Some of us are called to live lives of creativity and unconventionality (you know who you are). I sometimes wonder if all, not just some of us, are meant to live such lives (which would mean, in an ideal world, there would be no such thing as conventionality), but most people ignore the call and instead live muted, dulled versions of what their lives could have been for the sake of convenience, comfort, stability and/or money.
Either way — if you hear the call, don’t ignore it.
As I’m sure everyone can relate to, one of the most tragic parts about growing into adulthood was how the pressures of the real world slowly but surely bury and stifle the wild and free imagination that was mine in childhood. I never lost it completely; it just went into dormancy.
I am only now just beginning to unbury that creative essence. Recently, my sleepy but awakening inner child gifted me with a sudden, brief flash of clarity that I felt compelled to write down to remind myself of whenever I get bogged down with the kinds of things that put my inner child to sleep in the first place.
I hope these reminders can also be helpful to any kindred spirits out there.
1. Throw positive, inspired action in the direction of your dreams.
But don’t obsess over what that action should be. One of my dreams is to be an author. And right now, I have a specific book that I intend to write, but I sometimes hit a wall when brainstorming, or I just don’t feel inspired to brainstorm at all. But I should force myself to keep brainstorming, right?
My intention is to create a storyline for this book, so my action should be to brainstorm ideas and figure the damn thing out already.
This kind of thinking usually precedes the good old spiral of negativity, which typically goes something like this:
Ugh. I can’t believe how long this is taking me. Why can’t I think of anything good? Whatever, I’m going on Facebook now.
Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, especially when you’re stuck on details. For example, instead of, “I want to be an author of this specific book,” I’ve been trying, “I want to be a writer,” and then just start writing whatever I feel like writing at the moment. Anything.
Trust that taking broader action can and will spill over into your specific goals.
2. Stop judging yourself and being scared to make mistakes.
Just create. Ideally, creating should be something that’s carefree, flowing and fun, just like it was when you were a kid. Judging yourself not only sucks all the fun out of it, but stifles (and sometimes even kills) the entire process. Don’t be afraid of bad ideas.
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” ~ Brene Brown
Failure is inevitable. I find that I usually have to come up with at least a hundred badideas before finally stumbling across a good one. I also recently noticed that I often turn taking action towards my dreams into a grueling, exhausting ordeal, with all of my critical, negative self-talk.
Upon finally realizing this, it hit me… why should I be anything but positive and overflowing with love and patience for myself, especially when taking the time to follow after my dreams?
But in order to do any of this, it’s essential to…
3. Trust yourself.
Trust that you are creative. Trust that you can trust yourself, even after you fail. Trust that everything you need to fulfill your dreams is already within you now.
4. Get comfortable with discomfort…
… and with the fact that you probably never will. Putting yourself out there is uncomfortable; failure is uncomfortable. As with so many things in life, I believe involved detachment is key; remember and stay open to the infinite possibilities available to you.
Don’t be afraid to pour your time and energy into creating an entire world, only to have to demolish and re-build it from scratch. It’s all meant to be.
5. Embrace the messiness.
As a bit of an organization control freak, I’m learning that I need to stop trying fit everything I do into a neat little category. I need to let go of the compulsion to have everything outlined, listed and planned out. This mindset simply isn’t compatible with creativity, which is often sporadic, bursting and nonlinear.
6. Stop waiting around for the perfect time.
Because it will never come. It is now. Don’t wait around for inspiration — sure, there are those wonderful, effortless times when she will pay me a surprise visit, but I find she usually prefers to meet me halfway.
7. Vibrate at the level of your dreams.
Act as though your dreams are already yours. It’s no mystery that we attract what we emit. Live from a place of belief that your dreams are already as good as realized (while, of course, taking action towards them) and they will manifest faster. I find the principle of Acting As If to be tremendously helpful when it comes to this.
8. Stop worrying about how to make money from what you’re creating.
What more could anyone want than to make a living doing what they love? It’s okay to acknowledge that this is your end hope, but don’t focus too much on monetization; it will only side-track you and may cheapen your creation. All that matters is going in the direction of your passion. Trust that all material needs will naturally follow in right timing.
9. You don’t have to have just one purpose.
You may have one primary passion that trumps all others. You may have several, or even a dozen, things you’re passionate about. You may even have a number of interests, but aren’t even sure what you’re passionate about yet. Your passions may remain constant throughout your life, or they could change completely and numerous times.
Don’t feel like you have to choose just one calling.
10. Plan (optional).
I’ve heard many times that the intentions we set must be clear ones, but I haven’t found this to be necessarily true for me. Yes, the clearer the intention, the better… usually.
However, if your heart is being pulled strongly in a certain direction, but you’re not sure exactly what that means (ex: I feel compelled to develop my intuitive abilities, but I don’t know to what end or for what purpose), you don’t necessarily have to wait around for a clear goal to form.
Set an open-ended intention, take positive action in the direction you’re being pulled, and trust the specifics will form as you go.
“The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them ‘grown up.’ The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of schooling, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying ways of the world. The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin