Whether you're a creative soul or think you haven't got a single creative bone in your body: creativity has something for you. In today's marketplace, creativity is linked to innovation: a valuable and sought-after skill.
Artists and creatives have long been admired for their ability to think outside the box, as much as their gifts have been lauded as somehow outlying and mysterious. Despite the myths: creativity is a developable, trainable skill with many positive benefits for us all.
After 40 years creating in many different mediums, I've figured out I'm a much happier, conscious and connected person when I'm creating. Here are five ways that creativity has positively affected my life.
More energy, better moods
It's easy to tell when I'm in the creative flow, because it's so much easier to get out of bed in the morning. No more hitting the snooze button three times - I usually wake before the alarm, ready to burst out of bed and get back into the project at hand. Similarly, I can create into the evening, focusing for long periods without getting tired. A creative project spurs me on like very little else - it stimulates me and gives me energy, rather than depleting me. In turn, creative energy has a hugely positive impact on my moods - when I'm creating, I'm happy. End of story.
Better work stories (and a better career)
With innovation and ideas at the heart of business today, creativity is one of the most desirable attributes in a modern career. Innovation is a much-coveted capability that many businesses seek (and struggle) to build. Innovation is the organisation's output from creativity by its people - in other words, for companies to innovate, they need creative individuals.
Some of the greatest visionaries of our times have been highly creative people - think the Wright brothers, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. No-one ever created anything exceptional by sticking to the status quo, and the creative attributes of being able to see new possibilities or ideas and think of solutions are hugely valuable skills.
The entrepreneurial streak often runs deep in creative people too; those who shun following the corporate crowd often strike out in business on their own, and what could be more creative than crafting your own means of making a living?
Whether you want to work for an organisation or be in business for yourself, building your creative muscle and then outing it on your resume yields great career opportunities.
See possibilities and opportunities
For successful artists and creatives, creativity is a habit of the very best kind. Making creativity a daily practice yields a mind and eye trained to notice possibilities and opportunities everywhere, making a laughing stock of the old journalistic stand-by 'where do you get your inspiration?'
Habits such as writing morning pages or completing a photography 365 project (where you take a photograph every day for a year) have the power to change your life - they certainly changed mine. The ability to think in ideas and possibilities transfers to all aspects of your life, and suddenly, new opportunities are unfolding.
Learn persistence and dedication
Creative endeavour - and the journey to mastery of your craft - takes dedication and persistence.
Irving Stone's classic biographical novel, The Agony and the Ecstasy describes Michelangelo's life and his years-long struggle to paint the Sistine Chapel. Directed by Pope Julius II to paint what has become one of the world's greatest artworks, Michelangelo didn't really want to be a painter - he wanted to be a sculptor. His struggle - despite the awe-inspiring eventual outcome - no doubt strikes a chord with many a creative person. As Ernest Hemingway said, 'There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.'
Despite the inherent challenges, most things worth doing in life take effort, persistence and dedication. Creativity provides one of the most rewarding canvases for learning these highly transferrable skills.
Continual learning and growth
Creatives are continually learning, and the drive to create means you are never standing still. Whether you're a beginner or a Master, there is always something to learn. By definition, the act of creating requires you to seek new ideas, new ways of doing things and to learn. Learning is a fantastic antidote to boredom - ask any creative person if they're going to run out of things to do in their lifetime and the answer is likely to be no.
Creativity offers rich quality-of-life rewards to those who are courageous enough to follow its calling. On their own, any of these five benefits have the ability the change your life. Together, they have the power to be transformative.