Remember how you used to be as a child? Constantly playing, having fun. Continually testing, maybe falling over, getting up and trying again.
You were stuck in “play” mode. Creating.
It was (and still is) your nature. Creativity is part of you.
But as we grow up and reach adulthood, we shake off that creativity “cape” and we disconnect from this innate ability.
Our innate wellbeing.
Let’s take an example: imagine a teacher brings you a box of crayons and asks you to draw something in particular. You’d probably say something along these lines:
- “I don’t know how to do that.””
- I haven’t drawn anything in ages. I’m not sure I can.”
- “It won’t be very good you know. Don’t expect much.”
In short, you’ll be worrying about how good the result will be.
Just like we do when we’re learning a language.
We get lost in thought, trying to figure out the best solution. The right answer. We have to know before we start, forgetting that the most important thing is just to connect in some way with the person we’re speaking to.
In fact, “knowing how to” is everything to us. We worship “knowing”!
Because, to us, not knowing is so scary. We’re way out of our comfort zone.
Sometimes, we don’t even make a start as we’re so focused on achieving perfection (which is impossible as we know). Perfection keeps us moving the goalposts further away.
So how do we take a step towards being comfortable with “not knowing” and wake up to our inner creativity?
First of all:
We get curious and we ask ourselves these questions about our project (whether it’s language learning or anything else):
- What story am I telling myself about this?
- If I didn’t have this thought/story in my head, what would I like to create with this?
- We delete the “I don’t know how to” expression from our vocabulary.
- We drop our “story” about what we can and can’t do, what we think is hard etc.
(Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard. It can be fun! If we just drop the thought that it isn’t).
- We pause, get present and accept the feeling of “not knowing”. (It’s a relief, isn’t it?)
- We don’t focus on any particular result or outcome. There’s no pressure to get somewhere or something. Let’s just be NOW.
- In this neutral space of no judgement, the space out of which new potential arises, our childhood curiosity and creativity is finally free to come out to play.
In other words, we just need to be willing to play the game. It’s not about “winning” or “losing” here. It’s about taking part, feeling alive and flowing with energy.
If we can stop getting lost in our head, we’ll stop getting in our own way and we’ll be able to reconnect and take action. One small step at a time.
If you think you don’t know how or what to write well, just start writing.
If you think you don’t know how to speak English well, just start speaking.
Wake up to your own infinite creativity. Explore it in your daily life and in your language learning.
Don’t be afraid to play the game full out. You’ve got everything you need already.
You’ll surprise yourself, I guarantee it!
A personal aside:
I never used to think of myself as a creative person.
To me, creative activities involved making things with our hands like knitting, sewing, DIY, cooking. And I wouldn’t say that any of those activities are ones I love to do or particularly excel in!
I just got used to the idea that I wasn’t creative. Other people were. I wasn’t. Full stop.
But ever since I created my business, I’ve realized that I’m constantly creating. Programs, articles, newsletters, new collaborations, ideas. My English coaching is about creating: creating new communication, new connections, perhaps even a new future for my clients.
And you, what are you going to create today?
Photo credit: Unsplash