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Developing Your Personal Creativity: A Powerful Force

Financial Journey (featured column)
by Karen Kuebler

As adults, we often limit our thinking and problem solving to fit known patterns and solutions. This can create invisible boundaries around our problems and circumstances. Developing creativity and resourcefulness can help us break through those artificial boundaries.

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"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up." - Pablo Picasso

The subject of creativity has always been very important to me. I believe creativity and resourcefulness can help us solve complex problems in life, as well as many of our simple day to day issues. I also think it is a key trait for those who are working to achieve their financial goals. I think we all have this creativity and child within, but some of us awaken it more often, let it into our thoughts, listen more carefully, and are more aware of the powerful force it can be in our lives.

I used to think I was a very untalented and uncreative person. This was at the point in my life I met my sweet husband. I equated talent and creativity primarily with the arts. I couldn’t sing, play a musical instrument, paint, write, design, etc. I had not killed the child within, but I let her go into a deep sleep for several years! It was my husband who helped me understand talents and creativity come in many forms. I had to let go of my preconceived notions of what a talented or creative person should look or act like. I had to remove the labels I had put on myself as an untalented and uncreative person.

Thank goodness I was able to do that. When you unleash the creativity within, you are letting a powerful force loose! And, it has a snowball effect. The more you use it, the more it grows. I became very creative when I quit work and had to learn to live on less income and pay off our debts. The more creative I allowed myself to be, the more I lived it on a day to day basis. My husband is a very creative person too. Combining our creativity and resourcefulness through the years has been a powerful force in finding ways to do things without having to spend a lot of money.

Take some time to observe children. They are natural artists because they allow their creativity to run free. Their imagination knows no boundaries and nobody has made them believe they can’t do something. So how do you preserve or awaken the child within once you’ve outgrown your youth? Think about the activities you enjoyed as a child. Watch some children play and observe the uninhibited way they have fun and enjoy life. Try it! Play games of hide and seek or tag. Have a water fight, balloon fight or snowball fight. Get out the squirt guns and play with them. Make mud pies. Okay, by now you probably think I’ve lost it! Seriously, though, if you let yourself play more, you will start to awaken that child within. This is important to help you lose inhibitions and allow your imagination to start to roam. A child’s imagination is boundless. Ideas are limited only by the boundaries we have set with our adult imaginations.

Ask questions when you are examining a situation or problem. If I had unlimited resources to fix this, what would I do? What if I had a magic wand? How would a person who lived in the 18th century do this? What would I do if I were on a deserted island? Notice how creative Tom Hanks was in "The Castaway." What is another way this can be done?

Ask a child how they would fix something or solve a certain problem. You might pick up some innovative ideas, and very fresh perspectives. Children haven’t had their imaginations spoiled with the concept that things cannot be done or that magic doesn’t exist.

Brainstorm with friends to generate ideas. Brainstorming is a powerful tool for developing creativity. Remember, with brainstorming, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Every idea is welcome. Springboard from idea to idea. Wild and crazy are not only acceptable, but invited!

There are also some great books on the subject of developing your inner-self and creativity. "A Whack on the Side of the Head: How to Unlock Your Mind for Innovation," by Roger von Oech is a great book. I particularly liked a suggestion he makes to change some of our routines that have become rooted in our daily lives. Drive a different route to work. Live a day backwards. Get up and watch the sunrise, then start the day with dinner in the morning. Take your dog for an evening walk in the morning. Watch a video movie and take a nap. Go to the gym after your nap, then run your errands. Eat breakfast at a coffee shop late in the day. The idea is to disrupt your normal routine to get out of comfortable ruts. Watch Saturday morning cartoons or rent an animated children’s movie that you loved as a child.

As adults, we often limit our thinking and problem solving to fit known patterns and solutions. This can create invisible boundaries around our problems and circumstances. Developing creativity and resourcefulness can help us break through those artificial boundaries. When we have accomplished that, our possibilities are limitless!

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Copyright 2001 by Karen Kuebler. All rights reserved.

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