How to Harness Creativity as a Superpower

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Welcome to Good Enough Creative, a podcast for creative people.

Hi again, welcome back! I’m your host, Marie Greene, and today I want to talk about superpowers. Have you ever thought of creativity as a superpower? It’s one thing to feel creative when you sit down to write, draw, or paint something, but what about all the ways we use creativity in our regular lives – you know, the times where we have go to work and figure out dinner and navigate the regular challenges of being human? Being creative is for so much more than just looks.

Creativity is a life skill – it’s an apocalyptic superpower that makes it possible for us to both turn a piece of stone into a sculpture AND make make decisions, adapt to change, and problem-solve when we’re faced with the inevitable challenges of life. 

Creativity is about making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts. It’s a tool we can use to navigate life and transform how we interact with the world.

We think of creativity happening in an artist’s studio, but a boardroom executive has to think creatively, too. And so does a parent who has to figure out how to stretch the budget, figure out a new career path in midlife or even come up with a plan to renovate the bathroom. Creativity is how we navigate the unknown, it’s how we deal with limited resources and solve problems we haven’t faced before. That old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention” came into being for a reason.

When we’re creative, we can face an obstacle with an artist’s eye – instead of seeing a challenge as a barrier, we have the tools (because we’re CREATIVE!) to build a bridge over it. Or tunnel under it. Or look for the lesson. Or steer around it.

Creativity isn’t just for people who think they’re artists. I was at a birthday party recently and the topic of creativity came up. I was surprised at how many people in the room – adults – middle aged like me – said they’re not creative. And I challenged them. What makes you say that? Why don’t you think you’re creative? And all of them came back to that idea that they don’t love arts and crafts. And I think that’s such a disservice to the power of creativity – I think we all have it, and I don’t think it necessarily has to come out in the form of crafting. Creativity is problem-solving.

So let’s talk about 5 ways that we can harness creativity as a superpower – even for people who don’t feel like they’re particularly creative; at least not in traditional ways.  

First – we can apply creativity to the way we communicate.

One of the ways that creativity improves communication is through storytelling. Stories have the power to captivate attention, evoke emotions, and convey complex ideas in a relatable way. By sharing stories in our conversations, presentations, or written communication, we can make our messages more compelling and relatable. This storytelling approach can bridge gaps between different audiences, helping us find ways that we can relate to each other – in spite of our differences. Stories help us find common ground.

Another way we can apply creativity to our communication is through humor. It can make it easier to break the ice, lower someone’s defenses, and create a sense of camaraderie. It’s hard to be upset with someone when they’ve made you giggle. Humor can turn a tough topic into an approachable discussion, making it easier to be open and honest in the exchange of ideas.

2. We can make our daily activities more interesting and more productive using creativity.

Did you ever watch Mary Poppins? There’s a scene where she turns the children’s bedroom cleaning chore into a whole fun song and dance. Granted, cleaning my house has never been quite that fun, but there’s something to be said for applying a little creativity to an otherwise mundane task. Play your favorite music. Brainstorm out loud to yourself as you load the dishes in the dishwasher. Sing while you mow the lawn. Being creativity can help us pass the time and it can make an otherwise miserable task a little more bearable.

3. We can also lean on creativity in our personal development goals.

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying that creativity is just connecting things, and if we think of all the ways we might connect one idea to another in our everyday lives – those are a lot of connections.

Steve Jobs’ perspective on creativity as this process of forming connections offers us profound insight into how we can use this tool, this superpower, of creativity for just about anything. But in terms of personal development, this idea encourages us to look beyond the boundaries of our everyday thinking and recognize the opportunity for innovation and growth as we combine seemingly unrelated ideas, skills, and experiences. By fostering a creative mindset, we can unlock new ways to achieve our goals.

At its core, using creativity to form connections for personal development involves seeing the connectedness of seemingly unrelated aspects of our lives and the world around us. For example, drawing parallels between the discipline required to learn to play the guitar and the perseverance needed to advance in your career. Both of these things require a commitment to the goal and a strong work ethic. By creatively linking these two unrelated things, we can cultivate qualities in one area of our lives that contribute to our growth in another.

