Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

If you are at all curious about creativity, you can find many famous and not so famous quotes about creativity. What you may not know is that those quotes can teach you secrets to creativity. Below are quotes that reveal five secrets to your most creative self.

image of a light bulb with a colorful flare behind it titled five secrets to your most creative self.

1. Allow Yourself to Feel

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma reveals a big secret in his words above. The only way to be your most creative self, is to find your passion. Sit quietly or meditate. Discover what stirs you. What makes you “lose time?” Makes you forget to eat or drink or even to use the bathroom.

What are the things you most treasure? Books? Art work? Metal work? Cooking? Knitting… the list goes on and on.

Whatever absorbs you is at least one of your passions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “real” art or not. Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Follow your passion. See where it leads. If you have multiple passions, focus on one for a few months. Try as many as you like. (Some people can pursue more than one, but if that’s your choice understand it may take you on a longer journey than focusing on one.)

Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

2. Know Your Art

Critical thinking and curiosity are the key to creativity.

Amala Akkineni

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

Edward de Bono

There are two schools of thought about learning the techniques or the skills of your art.

Some suggest that one should create for a while before learning the “rules.” They believe you are more creative before you learn the rules. If you have a strong “perfection” drive, this path may help you.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

If one creates without knowing the rules, you can be incredibly creative, or you might meet failures. These failures, according to those who don’t ascribe to the don’t learn first thinking, may have been mitigated or even prevented.

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.

William Plomer

The other school of thought contends that learning the “rules” and applying them as guidelines actually increases creativity.

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.

Donatella Versace

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Charles Mingus

You may choose to learn the commonalities of good art in a formal or informal setting. Find a mentor, a class, study your art independently. You might find value in doing each of those.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

Steve Jobs

Neither method is wrong. Do what helps you most.

3. Be Child Like—Play

The creative adult is the child who survived.

Ursula Le Guin

The third of the five secrets to your most creative self is to play. To be creative, to connect things in ways others find surprising or interesting, tap your inner child. Be a child. Be curious.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Albert Einstein

Have fun. If it isn’t fun, take a step back. What would make it fun? Play.

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.

John Cleese

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

Mary Lou Cook

4. Allow Yourself to Fail

Image of a lion's face on a black background with the quote "creativity takes courage by Henri Matisse

Creativity takes courage.

Henri Matisse

You may think of failure with capital letters, as if it is a bad thing. All creatives fail sometimes, often many times.

Look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. Examine it. Document it. What you learn may surprise you. The biggest surprises are the attempts you thought failed, and someone else believes is great art.

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.

Edwin Land

5. Allow Yourself to Create

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club. Jack London

Being creative, especially when it takes more time and money than you’d planned, can seem wasteful. Perhaps it appears more wasteful to a partner or family member than it does to you. That’s one time when creativity is hard.

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones. Bruce Garrabrandt

If you don’t give yourself permission to create, you’ll postpone it. You’ll defer to other people’s desires or needs. Don’t wait. Most especially, don’t wait for inspiration or for the perfect conditions. Go for it. The only way it will get done is if you allow yourself to create.

Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.

Kurt Vonnegut

You can use these five secrets to your most creative self and in following your passion, you’ll find the real secret isn’t a secret. Do it. Follow your passion, whatever it is. Make your soul grow. And in the comments below, please share what your passion is.

Do Things From Your Soul

Do you know who you are? Deep down inside. Some people call it the soul, some call it your heart of hearts, and others call it your true self or even your passion. You know when you are doing things from your soul because you are happier, more content. It feels right.

When you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you. 
A joy.

– Rumi

You have made choices that put you where you are today. Are you doing things from your soul? Not necessarily your day job—sometimes you a job is what you must do. That’s okay as long as you find a way to do what you are meant to do.

From Your Soul

Doing things from your soul means that you make decisions from a place that feeds or supports your soul, that makes that river of joy move inside you. Your passion or heart project fills a void that makes you complete.

Photo of a waterfall and river surrounded by lush greenery. Do things from your soul and you'll feel the river move within you.

