Have you ever caught yourself saying something fun or relaxing is a waste of time? I know I have – especially when I’m super-deep in a gigantic project and highly focused on getting stuff done. I have to remind myself that a nice creativity recharge can do wonders for focus, ideas, and overall energy.
This post is part of a 14 part series on How to Be a Better Person. I’ve also super-duper fancied this group of posts up into an Amazon Kindle book. Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God.
1) Army vs. Puffy White Things
There were two things that I really enjoyed playing with, and melting, when I was a child. Those funky little dark-green army figurines and the big marshmallows. Not the minis – those don’t count. One represented the beginnings of strategy and national security. The other stood for playful snacking and memorable eating.
These are things that are so close to you from childhood, you probably have never given them another thought. But you sure as hee-haw get flooded with fond memories when you see them again. Tapping into these good experiences can help you practice focusing on the good.
What happens when we mix these two together? Draw a stick figure army attacking a big bag of marshmallows. Imagine what happens when an army figure gets engulfed by a marshmallow. Picture the mallow getting swarmed by a platoon. What happens? Want bonus points? Use the real thing.
Draw from your childhood to bust boundaries and enjoy creative playing.
2) Home Sweet Crayons
Who doesn’t remember converting all of their childhood memories into crayon and paper landscapes? That waxy smell, those sometimes weird color names, and the pain inside that comes with one accidentally breaking while coloring. Such a great tool – such great outcomes.
There’s something to be had there. You didn’t sit around trying to figure out what to draw. You just drew. You picked up the crayon, found a blank spot on the paper, and just went at it. No doubts. No second thoughts. Just action. Simple tools didn’t get in the way.
Find a big sheet of paper. Find some crayons. Just start drawing anything. And since there’s a big chance you’ll spend too much time thinking about it (not that you’re a “grown up”), here’s an idea. Draw your childhood house. Close your eyes, get the picture inside, and just scribble down a draft version of it. Bring it out and put it down.
Simple tools enable immediate action – get simple.
3) Rough Purple Ideas
It’s Saturday afternoon and the family is hungry. Do you go to the burger joint or the fried chicken place? Do you eat there or go home? Do you super size or down size? What, oh what, should you do with these choices. How about something different?
Too many times you go through the day doing things the way you’ve always done them without giving it much thought. You might not be aware that there are other choices to add to your list. Other choices that could change your life or at least make it more enjoyable. Being able to find these choices is a skill you need to learn.
Get a sheet of paper, fold it in half, write ‘purple’ on one side of the fold-line and ‘rough’ on the other side. List as many purple things on the ‘purple’ side and as many rough things on the ‘rough’ side as you can. Now combine one word from each side to get a new idea. Do this 4 more times. Look over your 5 new ideas and imagine something useful.
Look outside of the box of the familiar and see new possibilities.
4) More than Meets Your Eyes
There’s just nothing like laying down in the warm and crunchy green grass on a nice afternoon. A gentle breeze flowing over your skin. Your hands behind your head tilting your view for the perfect cloud gazing angle. Slowly watching the shapes in the sky transform into all kinds of interesting things. Relaxing. Refreshing. Awesome.
Sometimes the best way to recharge your creative juices is to let creativity happen to you. You can gain so much by just going with the flow and taking advantage of the tons of creativity that happens all around you every day. Actively trying to notice these forces is an amazing idea.
Go outside, lie down, and look up. Find at least 3 different objects in the clouds. Watch them slowly transform into dragons, stuffed animals, and pieces of pizza. Relax and let it flow.
Give yourself permission to enjoy life’s creative flow.
5) Playing with Dough
You already know that simple tools help get your logical mind out of the way and let the creative mind come out and play. This is a good thing. Remember that really simple tool you used to love for making a 3D play world? Smushing, rolling, and maybe even tasting was the name of the game when it came to play dough.
Getting deep into the creative process is one step closer to getting your head totally out of the way and just letting things flow. There’s nothing like diving into projects and play, getting your hands dirty and creating with reckless abandon.
Google “play-dough recipe.” Get your ingredients together and make some. Play with it. Play with it for a long time. Relive your childhood and make those awesome things you used to make when playing with dough was all that mattered.
Get your hands dirty and shut off that naggy logical mind for a while.
6) Blossoming Solutions
Okay, I’ll admit I used to be one of these people. You know the ones. They want to be and do so much but they keep defaulting to the same excuse: “I can’t come up with any good ideas” or “I just don’t know what to do.” This is understandable as most work environments don’t help build the creative qualities in their folks.
But then I came to realize it’s time for me to take my creative skills growth into my own hands. Everybody is unique and has a ton of varying preferences. I can understand why there’s no real room for creativity growth in most normal office environments. It’s a sad thing because opening up your mind to the infinite possibilities of life is so important for growth.
The trick in growing your creative genius is to use tools to help focus those creative juices. Try the Lotus Blossom brainstorming method on a difficult problem you have around the house. Then do at least 1 of the ideas you come up with to fix it. Prepare to be amazed. Seriously.
Creative growth worked for the first 7 years of your life; do it again.
7) A Passionate Dish
So you’re sold on brainstorming and growing your creativity now, right? That’s good. Sometimes having only one tool to go to can slow you down in your creative growth. It’s best to have choices when it comes to pulling ideas out of your infinite idea generator: your brain.
There are a ton of great brainstorming books out there and I will recommend anything by Michael Michalko until I’m blue in the face. He does a great job explaining and showing instead of just telling. I’d also point you to the brainstorming section on my website where I have quite a few methods and cheat-sheets available for free use.
For now, let’s try and make another tasty idea dish. Let’s see if we can find your life passions through the Fruit-Root-Tree brainstorming exercise. It’s quick and fun and will probably leave your mouth watering with possibilities. I’ve also got a book that goes into this line of thinking in more detail.
Dish out the ideas and start growing your life again.
8) Leaning Tower of Dough
Playing around and enjoying life is a great thing that will help you feel better, relax, and appreciate the comfort level you’ve obtained to date. Want to take it up a notch in the fun and challenging factor? It’s something we need to do to keep our minds and motivations fresh. All fun and no play, well, there’s something to that.
Creative, useful, and practical play is a perfect combination of fun and output. What’s a key difference between an entrepreneur and a cube-environment worker? An entrepreneur isn’t working, she’s having a dang good time solving problems for other people in exchange for time, resources, and freedom. She’s doing something personally useful, fun, and beneficial for her personal empire. She’s having fun and getting stuff done.
Build your entrepreneurial spirit by having more fun getting useful stuff done. Let’s start out small, though. Use that play-dough you made from before, along with some toothpicks, to make a tower. Try to touch the ceiling. That’s the challenging goal for this fun exercise. You’re not just playing, you’re solving a problem and learning along the way.
Align yourself with a useful outcome and have a blast doing it.
8 Ways to Become a Better Person by Using Creativity:
- Army vs. Puffy White Things
- Home Sweet Crayons
- Rough Purple Ideas
- More than Meets Your Eyes
- Playing with Dough
- Blossoming Solutions
- A Passionate Dish
- Leaning Tower of Dough
Pick up your pack of crayons, your bucket of water colors, and your green army men and have some fun being a better you.
Want to get the whole series in a convenient ebook?
Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God