I used to deny it when someone would call me creative. My mom brain instantly dismisses compliments because there is so much I know I’m doing wrong. Plus, being called creative means pressure because if people think it, then I actually have to be creative!
Yet, as I read Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg I realized that all moms are creative. In fact, moms are innovation brokers, people particularly talented at taking concepts from one area and using them in another. Examples are all around us: in easing separation anxiety, exercising with your kids, preparing healthy lunches, reacting to fits and bad attitudes, and fostering creativity and play in your kids.
Moms are using creativity every day, but we often don’t recognize it because we think of it more as survival. Getting your kids out of bed, making lunches, grocery shopping with kids, staving off boredom in waiting rooms, stopping them from touching germy surfaces. All these situations can require creativity to save your sanity.
Creativity is really just fancy problem solving. And we often solve problems best when faced with desperate moments. A mom in a public bathroom might spontaneously burst into a game of “touch your head, touch your nose” because she is desperate to make sure her child doesn’t bring home extra germs. She is too far away from her child to physically stop him, so her brain links together her current situation with a creative way to keep her child occupied and not touching the floor (or other bathroom features.)
Creativity doesn’t have to mean creating new ideas. It means using the ideas you have in new ways. The nursery rhyme can be soothing at bedtime, but in a long waiting line, it can be just the right spark to engage your child and stave off that fit.
But we all know that there are plenty of moments when creativity doesn’t strike, but you wish it would. Duhigg has three ways to help increase your creative juices.
Be sensitive to your own experiences.
Take the time to notice how things make you think and feel. Look at your life and your interactions with the people in your life. Your life, your children, your routines, and your schedule are not like anyone else’s. Examine and embrace your unique.
Don’t ignore the feelings of panic and stress.
Instead use those feelings to allow yourself to be open to creativity. Desperate moments are often what leads us to create solutions. In the heat of the moment, take a deep breath and feel yourself flex your creative muscle. An answer just might be within your grasp.
Don’t get too comfortable with your ideas.
Having a creative breakthrough can often make us comfortable and keep us from seeing alternatives. We might latch on to that idea and not allow ourselves to see ways to improve it or even completely different ideas. Celebrate your ideas, but make sure to keep looking at things with a different perspective.
Creativity is another tool to add to your belt as you create your best life. You’re already being creative. Now you can admit it and let your creativity flow.