zenhabits : breathe

The Secret to Being Insanely Creative

Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead.

What’s the secret to unleashing your creativity?

I’ll tell you, but it’s not what you think…

As an aspiring artist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying figure out how to be more creative. I’ve explored the traditional paths to creativity; painting, drawing, playing an instrument, creative writing, poetry, etc. I connected with creative souls; artists, and people living off the grid (away from the mainstream).

While I found this sparked my creative spirit, it only went so far. I was hacking at the branches rather than the root.

To truly tap into your creative nature, you only have to realize one thing…

You are already an artist.

You don’t have to create exquisite sculptures or breathtaking sonnets. You’re creating all the time simply by being alive. Every decision you make, every time you move, breathe, or speak you are creating. In fact, you couldn’t not create even if you wanted to. It’s simply impossible.

Just think about it: you’re the main character in your life story. Each day you develop and further the plot of your masterful performance. You interact with other secondary characters in your story that support your role. These are your friends, your lover, family and coworkers. They’re the supporting actors or actresses in your drama, and they also help mold your life’s narrative.

You can change the course of your story at any time by making new choices and walking down new paths. You can drop a secondary character and choose new ones, if they’re not supporting the story you’d like to create (except, perhaps, family members).

You constantly direct the play called your life; and that makes you a magnificent artist. So if you’re creating your life all the time, wouldn’t it be more empowering to view yourself as an artist, rather than simply a passively living person?

I know you’re thinking, That really doesn’t help when I’m chopping celery or washing the cat… but it does. It makes all the difference.

See, when you know you’re creating artistically, you get more involved in your life. You start to live more deliberately. You wash your cat with love because deep down, you love him even if he smells terrible. You cut celery with joy, because you’re making the choice to put something healthy in your body.

So, enough foreplay; here are some practical ways to embrace your inner artist:

All life really is, after all, is a collection of stories. But you’re the only one that can create the story of your dreams. It’s your story.

So what do you want to create? A film noir or a fairy tale? You can choose a daring adventure or a comedy. It’s up to you as long as you accept that you’re the artist. You’ve got the brush, it’s up to you to put down the colors you like best.

The question is: What will you create?

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead.



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