Read all about your creative side

I saw this article about how individuals with a creative mind think differently and in some respects it really spoke to me. I’d like to think I’ve got a creative side, whether it involved playing the piano for about 7 years of my life, to my dressmaking and jewellery projects, from my personal interest in photography, understanding about the body and mind, baking and keeping up to date with my own personal blog.

Source: Jewellery Apprenticeship

Creativity isn’t just a matter of producing a work of art or masterpiece, everyone has their own form of creativity that they excel in. I knew from a young age that I was never going to be an artist – my proportions when it comes to portraits are not worth the time of day – and although I appreciated different styles of music, I don’t have the voice of an angel. One thing I knew from a young age was my ability to express my thoughts through written words rather than the spoken. I seem, even now, to struggle to explain my thoughts to another person when all these thoughts constantly run through my head. I may be an introvert and people may think I’m constantly overthinking and worrying about things, but it’s a comforting habit of mine that allows me to analyse things and situations from different perspectives and work with the best option that suits me.

Here are my thoughts on the 18 things highly creative people do differently:

Source: It’s Interesting

1) They daydream.

More than once, the OH has accused me of reading or letting my mind wander and that I haven’t been paying attention. While it may not be true that I’m not listening to what he has to say, I do admit that my mind tends to drift between thoughts and sometimes I’ve got a spaced out look on my face while I’m deep in thought. It’s during this time though that I find ideas start forming in my head: whether it be ideas for my next blog posts, the feasibility and practicalities of a jewellery design or the kind of fabric I would use for a dressmaking project.

2) They observe everything.

This mainly satisfies the photographer side of me, but also from my previous experiences of working residential child care, I’ve developed stronger senses in being more aware of my surroundings. Understanding how a major event in history has impacted on the present and how human desires, wants and needs affect the world are important aspects of how we shape our future. Being conscious of your own contributions to the world, and people, around you makes you realise how you fit in the bigger picture.

3) They work the hours that work for them.

When still in school, I couldn’t really focus on homework until after dinner. I know now, from reading the article, that this has always been a time that works best for me. Even now, apart from the occasional afternoon at the weekend, I tend to work on my dressmaking and jewellery projects at night. I think this is when my mind feels most active and my ‘Creative Time’ of day.

4) They take time for solitude.

This comes hand in hand with introvert territory. I like working mostly on my own and allocate social times for friends and family I enjoy spending time with. Most of the time, I’m not great with big parties or groups of people and have a difficult time warming up to somebody new. Unlike the OH who likes being sociable and keeps up a full social (or personal) schedule of activities, I like to work through projects on my own. I may occasionally ask for help or advice or go online to look for information, but normally I prefer working through issues on my own. It’s also time to let the thoughts going through my mind run its course.

Some people might find it distracting when music is played in the background, especially when I’m in the mood for some Evanescence or Rammstein as opposed to the occasions when I listen to Mànran or my mix of upbeat old and new BodyCombat tracks, but it allows my mind to focus on the task at hand and not get distracted by what my other senses tell me to pay attention to.

Source: It’s Interesting

5) They turn life’s obstacles around.

I won’t go into detail on this, but everyone’s been through some kind of trauma in their life. This doesn’t necessary mean that you have to go through a horrific incident to allow your creativity to grow, but any negative experience from a break up at an important time in your life, a death in the family to realising that Santa doesn’t climb down your chimney (he’s never climbed down ours here in Edinburgh, that’s for sure!) changes a part of your mind that lets you find ways of expressing your emotions in a socially acceptable manner. I, for one, am fully aware that I release my inner anger and frustrations through BodyCombat while the positive part of me gets involved in various projects to allow my positivity shine through the objects I created with my own two hands.

6) They seek out new experiences.

To some extent, this is true for me. I’m constantly challenging myself to face my fears (in case you were wondering, I’m acrophobic, or afraid of heights, in a bad way) – I know it’s a matter of mind over matter and the fear of plunging to my death is a very real and debilitating fear of mine. Crazy as it sounds, knowing that many people have approached those same tourist attractions like the Glass Floor of the CN Tower in Canada (okay, I’m still not okay with that) without anything happening to them should be a reassuring fact that nothing will happen to me. Which is why I went on The Abyss at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Twice

In all seriousness though, I like my routine and I don’t like sudden changes to plans I’ve made and was looking forward to, some spontaneity in my life is good, but when I expect something to happen I’m not great at changes to my plan, even if they were plans I had in my mind. I do like travelling and experiencing new cultures, seeing how the rest of the world live and understanding how their cultures differ to that I grew up with. There’s more to life than what we know, see and hear about and seeing it in person is like breathing fresh air to my starved soul that lives for knowledge.

7) They “fail up.”

When I was young, just like any other Chinese kid, things were expected of you: study hard, get good grades, play a musical instrument (the most popular was the piano), do really well in Maths, get an undergraduate education from a well-established and recognised University and get a job that pays well (like a doctor, lawyer or teacher). While I also liked art and history, I realised in secondary school that it was never going to be my forte, judging by the grades I got. I might not have ended up in any of those routes, but I have found my niche (psychology and learning disabilities), am expressing my creativity in ways I can be proud of, keeping myself fighting fit and when I get the chance, I intend to either teach myself or try and pick up learning the clarsach again (I couldn’t give mine up).

Not the exact same one, but mine is quite similar in design and has 27 strings instead of 29. Source: Sound Travels

8) They ask the big questions.

