The Secret Behind Creativity
By Nancy Marmolejo
When you think of being more creative, what comes to mind? Most people think in terms of artistic skills, but creativity manifests itself in a number of ways beyond the obvious. Picture creativity like a jet stream that flows all around us: when we step up to the flow and dip our hands in, we easily grab wonderful ideas, refreshed insights and innovative actions. At times, things get in our way and we lose our contact with the creative flow. We consider ourselves in a rut, not creative, unproductive, dull. There is a simple practice that magically ignites the creative juices and brings joy to all parts of life. It takes practice, commitment, and an open mind.
It is gratitude. Giving thanks, appreciating others, acknowledging the wonderful things we have in our lives.
Gratitude is extremely powerful and can't be activated unless consciously practiced every day of our lives. It can turn a sour mood into a joyous one, make us laugh at our own silly shortcomings, and open our hearts up to increased appreciation of all that surrounds us. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, it just takes willingness.
Do the following ritual acts daily for at least 30 days. After 30 days, you're free to discontinue and your misery will be gladly refunded.
- Make a Gratitude list. Start reciting the alphabet and fill in a person, place or thing for each letter. (If you're stuck for people's names that start with the letter X, remember Xena the Warrior Princess and my friends Gil and Lily's cool kid Xiarel. He won't mind if you're grateful for him!) Making a Gratitude List is a wonderful way to shift your focus when feeling down.
- Write thank you notes for everything. Have a wonderful client? Send her a card. Do you appreciate the service at a neighborhood store? Write a note saying so. Feeling extra artistic? Make your own card and envelope. Be creative.
- Free e-cards are everywhere on the Internet. These are easy ways to send a grateful thought to someone.
- When you go out to eat or patronize a store that gives you exceptional service, ask for the manager. Tell her what a wonderful time you had and how nice it was to visit.
- Whenever you write a check, jot the words "Thank You!" in the memo line. Even though you're parting with your dear cash, think of the goods or services you enjoyed in return. (Some people believe that this practice will attract wealth... you never know unless you try!) When you endorse a check, be sure to write thank you for the abundance.
- Thank the people in your life who would least expect it. "Mom, thank you for having me." She'll probably come back at you with a shocked look, but think how dull the world would be without you!
- Thank a child for something. Children learn from example. Teach your children about gratitude when they're young.
- Thank an elder. Our elders have such a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer us. Take a moment to express your gratitude to a special older person in your life.
- Write a thank you letter to your Higher Power. Express your gratitude for your life and all that is around you.
- Write a letter of thanks to yourself. What are your special gifts and traits? What makes you uniquely you?
Challenge yourself to practicing these acts of gratitude everyday for the next month. Use your creative gifts to add that unique touch of yours to the way you express thanks. Your creativity will rise to the occasion at unexpected times. Welcome it and have fun!
Nancy Marmolejo is a life and business coach for creative women and the owner of Comadre Coaching.