smelling like alcohol and cigarettes. In the face of danger (being yelled at, grounded, and punished) the young man will find a way to make his story not sound as crazy as his night was. When we need to create something, such as the young man’s story to get out of severe punishment, our mind works in mysterious ways. For many, tapping this creativity is mission, and one that is usually fueled by frustration, anxiety, and criticism from within.
We think too much about the things we want to create instead of allowing the process to unfold. I know quite a few business owners who have a hard time writing blog posts about their gyms, their training, or articles about the industry they’re in. They open wordpress and look at the blank screen and writer’s block sets in. In their mind, they want their work to be great (as it should be) but the process is wrong. Coming out of the starting gate and sprinting as fast as possible in a marathon won’t lead to any good further down the road. The same goes for writing, creating, and making art.
When we set out to make our art, to do our work, we have high expectations and want the product to be finished. And we want it right the first time. Unfortunately for most people I know, this won’t happen that easy. Our work will be lackluster and we may find the frustration so great that we decide to quit instead of pushing through. Creativity is not something that is rushed. Creativity needs failure and until you’re willing to fail, you’ll never get anywhere.
One form of resistance we face when creating is our fear of criticism from others, fear of being judged. This is human nature but with a conscious effort, you can overcome this. Last year I self-published four books. They suck. At least in my inner critical views, but the point is, I did the work and let it go. While I was putting those books together I knew it was not even half of what my best work contains, but I also knew I had no choice but to produce them. Thoughts of judgement from others, poor reviews online, and other non productive ideas raced through my mind. The key to getting the work done was to simply just do it. No matter what the outcome was or is, just take the idea and do the work. If you fail, you fail. You’ll learn something that will help you become a success on the next project or idea. To withhold your art out of fear of being judged or failing is more failure than doing the work and having it crash and burn. At least you did something.
To unleash the creative mind you must release your self resistance and allow the true self to shine. This is never easy but it’s something that is helped by one thing we don’t like to do. Practice. If you were a high school football player, you’d be expected to practice football right? Especially if you ever had hopes of going to the next level. So you practice with and without the team. Most likely year long. A drummer in a band doesn’t go on stage with the others to perform new songs he’s never heard before. He practices. This practice of practice is something business owners do not want to consider. They’re too busy being too busy and instead just wish a 1000 word viral post was created in the flick of a switch.
The good news is, it doesn’t work that way and that is what cuts out the weekend warriors from the true professionals. If you’re not writing everyday, even if it’s just ten minutes, you’re fooling yourself and leaving potential on the keyboard. You will never break into the full potential of your creative mind.
If you want to expand your creativity and let the ideas that float around in your mind come forward there are some simple things you can do. Here are five ways to unleash the creative mind.
1. If you want to write blog posts or emails for your self or business, Write Everyday.
Ten minutes at a time. Grab a sheet of paper, a word document, a draft on wordpress and set a timer for ten minutes. Now, put your fingers to work and do not stop until the timer rings. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just let it flow. If you don’t know how to start, write about not knowing how to start. For example:
“I’m sitting here at my desk, slouched over like a fool, wearing a black t-shirt trying to write for ten minutes about something that is relevant to what is in my mind. Nothing is coming. I’m bored. I want to quit….”
That is how you unleash the creative mind, but keep in mind, half the time when you practice, it’s just practice. Nothing might come of it but what you’re doing is breaking the resistance and the act of writing trains your mind for the future.
The same goes for painting or other art forms as well. You won’t ever be good if you don’t just try and practice.
2. Use Post-Its Notes To Find Brilliant Ideas
Grab some post it notes and write on those notes what you want, why you want it, and what you can do to help make it happen. The mind will begin to work and ideas will come. This is another form of practice but it’s a brainstorming session that will open the doorway to successful art.
3. Exercise to release energy and open your mind
If you want to get the mind working creatively, exercise is a simple practice to break through the barriers of perceived blocks. Some people I know wake up in the morning and begin writing or doing their art. This is okay for some but others it just doesn’t work. One way to get around that is by exercising before you sit down to work.
4. Do Something Creative Not Related to Your Work
A lot of writers break through creatively when they paint. Musicians might find inspiration from playing a game of basketball or watching a movie on a Tuesday afternoon, alone. Painters might get inspiration for a piece of work by taking a cooking class. Strength Coaches can get creative with their training by using forms of exercise from a variety of specialties like Strongman, Yoga, and Gymnastics. Plan a time in your schedule where you can get creative in something not related to your work. There are several books that can help this as well such as: Wreck This Journal or Creativity Workout
5. Meditate and/or other forms of relaxation
How can you expect to sit down and create something great if you’re stressed out, wired from the day, or exhausted of your energy? A great way to let the mind open and help you unleash your creativity is to relax. Meditation is a great way to search within and unwind. Floatation is another form of relaxation that can help you search the depths of your mind for creative ideas. One of the best things you can do is simply sit and think. Many of the worlds most successful leaders, visionaries, and artists have contributed much of their work to sitting practice. They simply find a quiet spot and do nothing but think to themselves. Imagine if you removed a lot of stress and fuss from your life momentarily and sat still. You’d run through the mind with ease and unleash it’s creative power. Doing this daily is even more powerful.
You won’t get creative and create good things, come up with good ideas, and get beyond your fear of failure or judgement unless you take action and put in the time. The mind is not working for you creatively at the drop of a dime. It takes work to open the gates and we are all capable of being creative people. We all have million dollar ideas or life changing plans that can alter the world. It’s the people who stand up and say “I have something to say” (quoting Seth Godin at our meeting a few weeks ago) that make things happen.
Take ten minutes right now and do something to unleash the creative mind. GO!