Four Steps To Unlock Your Creativity

Who Thought it Was That Easy?

Guest Blog by Gudrun Frerichs

CreativityI’m really fortunate to meet amazing authors in the authors learning groups I’m currently in. Today, I’m excited to host a wonderful inspirational article by Gudrun Frerichs – originally from Germany, now in New Zealand. We all have had the experience of critical inner voice stopping our creative flow. For some of us, creativity was stemmed in childhood when we were told our efforts were “wrong”, “not good enough” or “dumb”. Gudrun’s wonderful words might just help you get your juices flowing again. Guess what…. this morning I signed up for a painting class (even though I used to think I’m no good at that!) – and I particularly like Numbers 4 and 5 in this list! Have fun everybody!!

Over to Gudrun:

Albert Einstein is quoted to have said that “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. That makes every person a creative person, because everyone has intelligence. Maybe not the intelligence that is measured with IQ tests, but that is an outdated tool anyhow and has lost its appeal a long time ago. It’s important to distinguish between intelligence and knowledge. People can have a lot of knowledge and yet struggle to boil water.

Of course there are the obvious creative arts like painting, acting, writing, or sculpting. However, we can be creative in every aspect of our lives: socialising, parenting, home making, cooking, crafts… it’s impossible to list them all here. We can, and usually do, bring creativity into all aspects of our lives.

Then there is nothing to unlock, isn’t’ there, if we all have it and use it every day? Maybe we just have to be reminded of our own creativity. I believe there are a few steps every person can take to really KNOW that he or she is creative. That knowing might encourage not only a stronger expression of creativity; it might also strengthen a person’s self-confidence.

Step 1: Scan your body!

Most people have the bad habit of over-thinking things. It probably has to do with the fact that we are living in a highly competitive world where judging and criticising has become an art-form while encouragement and compassion is often seen as weakness. So our minds are filled with habitual chatter of the most unhelpful kind: Wondering about the ‘what-if’s’ (as if we had any way of knowing what would happen in the future), worrying about what other people think, or recalling all the times we started something and it didn’t work out the way we wanted it. Some people are so bombarded with this kind of mind-debris that they never dare to step out and let their creativity shine. Let that not be you. The best way to calm your mind down is by coming more fully into your body. Stop paying attention to your thoughts and instead start a body scan. How does your body feel right now, right here? Start at the toes and work your way u p to the head. What are you aware of? What do you notice? When you focus on your body you are not falling (as much) into the trap of listening to your mind-chatter. It’s really quite simple. The whole concept of meditating is built on getting out of your head and into your body. Try it out for yourself!

Step 2: Be suspicious of your thoughts!

Rather than going with the flow and following our intuition, we often stop ourselves by listening to our thoughts of self-doubt. People forget or may not be aware, that just because we think it doesn’t mean it’s true. Our thoughts don’t reflect what is happening outside of us but rather what is happening inside of us – whether we are in a good frame of mind or not. When we are moody, depressed, or upset we view a situation, any situation, negatively. The same situation will look very different to us when we are in a positive frame of mind. In that state our mind is less cluttered with ‘habitual mind chatter’ and we access more easily common sense and wisdom.

Step 3: Don’t buy into what others say!

Whatever a person says or does has more to do with them then it has with you. It is a reflection of their current state of mind. When they are critical or even hurtful, it means they are in a very negative frame of mind due to what is going on in their inner- and outside lives. Let’s use a farmer’s market metaphor: Due to a bad harvest they have only bruised apples for sale. It is your choice to buy them or to pass for now. You don’t have to buy bruised apples. Once the farmer has better apples for sale, you may want to get some! Make sure that you don’t judge them for being judgemental. They will come around once their thinking changes – we all do eventually. Just as we all do fall into the trap now and then of spilling our bad-mood-thinking onto others. We better forgive ourselves and others for it!

Step 4: Don’t compare yourself!

Comparing ourselves to others is a very seductive trap most of us fall into at times. Yet it is so ridiculous, if you think about it. We would never compare Michelangelo (1475-1564) with Picasso (1881-1973). Even though they have both created amazing works of art their’s are unique expressions of their time. We might prefer one, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. What is amazing is how their creative mind has found a unique way of expression that is still admired by people today. Have they struggled? Probably! Did they have to fight adversity and criticism? Most likely! Nonetheless, we are paying today a lot of money just to view their art. Their critics have long been forgotten – dropped into insignificance.

Step 5: Have Fun!

Last but not least – Have Fun! When we are able to drop the inner critical voice telling us all the things we do wrong and should or shouldn’t do we are halfway to let our hair down and have fun. That may not happen spontaneously due to inhibitions and conditioning. However when you consciously make time to have some fun with your family or friends, or even just by yourself, than play time is much easier to come by. We all need down time. Time when we try out new things, stretch beyond our comfort zone. Time when, for just a few moments, we can leave behind our responsibilities and become childlike again and enjoy the simple things of life!

