10 ways to reach your potential and start living interesting

Elizabeth Gilbert

Creativity is a tricky concept. Life coaches actively sell it, brands claim that they are its main suppliers, and we are striving for it with all our might, without really understanding the true meaning of this word. But each of us is creative in our own way – we just need to find inspiration and release our creative self.

1. Recognize your creativity

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m not a creative person at all”? As if in childhood they were given a poster with such an inscription and they go everywhere with it, unconditionally believe in it and live their lives in the firm conviction that this is the absolute truth. Instead of arguing with such people, I ask them to replace the word “creative” with the word “curious.” This helps to understand how ridiculous such a statement sounds.

People often fall into the myth that creativity is a unique quality that only a select few have. But replace creativity with curiosity – and you will understand how creative you are, because any creativity begins with healthy curiosity. Once you tap into that quality of yourself and allow yourself to follow it wherever it takes you, you will very quickly find yourself leading a much more interesting life than you did a year ago.

2. Remember that creativity finds us

The magical mindset I use to “turn on” creativity begins with the mindset that creativity doesn’t come from me, but comes to me. I believe in this because that’s how I feel during the creative process.

In addition, people described inspiration in exactly the same way even before the Enlightenment. Even rational men of science say, “And then I got an idea.” They can explain where exactly in the cerebral cortex this phrase was born, and “disenchant” magical thinking . But it seems to me that the only sphere of life where it does not harm, but benefits, is the sphere of creativity.

3. Take action

Having a creative mind is like owning a border collie. This breed needs to come up with an occupation, otherwise it will find it on its own, and you will not like the result. If you leave for work and leave your pet at home without toys, then when you return, most likely, you will find that the dog still found something to do – tore the sofa or chewed on shoes.

The creative mind is exactly the same. If I don’t find something to do with him, my creative self will turn against me. Keeping this “dog” busy on a regular basis is very important for my mental health.

Therefore, find your “dog” a job. And don’t worry about whether the result will be magnificent or immortal, original or innovative, whether it will be in demand, whether it will change the world, other people’s lives or your own. Just give your creative mind something to think about and you will feel much happier no matter how it all ends.

4. Stop Complaining

You will never find people who complain more than creative people. These are the most whiny and bitchy children that you can meet. Their pretentious and pained whining drives me crazy.

Firstly, to be burdened by your talent, to treat talent and creative impulses as a burden that an evil dictator has placed on you is absolutely ridiculous. Secondly, it discourages inspiration. It wants to be loved and appreciated. When this elusive feeling does not receive respect, when it “hears” that it is destroying someone’s life, it immediately leaves.

5. Accept that disappointment is part of the journey.

I have seen a huge number of talented, creative and inventive people get angry at their work or, even worse, quit it out of frustration. They talked about him as an obstacle that appeared from space and ruined everything.

The problem lies in the misunderstanding of the essence of the creative process. It seems to us that it consists of moments when everything comes together – all the cogs are spinning at full speed, inspiration flows so delightfully, everything is so light and funny. In fact, this is not normal, this does not happen in real life. This is a miracle that happens very rarely, and only if you are very lucky.

Disappointments, difficulties, obstacles and dead ends on the way, self-doubt, not knowing what to do next – this is what the creative process is. If you want to succeed without inner struggles, creativity is not for you.

6. Let go of the ideal fantasy

Perfection is the killer of all good things: pleasure, productivity, efficiency, and joy. One day someone remarked that I was being somewhat cunning when I said this, because, of course, I always try to do my job as best as possible. And this is absolutely true, but there is a big difference between “as best as possible” and “perfect”. It is better to choose the first.

7. Learn to communicate with fear

I absolutely do not accept the mythological dream of fearlessness, so when this quality is praised as a virtue, I always feel disappointed. I believe that we do not need to get rid of fear – we need it to stay alive. We are still here because fear once saved us all. When we say we want to be fearless, we devalue this feeling.

True, there is one but. Fear is the oldest and deepest part of our emotional life, so it can be pretty repetitive and boring. Talk to your fear and explain to it what’s going on: “I’m just trying to write a poem, no one dies.”

But in no case do not fight with him, this is a waste of energy. Communicate with your fear and let it go.

8. Don’t chase originality

I’m not a big fan of the desire to create something original. First, it increases anxiety. Secondly, it is impossible, because nothing original exists. Show me a work of art that you think is original and I’ll bring you ten experts and critics to tell you what or who inspired the artist.

I’m much more interested in the chain of influence that links one creativity to another, rather than the narcissism that brings originality.

The only way to create something real is to follow your curiosity with great humility and trust that it will lead you to something that feels original. Yes, other people may have done something similar before, but you can still leave your mark if you put your heart and soul into the work.

9. Separate creativity and career

People often want to turn a creative hobby into a profession, but in the end they find themselves at a crossroads when their favorite business not only does not satisfy their creative desires, but also does not allow them to gain financial stability. So you have to sacrifice both.

It seems to me that we need to abandon all attempts to combine them and, on the contrary, separate creativity from career. Do what you love, devote time to it, create, but find another way to pay the rent.

When I was a budding author, I immediately decided that I would never rely on my craft as a way to earn a living. I will expect from him exactly what creativity has always given me: satisfaction, joy and the feeling that in this world I am not just an outside observer and consumer.

10. Stay Curious

We are often told to “follow your passion” and this advice can be confusing. Passion is not always understood. It flares up and fades away, sometimes suddenly. And sometimes, on one sad Tuesday morning, when you didn’t get enough sleep, you don’t have any spiritual strength at all and you can’t even imagine that someday passion will visit you.

Whether it’s curiosity. This is a devoted, friendly and accessible light that will never go out and will always show the way. There are hardly any days when you are not interested in anything at all, even if it is a tiny manifestation of curiosity about something random in this world that has nothing to do with what you are doing.

Passion requires you to give it your all. You should get a divorce, shave your head, change your name, move to Nepal and start an orphanage. Curiosity doesn’t need anything from you. On the contrary, it gives you little clues that help you find your personality.

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