Creativity: Our Natural State

Welcome back to the week folks. Here’s a little something to ease you into your Monday:  a wonderful reminder from Jonah Lehrer that our decisions profoundly affect those around us, even down to the smallest detail. Are you allowing yourself to be as creative as you can be?

As a kid, I remember relishing the times when we were allowed to draw in class. However, I distinctly recall the teacher coming by during this free art time to suggest colors to use or remind us that the “picture might look better if we stayed inside the lines.” I would comply, but as soon as I was home, I’d pour all of my crayons and pencils out onto the floor and see what would happen if I made a tree blue, or created my own shapes that I could color in with whatever hue suited my eye. After years of normative judgments on similar creative pursuits, we learn the safe and correct way to accomplish an “artistic” goal. But since when do the terms “safe” or “correct” belong in this creative realm?

We often stunt ourselves and ideas, or feverishly search for obstacles, or make some half-hearted excuse as to why we should not express ourselves to the fullest extent. Perhaps it’s more likely that we’re afraid of all that we’re capable of doing than of the challenges themselves. Doubt is the ultimate assassin – of dreams, of  relationships, of aspirations – but it doesn’t mean we have to submit to it. Next time you sense it sneaking into your thoughts, think creatively. There is rarely one correct way to do something, so no harm in challenging yourself to find an alternative avenue or two.

22 thoughts on “Creativity: Our Natural State

  1. Have you seen the book “Willow?” It’s a children’s book about this very thing. (

    I’m trying to keep ahead of my daughter’s kindergarten art teacher. When my daughter tells me the rules about art, I tell her it’s important to learn the rules so she can break them 🙂 She could fail that art class and I wouldn’t care. The important thing to me is that she can save her creativity from public school.

    • I hadn’t until you passed along the link! The book sounds lovely, and as you said, very apropos for this conversation.

      I think what you’re doing with your daughter is the perfect way to encourage her own creativity. Love that idea: “learn the rules so she can break them.” Thanks for sharing Melissa and hope to see you again soon.

  2. Amen Sista! You said this so elquently and right on. This is the problem for most of us. Great post! This is exactly what I try to communicate through Art Epicurean….but you said it so perfectly!

  3. Spot-on, as always!

    Colouring INSIDE the lines is like thinking INSIDE the box… To be creative, and we all are, just practice free thinking, ask “What if…?” instead of just complying to the ‘norm’… Who is this illusive person Norm, anyway?

    Great post, super little inspirational tonic. Thank you!

  4. I actually have Jonah Lehrer’s book on my list to buy, so this was a great post to read. Love what you’ve written here and I agree completely. Who decides what “normal” looks like? Only we who create, that’s who.

  5. Wow! You are dead on! And you know what I also realized? All those people who always tell us we can’t do anything or to stay in the lines usually are the people who aren’t creative, passionate, or really good at anything at all. They just live the life society has laid out for us but maybe thats not for everyone. Great post!!

  6. This post made me think of two things . . . 1. When my children were little I provided crayons, markers, colored pencils and paper. We had no coloring books in the house! They only place they had them was at their grandmother’s house. They were always surprised when their friends didn’t know what to do with a blank piece of paper. All of my children think outside the box and do not always color in the lines! 2. Creativity must be nurtured in all areas, not just art. We tend to forget that creativity includes drama, dance, writing, problem solving, etc. Loved this!

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