Recently I read a story about a dad cleaning out the garage with his five-year-old daughter. When they came across a large brown cardboard square, he saw a box. His daughter squealed with delight. Why? She visualized a lemonade stand! Together they turned her active imagination into reality. The next day the little girl set up shop serving ice-cold lemonade to neighbors and anyone who happened down the block. You can imagine her pride at the end of the workday when she smiled up at her dad displaying a grand total of $27.12 kept safely in a shoe box.
The lesson in the story lingered with me for days. It is so natural for children to think outside the box, but sometimes a difficult feat for adults. We all possess the ability to be creative. Sometimes inventiveness hides beneath the surface giving us the impression we have lost our ability to innovate.
When was the last time you let your imagination soar? What month or year was it when you broke the rules and did the unthinkable? Draw on your memory to conjure up your most creative project. Remember feeling the joy of breaking the boundaries?
The trick to being creative is to draw out your inner optimist. Stop fretting the outcome, just let go and have fun. Much like a runner preparing for a marathon, you can get in the zone by employing some warm up strategies.
Music can stimulate your creative genes. Do what Einstein did…listen to Mozart. Tune in to some good old rock and roll if that is your preference. Tap into nature by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting an interesting trail to release endorphins. Maybe a quiet stroll in the park strikes your fancy. Stimulate your mind by doing crosswords or a puzzle.
Once you’ve done your warm up, relax. Let the new ideas percolate up to the surface. Starting to feel that creative spark? Write all your thoughts down. Don’t strive for perfection. Brainstorm and have fun with it.
What’s next? Action! Pour out your inspiration into a project. Start that children’s book you always wanted to write, or hit the craft store for supplies and begin to paint your masterpiece. Create and compile a book of poems, sign up for piano lessons, or enroll in a drama class.
Continue to develop your inventive side. Make it a habit to tap into your creativity often. By doing so, I promise you the next time you view a brown cardboard square, you will NOT see a box. Now, let’s go make some lemonade!