Imagine there was an international humanitarian organisation that investigated the way creativity was treated around the world.
Their aim was ensure that your creativity – and the creativity of everyone else – was treated fairly, looked after, given the nurture it needed to flourish.
What if they came knocking at your door with their investigations? How would you stand up in court, accused of crimes against your creativity?
Here are 5 of the most common committed. Are you as innocent as you think?
1. Infidelity. Your creativity is in many ways the great love of your life, your loyal partner that will always be there when called upon, and never cheat on you. But in return, you spend your time, energy and money on cheap, meaningless activities like watching TV, or eating junk food to avoiding giving time to your creativity. Isn’t this like having a beautiful partner at home then instead of lavishing time and love on him or her, going out trying to pick up hollow one night stands in seedy bars? Give your creativity the energy and the affection it craves and deserves, devote regular time, make it feel special and wanted. Give it your love, your loyalty and your fidelity.
2. Verbal Abuse. How often do you tell yourself in positive terms how creative you are, and how unique and valuable your creative talents are? Is your inner soundtrack like a college cheerleading team, ever enthusiastic and spurning your creativity to new heights? Or do you instead regularly tell yourself things like you’re not really creative at all, you’re not a “proper” artist, you’re lazy, and why even bother starting new creative projects when it’s unlikely they’ll be any good or even get finished? If you subjected another human being to this kind of incessant verbal abuse, they’d be a depressed, quivering shell. So why do it to your own creativity?
3. Neglect. A famous scientific experiment investigating the power of physical affection used two groups of new born rats. One group was given all the food and water they needed, but kept in isolation, and never handled physically. The other group had the exact same conditions, except they were physically handled and stroked several times a day. All the baby rats not given physical attention died within a few days, whilst the others thrived and grew healthily. Are you doing this with your creativity? Are you neglecting it so much, ignoring it even exists so much that it’s shrivelling up and decaying a little more each day?
4. Torture. If you starved someone for days, then taunted them with gorgeous food, without giving them the opportunity to eat any of it, wouldn’t that amount to a cruel form of torture? So is it really any different when you keep buying new materials and equipment, so your creativity’s mouth starts watering, but then you never actually commit to putting time aside to sit down and let yourself be creative with them? Would you do that to a child, buy them lots of new crayons and coloured paper and glue and glitter then get home and say: “No, sorry Josh, you can’t actually use these, we don’t have time, and we’re not going to make time in the foreseeable future”? Then why are you torturing your creativity in that way?
5. Wounding With Intent. Some crimes seem so innocuous they surely can’t really do any harm, can they? Especially if they seem positive on the surface? What about telling yourself each time you create something that it’s good, but it could be better. It’s not quite perfect. What about every time you begin a new project, telling yourself not to get your hopes up because it’s unlikely you’ll be able to create something as great as your past glories, and even they weren’t all that special then? These kind of subtle words have a dramatic effect on your creativity over time. Each one is a wound with intent, each one makes your creativity a little more bruised, a little more weary. Be aware when of when you’re so desperately seeking perfection that anything less is dismissed and undervalued.
So, how many of these violent crimes are YOU guilty of?
Focus on the one that you feel is doing most damage to your creativity, and be more aware of how your actions, however small, are chipping away and sabotaging your ability to be as creative as you can be, day by day. It’s never too late to give up your life a crime and hit the straight and narrow!
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