Most of us would give the answer to the question as to whether we are creative with an emphatic ‘no’. However, each and every one of us has a creative side to our personalities irrespective of how we may choose to express our unique creativity.
Observing children at play will confirm that as children we possess an abundance of creativity. However, as we grow older that creativity is more and more suppressed in favour of logic, reason, deadlines and have to’s and by the time we reach the world of work, it has almost been silenced completely.
Coupled with creativity is our inability to indulge in whatever takes our fancy, including doing absolutely nothing. We do not give ourselves permission to do or engage in activities that we consider frivolous and self-indulgent. Many of us have been exposed to a culture that advocates, nay insists, on delayed gratification; work before pleasure.
Doing absolutely nothing and indulging in time out allows the silenced, timid voice of creativity to once again emerge. As I reminded you last week, and will continue to do so, our western culture values busyness and accomplishments over reflection and inactivity. We forget at the cost to our creativity and wellbeing that we are human ‘beings’ not human ‘doings’.
Furthermore, the notion of having fun as an adult, particularly within the workplace, is an oxymoron. However, it is through fun and playfulness that we allow our creativity to surface. By the time we get to a certain age we have forgotten what it is like to have fun. Once again research reminds us that even as adults it is through playfulness that we discover solutions and inspiration for new ideas.
There is not a shortage of advice on how to achieve and reacquaint ourselves with our creativity. The key thing is to find what works for you. However, the main ingredient is to bring a deep desire to do so on the journey of discovery.
One way is to revisit your childhood and remember the activities that brought you joy. How can you integrate some of these activities either into your careers or to be enjoyed as hobbies now or when paid employment no longer features in your life. As your awareness grows so will your passion in these long lost activities.
Above all it is necessary to take a break from the perceived seriousness of business thinking. Take time out and spend it in nature, read, visit art galleries or listen to music and reignite those things that gave you so much joy as a child. Not only will you refresh your thinking and approach to your job, but it will help prepare you for a much more enjoyable life beyond employment.
The crux of it is that in order to enjoy ourselves and rediscover the pleasures gained through our creativity, we need to give ourselves permission to do so. Taking time to relax is a huge challenge for most of us. People may find that when they retire they have difficulty in changing their lifestyle and discovering or rekindling pleasures in hobbies and new ways of being. As with any new skill learning to relax will feel uncomfortable in the beginning but with practice it becomes easier.
Retirement is not about inactivity but instead it is an opportunity to pursue a new purpose filled with those creative activities and hobbies we may not have had the time to do whilst in work. However, to get the most from your retirement requires planning and a conscious effort of redesigning the purpose of your life.
On the other hand, there are no deadlines in retirement. From personal experience I can say that accepting this takes time. Don’t stress about delays as these are no longer relevant or of any importance. I devoted a recent post to guilt and guilt is something we have to come to terms with when we retire or have more leisure time on our hands.
In the beginning you may be racked with guilt that your days are not filled with to-do lists and chasing goals and objectives. It is, however, the time and opportunity to indulge in expressing our long lost creativity in whatever form may be appropriate to us as individuals. Above all, make time to have fun!
“You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.”