I attribute this to my dad’s need to impart his knowledge for encouraging my inquisitive mind to thrive. My earliest memories of spending time with my dad include watching National Geographic and TV series based on Chinese history. He never got impatient with explaining what was happening or answering any of my questions. Although in a strictly academic manner, we were given weekly spelling and vocabulary tests, but this improved my vocabulary and ability to articulate myself. After all, my dad was the one who told me about Edinburgh and one of the reasons why I’m here. He believed in letting us travel to different countries to see their ways of life and learning about the world and the different cultures. For this reason, I’m still eager to travel the world to see the multitude of countries I haven’t seen and to create things that bring me joy.

9) They people-watch.

This kind of ties in with #2. Not only does observing the world around me make me whip out my camera or phone camera (whichever is handier), it also appeals to the side of me and background with an interest in psychology and the thirst for knowledge and understanding of human behaviour. It’s through the observation of behaviours, dialogue and motion that you find beauty in the natural world around you and a deeper understanding of relationships – not just between humans, but also between animals.

10) They take risks.

Again, part of me tends to over-analyse or think a lot about situations and things before I take any action, but there are times when I convince myself it’s worth the risk to find out what the outcome will be. After all, how will you know if it’s going to be a successful endeavour or not until you’ve taken the leap? The only alternative you’re left with is to always wonder ‘What If’ – taking the leap means you know your answer and can take the next course to reaching your end goals.

11) They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

I don’t feel the need to constantly exert myself and show my dominant side, but I like to play up my strengths and use my skills as much as possible if it means it benefits other people. From a psychological perspective, where I can I like to leave a positive memory in someone else’s mind by showing them an act of kindness or giving them advice or knowledge that could possibly help further develop their individual growth. One thing I don’t appreciate is letting someone demean my efforts or taking advantage of what I offer.

12) They follow their true passions.

It was my dad’s hope that one of his 3 children would become a GP like him. My sister became a solicitor, I was on the path towards a career in psychology and my brother who is currently still in University is working towards a career in international business and finance. When I expressed the interest in possibly studying towards being a psychiatrist, my dad was ever hopeful that someone would take up his legacy, until I realised that wasn’t the career path I wanted to take. Whether it’s the occupation I’ve chosen or the projects I’ve been involved in, it’s all about self satisfaction and knowing that I created or participated in something that allowed me to express a part of who I am, that I was also able to make someone else smile for what I’ve been a part of.

13) They get out of their own heads.

Maybe a lot of my thoughts revolve around what I want and need, but some of the time, I immerse myself into the shoes and world of the characters of the novels I read. Sometimes when I meet someone, a long time friend or a stranger on the street, I like to think about what I’ve been told and what it must be like in their position. Mainly it’s the part of me that likes to understand other people’s motiviations and ways of thinking, partly it’s also a fascination with how other people live their lives and find enjoyment in activities so different from mine that I have absolutely little to no understanding of.

14) They lose track of the time.

When you’re immersed in a project, creating a new piece of jewellery, clothing or a new story, time runs away. You don’t realise how much time you’ve spent on it because you are ‘in the zone’. This happens to almost everyone who finds themselves involved in an activity they’re highly motivated and interested in. It doesn’t matter whether this involves creating a new computer programme, assembling a PC that’s been taken apart, writing a new blog post or working out at the gym, that’s your niche and when you’re in that zone, others will find it hard to tear your attention away.

15) They surround themselves with beauty.

This can also be true for a number of people. We are always surrounded by beauty, but this is relative to what each of us find beautiful. My interests are varied and include photography, jewellery, clothes and other crafts I enjoy. I like to dress and accessorise in ways that suit my personal sense of style, but I also like to keep my personal space with artefacts or trinkets that have sentimental value. We can all appreciate beautiful things, but the main thing to remember is, one man’s trash could be another man’s treasure.

16) They connect the dots.

It’s all about the rational part of your mind: you see A, B and C and wonder how to connect them together. Personally, I’ve realised having the right skill set and knowledge plays a huge part in letting one see how things should work. My computer savvy friend might see a shortcut for connecting A to C without intersecting B, but if this involves computers where I know enough to get by, I might not immediately see how this would work. On the other hand, when it comes to sewing or jewellery making I’d be more skilled at finding the same shortcut whereas this might baffle my friend.

17) They constantly shake things up.

There’s nothing wrong with monotony or mundane acts, but sometimes creating the same things over and over might not be enough. You want to expand your own abilities and know that you can do more than what you’ve created so far. I’ve been challenging myself to move away from etching sterling silver pieces to creating pieces with gemstones set in.

18) They make time for mindfulness.

A frustrated mind means having too much turmoil and frustration in you to allow you to create exactly what you want: a work of art that’s a tangible display of your skills and knowledge. We all find different ways of achieving that inner peace, to quieten your mind to allow that single-minded focus to flow through. I’m a competitive person and instead of trying to relieve my mind of the constant flow of thoughts running around in circles, I use my preference for music to guide my creative juices and BodyCombat to relieve me of any lingering frustrations and let the endorphins flow.

As you can see from my own comments to each of the points above, not everything applies to me, nor do I relate to every single aspect of being an introvert and that’s okay. It’s also a fact that creativity is not limited to arts, music or the written word: creativity comes in many forms and each occupational sector is also a way of demonstrating how creative we can each be with the knowledge and intrinsic skills we’ve acquired in our lifetime. The points are compiled through research and observation, but each of us have our own individual differences when it comes to personality traits – this is what makes each of us a unique and individual human being. There are no two people who are exactly the same, that’s what makes you` who you are.

Have you found your creative niche? Which of the above apply to you?

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