Creativity encourages us to get more involved with our experiences in new and unusual ways. This might involve applying problem-solving techniques from one part of your life to challenges in another, or using insights that you’ve gained from your hobbies to enhance your professional skills or solve problems in a relationship. For example, learning to problem-solve your knitting might give you the confidence to solve problems elsewhere in your life. I know it sounds overly simple, but we really can make those connections.

Beyond that, creativity can help us foster resilience and adaptability— which are key components of personal growth. When we’re faced with setbacks or challenges, a creative approach encourages us to look for unconventional solutions and draw on a wider and more diverse range of resources. This makes it a little easier to navigate difficulties and helps us become more resilient.

4. Creativity can help us solve problems more quickly.  

One of the things I’ve noticed is that it’s easy to be trapped in thinking the same thoughts over and over, never coming to an actual conclusion. It takes a lot of mental energy, but we don’t end up getting anywhere. It takes creativity to think of a different answer – even when it might be right in front of our faces. Here’s a great example: Recently I was sharing with a friend that there’s a certain annual event that I do in my business, and I’ve created a tradition of doing it every year at the same time. But every year, I find it frustrating. It interferes with my holidays and time with family, and in the end it never really feels worth the amount of time and sacrifice that I put into it. But because it’s a tradition and everyone expects it, I haven’t felt like I had a choice in scrapping the idea and trying something else. In my mind, it was all or nothing – and I knew scrapping it altogether wasn’t an option, so I just kept feeling stuck. I shared the idea with my friend and her immediate response was, “Why don’t you just move it on the calendar so it’s not plaguing you during the holidays?” Wait… move it? Why didn’t I think of that? If I had sat down and used creativity to brainstorm a solution, I’m sure that idea would have eventually come to me. But sometimes what we do is that we already decide that something isn’t going to work or that we don’t have any options, so we don’t even allow our creativity to support us. There are some ideas hiding right in front of our faces, and if we immediately decide that there’s nothing we can do – then that will be true. But if we decide to put on our thinking caps, to brainstorm, to bounce some ideas around, there might be some much easier answers hiding in plain sight.

Heck, sometimes I use creativity just to figure out what to make for dinner. I like to pretend that I’m on Chopped (the Food Network challenge) and I’ll just give myself a handful of ingredients and challenge myself to come up with a winning meal. There’s no panel of judges, and – the one possible judge – my husband – thinks corndogs are delicious, so basically, like I said, there are no judges. But I’m still applying creativity to a regular, ordinary daily experience. It’s not art, but it’s dinner – and that’s important, too.

5. Creativity can give us something to look forward to.

Look – this is an easy one. If you’ve ever found yourself imagining your future and it’s a hot dumpster fire garbage mess, that is using your creative superpowers for evil. Don’t do that. Because if we spend a lot of energy thinking about worst case scenarios, that’s not only a ton of wasted energy, but it’s super depressing, and it’s also a good way to accidentally create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We can use creativity to imagine the most joyful outcomes for ourselves. We can imagine wonderful opportunities. We can set meaningful goals and have aspirations, and we can use creativity to not only envision them, but also to find our way toward them. To set goals. To make space in our lives for the things we imagine. We can turn our ideas about the future into a blank canvas, and we can let our imagination paint a vision for something better.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Being a creative person means being a problem-solver, and finding new and interesting ways to handle the unexpected. You can be creative at work, with your partners, with your friends, with your neighbors – you can be creative in any relationship, project or goal. Creativity is a superpower and we all have it – don’t ever think, not for a single minute, that just because you don’t like arts and crafts or think you’re not good at them, that you are not a creative person. You are. You’re inherently creative, and you have the ability to use your creativity to make life a little bit better every single day that you’re here.

Don’t let anyone take that from you. Ever.

Until next time my friend – you’ve got this.

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