Do you know what those things are? The things that move you, that bring you joy? 

For some people, it’s one of the arts. Music, illustrating, sculpting, writing. Other people find that joy in gardening or running a race or riding a dirt bike. 

Often, those soul projects—those activities that come from our soul—become a job. When we compete with others or allow obligations to override our soul projects, we rob ourselves of the joy. If that happens take time to reflect on what it was that spoke to you before. 

Sometimes we’ve experienced what we needed or learned what we needed and it’s time to move on. It’s okay to change your path. Make certain the next path you choose is one whose river brings you joy.

Reclaim Your Joy

If you’ve lost your joy, can you get it back? It may take some work but you can.

1. Reconnect with yourself. Here are suggestions on ways to reconnect:

  • Journaling. 
  • Solitude. 
  • Physical work. 
  • Time spent in nature. 
  • Prayer. 
  • Meditation.
  • Reading—whatever speaks to you.
  • Exercise.

2. Reconnect with the project. 

  • Journaling.
  • Take a class.
  • Go back to basics, to the thing that first brought you joy.
  • Take a class.

3. Take a break.

  • Go on a retreat.
  • Put aside the things that are frustrating or difficult.
  • Visit a museum or zoo or garden.
  • Attend a concert or art show or race.
  • Play–give yourself permission to do something because it’s fun.

4. Change up your routine.

  • Alter your schedule.
  • Try working from a different location.
  • Meditate before or after you spend time on your project.
  • Add a new bit to your routine—burn incense or a candle, or exercise beforehand or repeat a mantra or poem that inspires you.

Find Joy

Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t found your passion, your soul’s work. Those steps above? The steps to reclaim your joy—they will also help you find your joy. Take the time to explore what you passions are. If you know your passions–do them from your soul.

You’ll know when you do things from your soul. Time and frustrations melt away. You’ll feel that river of joy.

Practice Makes Perfect is Full of Baloney

Practice makes perfect is full of baloney. Some people who practice may reach perfection, but not most. Yet, practice is vital no matter what you’re doing. So how do we manage?

White text on a dark blue starry background reads "when practice becomes a game for you, that's when you're about to explode in your progress." Mary Buckham

When you Google “Fun Facts About Practice” you get a bunch of “fun with math” links. Um. That’s not what I had in mind. But, isn’t it interesting? We’re desperate to prove that mathematics can be fun, but not one word about practice as a thing to do. I believe we do a disservice to everyone with the practice makes perfect phrase. Practice becomes the thing that we focus on. We kill our enthusiasm with forced practice.

As a child, I took piano lessons. I loved playing piano but I grew to hate it. The rule at my house was thirty minutes of practice after homework and before anything else. I hated to practice. It was drudgery. The seconds ticked as if mired in molasses when I sat at the piano.

We improve with practice, without a doubt. And there are times when rote practice is what we have to do. But as Mary Buckham says it’s when our practice becomes a game that your progress will explode. And that’s what we’re looking for with practice—improvement.

Rote practice will bring some improvement. But typically that’s not where great progress happens. Should we make practice fun? Like the “fun with math” approach, it likely won’t work. What makes practice a game is your emotional investment in the process. Your emotional investment in the thing you practice.

My son didn’t care about reading. As a writer, that hurt! But he had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked. He spent hours learning to take things apart and put them together again. It’s still a passion of his to this day. That was where he found practice became a game for him. That passion led to lots of practice and his abilities exploded. (I swear the boy can take anything apart and put it back together again, blindfolded!)

I practice piano today, but practices are brief and infrequent. My skill isn’t great. But I have found my “game.” You guessed it. Writing. When I’m writing or learning about writing the time flies past. I’m so engrossed I don’t know I’ve missed a meal or that I’m an hour late for bed. Has my progress exploded? You betcha!

Next time you find yourself dreading practice. Stop. Remember that practice makes perfect is baloney. Look for the passion. Your passion will make practice a game. Your practice will explode your progress.