Some of us–many of us–do NOT feel like we are creative beings. Like, it’s something that only gets handed out to some folks, and others are stuck in logical land. When really, creativity is an innate human trait, we all have it, in some form, to some extent. But perhaps it’s gotten rusty or is just feeling neglected and hard to access. So today I want to talk about something that might feel easier to access that is a precursor to creativity. This THING I’m talking about is curiosity.
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
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Curiosity is what gets you from having a creative idea to actually acting on that idea and making it real–because you’re curious to see how it might work out. It’s like this–remember in Bugs Bunny when Bugs would smell a roast chicken and start floating in to air toward it, riding the aroma? Well, the thing you’re thinking about making–your idea–is the roast chicken, and you are Bugs Bunny, and your curiosity is that aroma.
The hardest part about being curious is that it requires you to admit that you don’t already know everything.
Which I mean, it’s impossible to know everything!! There’s SO MUCH to know and understand just about your own self that there’s no freaking way you could know everything about everything there is to know.
So, let’s just admit that we don’t know it all. M’kay?
Phew, what a relief it is not to have to pretend that we have all the answers.
When you are curious, it helps you get into that state that Buddhists call beginner’s mind, where you can see things with new eyes. And that’s where you’re less likely to bat away your creative ideas, because hey, you’re just a beginner. Maybe that interesting idea really WILL work. At least you’re curious enough to find out what happens.
Some phrases that help you get curious are:
I wonder what would happen if…
I’m interested in seeing how this goes…
And, could this work?
A little more specifically in regards to creativity, some ways to put curiosity to work are to ask yourself things like,
I wonder what would happen if I set a timer for 5 minutes and just wrote down whatever is ready to come out.
How would it look if I painted that old table my favorite shade of blue?
What if I added cinnamon to this savory dish?
Sometimes, there’s one thing you need before your curiosity can really kick in, and that’s willingness. Willingness to admit you don’t know how things are going to turn out, Willingness to do something, and potentially do it badly. Willingness to trust your creative ideas. And willingness to go on an adventure where the ending isn’t guaranteed.
So, if you don’t feel curious, can you at least access a feeling of being willing to be curious?
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to jot down a few creative pursuits or ideas that you are curious about trying for yourself. Make a little list of a few things you’ve been maybe daydreaming about doing.
For me, my list is getting back in to playing the piano some (I took lessons as a kid). I’ve got a cross stitch kit that says I can’t adult today that I really want to be to hang on my new office door to let the kids know I can’t be disturbed, lol, and I’m interested in learning more about garden design, as I want to plant some plants inside the fence of our corner lot that will make our yard feel a little more enclosed and cozy. So that’s my list–piano, cross stitch, and gardening.
Of course, those are pretty big topics, and to really get going on them, I’d need to break them down in to way smaller steps. But first, I just need to admit to myself that I’m curious about them. Raising my awareness of my own curiosity will naturally help me find opportunities to start working on these things. We’ll talk more about how to get inspired into action in Thursday’s episode. For now, just give your curiosity some space on a piece of paper.
Write your list down and put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday
Like a post-it on your computer monitor. For bonus points, tell someone else about the creative things you’re curious about, because that will help make that inkling more real. That friend may be interested too, and you can team up, or may have a resource to suggest, or will just check in with you about it and help remind you of your curiosity. After all, there’s a roast chicken out there just wait for you to float towards it.
Come back tomorrow, when I’m interviewing artist and leader of the Facebook group Creative Comfort for Women, Jackie Dishner, on how to find your own personal creative practices, even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body.