In 1968, George Land conducted a research survey to test the creativity of 1,600 children. His results were astounding. Here are his test results: Children age 5, 98%, age 10, 30%, age 15, 12%. That same test given to 280,000 Adults: 2%. "What we concluded," wrote Land," is that non-creative behavior is learned."
I believe we are wired to be engaged and connected to our world. You can stifle it, you can even deny it and shut it down for awhile, but we are meant for it. In this blog series, Story to Spill, I am connecting us to people who are pursuing the fullest expression of themselves through the work they do. Just to be clear, this does not necessarily mean the job they do to make a living and pay the bills. But it is true work just the same. So what are some unexpected ways to stay connected to creativity? Here are a few I find effective, but they are not as obvious as you might think.
1. Know your identity is not in what you make or do, it's how you make or do. Here's what I mean: When somebody asks me what it is I do, I no longer say, "I'm an artist." I say this: I have found that some people find it difficult to stay connected to their creative selves and to find meaning in their work. So I have a process that helps people to be more authentic and connected in their daily lives." I find this a much more accurate statement of my work. I've also seen this description lead to stronger and deeper conversations allowing me to elaborate further.
2. Find the place where your deepest curiosity connects with the world's greatest need. Doing creative work is about service. When you pay attention to what really brings you to life and begin to pursue it, you'll find that you will naturally want to spill that talent into the lives of others. I love the Howard Thurman quote," Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. What the world needs is people who have come alive."
3. How do you know what your deepest curiosity is? Find the thing that you would do no matter what, even if money was not as issue, and pursue that. I would never say not to take care of your family, or to not provide stability and opportunity for the ones you love. Never. I will say the moment you can introduce into your life work that makes you curious and connects with others, head toward it. Because the longer you stay in an environment and work that you are not curious about, the more ordinary you will become. Start small, start with 20 minutes a week if that's all you have. But start.
Stay tuned, in the next few weeks we will be meeting some individuals who will inspire us further. How about you? Are there unexpected ways you have found to stay a creative adult? Just curious...