Without the habitual critical mind-chatter getting in the way, you are now able to enjoy whatever you feel passionate about doing. Give yourself to the experience. And if a critical thought tries to sneak in tell it “…Not now, I am busy having fun!”

Meet Gudrun Frerichs

Gudrun FrerichsGudrun is a therapist, author, and life-long explorer of the mysteries of the human mind. Born on an idyllic fisher island in Germany, she lives now in New Zealand. After 25 years of working in mental health and trauma recovery, she is retiring from clinical work and has published now her first book Delicious Love Forever. She is passionate about the Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness as formulated by the late Sydney Banks, and writes about her understanding of it in her “Delicious Forever” series, applying the principles to everyday living situations.

Gudrun has studied in Germany, New Zealand, and the United States and holds diplomas in Business Administration, Gestalt, and NLP, a Masters degree in psychotherapy, and a PhD in Health and Environmental Sciences.

Go to Gudrun’s website www.gudrunfrerichs.com to learn more about the power of THOUGHT.

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Liesel Teversham
Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.

She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.

Click here to read about the book.

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12 Comments

  1. Gudrun

    Hi Liesel, thanks for hosting me today! I always wanted to visit South Africa – and here I am. Creativity is such a vital part of life as it engages our imagination and thereby can lift us up and overcome many difficulties! Especially in relationships. 🙂

    Reply
    • Liesel Teversham

      Hi Gudrun,
      Fabulous to have you! Wonderful article – thank you. So many of us are shy or uncertain about our creativity and want to be “like someone else”. That’s probably the worst thing we can do for creativity – that’s being a copy-cat and denying our own unique gifts.

      Thanks for being here, please visit again!
      Warmly
      Liesel

      Reply
      • Diane Topkis

        Great advice. I’ve found my creativity critics have quieted down as I’ve been writing my book – A to Z: 26 Keys to Unlocking Career Success. I too have signed up for a painting class – something I haven’t done in 20 years. I”m aiming for step 5 – just have fun!

        Reply
  2. Pam Fitros

    Thank you, Liesel, for hosting Gudrun’s blog post. I needed to ‘hear’ her message. My mind chatter is strong today. As soon as I tuned into my body the cacophony became white noise and I am ready to move on.

    Reply
    • Gudrun

      what a lovely experience, Pam, thank you for sharing. We are paying way too much attention to our thoughts. Given that we have between 50,000 to 200,000 a day – researchers say – there are lots of other thoughts to have. For some reason we just don’t pay attention to them. I found getting into your body is a brilliant way to ‘tune out”. Have a great day!

      Reply
  3. Sara F Hathaway

    Gudrun,

    Loved this article and even favorited the link! So often we find ourselves trapped by the inner doubt and possibilities. Live in the now and have fun what a great message! I have heard it said people who live in the future are anxious and people who live in the past are depressed but if you live in the now you are at piece.

    Reply
    • Gudrun

      Thank you Sara, living in the now and having fun, the best examples are young children. When we observe them, they don’t worry about tomorrow or agonise about what happened yesterday. They pay all the attention on what they are doing now. They are ‘in the zone’, in their ‘healthy mind’. When they get bumped out of it they are unhappy for a moment but very soon they are back in their good mood. That’s what happiness is all about!! What a pity that we loose that as we are growing up and have to (re)learn it. But it’s worth it!

      Reply
  4. Helena Kalivoda

    Great post. Step 2, be suspicious of your thoughts, sure caught my attention – particularly so, when our thoughts are based on beliefs that are not experiential but some ‘authority’ said so.

    Reply
  5. Gudrun

    Thank you Helene, once we fully grasp the impermanance of our thoughts – and beliefs are just thoughts we had over and over again – our lives would be so much easier. The heart ache caused by people believing their thoughts to be a real representation of what is going on, is phenomenal. Yet thoughts are just like maps of a city. It shows us something, may be helpful, may not be. The ‘real’ city looks very different when we stand in those streets than when its depicted on the map. There is so much more to it. The same is with our thoughts ABOUT something. We’ll never grasp the whole complexity of the life and people around us. Our thoughts are like a city map. Rough scetches, never the full picture, an approximation at best, a halucination at worst! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Mari Barnes

    One and five are what I most needed to hear today. I’m going to spend some time paying attention to both. thanks for this post!

    Reply
  7. Susie Cochrane

    All great points Gudrun and thanks for hosting Liesel. When we learn to recognize and quiet the inner critic we not only find our creativity but our purpose and our passion.
    A vital package Gudrun.

    Reply
  8. Gudrun

    Thank you Susie and Mari, I am glad people hear or read something that gives them just another piece to the puzzle of continuing development. There is so much to learn about how we get in our own way. Sometimes I think we would all be living in harmony if we would not think – or at least think less.

    Reply

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