But if you stop and really look, you will notice that kids need to create chaos while they are playing. They need to pull out all the Legos, all the Barbie’s clothes, all the stuffed animals, all the dinosaurs. And then, from this chaos, stories start to emerge: The dinosaurs engage in a fight with the teddy bear, while the Lego helicopter comes to rescue with Giant Barbie dressed in a mismatched outfit (and missing a shoe), and then everyone goes happily together to eat some plastic spaghetti in The Cardboard Box that lies in the corner (that is the new restaurant/hospital/garage in town). And everything starts again.
What happens in our mind is not very different. All the pieces of information we have amassed with time are archived more or less nicely in several boxes in our brain, like toys well organized in a giant playroom. I have the feeling that the more creative people are able to really throw all the content of their mental boxes on an imaginary floor and play around with the content to create amazing stories. They connect one piece with the other, then rearrange things, and try new combinations.
Our imagination is a very powerful tool, because it allows us to do this sort of thing at any moment, with any element we want, to solve any problem, to write any story in our head and keep changing it.
And we all do that all the time. Not only artists, or inventors, or successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Richard Branson.
All children have this creative power, and all adults too. It is in our brain, it is how our brain is wired to function.
To allow this process to really work at its best, we need to allow that creative chaos, though. I am sorry, perfectionists, this is how it works!
As a reformed perfectionist, I know that I am the most creative and productive when I allow myself to enjoy the process without freaking out about the messy bits. (Ok, I do freak out. But I remind myself that it is part of the process and to calm down).
To be able to really use this amazing tool that we have, we need to know how it works, and learn how to train our creative brain like we would train our body.
The first part of the training, is to understand the different steps involved in the creative process. In this way, we can really play with them, jump from one to the other and back again, make them work for us instead of being controlled by our fears and desire to control.
THE TREE STEPS OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
It looks quite easy right? Well, it is. We all have those skills, but they can be trained and made more effective and powerful.
Let’s start with the first step: training our IMAGINATION!
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR IMAGINATION:
- LOOK at the objects in a thrift store, or a flea market. Imagine how they ended there. (This is one of my favorites!)
- IMAGINE how your dream home (or studio) would be. Close your eyes and choose every detail carefully. Rearrange furniture around, change the color of the walls. What if it is blue? Or yellow?
- CREATE a new ending for a story (from a book or a movie for example). Even better if you didn’t like the original ending: You can make your own now! You can do that also with a book you haven’t finished yet. Stop reading and imagine: What will happen now?
- SHARE ideas for the perfect holiday with your partner or best friend. Don’t limit yourself! Imagine you have all the money and time. Where would you go? What would you do?