Did you know you can train fleas to stay in a jar?
Put them in a jar and screw on the lid. They will jump and bump the lid repeatedly, because they can jump much higher than the lid. After a few days, take the lid off. They won’t jump out. They still have the ABILITY to jump out, but hitting the lid over and over trained them that there was a limit. Even with the lid removed, they still BELIEVE the limitation exists.
I believe we were all created with incredible creative potential. I also believe there are ‘lids’ placed on our creativity throughout our lives: criticisms, failures, painful experiences, teasing, comparing ourselves to others, fear… the list goes on and on. Eventually, we need to remove these lids so our creativity can jump higher.
How do we do that?
Take a Risk
We live in a risk-averse culture. Need proof? Calculate how much money you spend a month on insurance. Include health, auto, home, life and disability. It adds up. Also, we buy insurance in other forms – warranties and money-back guarantees. We don’t want to take any unnecessary risks and apparently we’re willing to pay for it.
Ironically, almost anything worth accomplishing requires risk. Herodotus said “Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks.” Seth Godin says “Safe really is risky.”
Where are you playing it safe? Is it holding back your creativity?
Just Do It
Creativity = Imagination + Action. Imagination alone won’t be enough, you have to do something with it. Be willing to prototype your ideas. Create a rough sketch, an outline, jot down some notes, put together a plan. Start making something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you wait until the idea is perfect, you’ll never start working on it.
According to the Surgeon General, perfectionism is the leading cause of procrastination.
Put Your Prints on It
You are unique. Shouldn’t your work be as well? Shouldn’t what you do reflect who you are?
Don’t ask a generic question like, “What would a dancer do now?”
Ask, “How was I created to do this dance?”
Simply following the lines set by others will deflate your creativity.
Don’t let your roles define who you are, let who you are define your roles.
This has a double-meaning.
First, look up because the lid may have already been removed. Like the fleas in the jar, you might just be limiting yourself – afraid of hitting your head on a lid that isn’t there.
Secondly, look up for inspiration. If you believe you are a created being, then look to the Creator for direction. That is the source of creativity which we synthesize into our daily lives. Like sunlight on leaves giving energy to the tree.
I hope this helps you to jump higher… right out of the jar!