The Survival Skill You Need is Creativity

If ever we need survival skills, we need them now. The one survival skill you may not have considered is creativity. Yes. The survival skill you need is creativity. 

the survival skill you need is creativity--this boy playing in box may not need it for survival today, but it will help him live longer
Chinese Child in a Box, boy by CC

When we are children playing with toys, our imaginations soar. We see rocket ships in sticks and oceans in mud puddles. How is it that as we get older, we stop seeing those things?

Our society doesn’t value creativity like it once was.

How Creativity Lost Points

Modern society shoulders much of the blame. The realities of working for a living often mean we need to learn linearly. To enable our children to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, we send them to schools that teach devalue creativity and require linear thinking. For reasons. And yes, there are some classes that encourage and allow creativity. But most of them…not so much.

And then there is technology. Technology permeates our culture and our workplaces. Therefore, one must learn to use technology. And some of those gadgets and devices are both necessary and addictive. We work and play on them.

There are studies that say younger people (20s) don’t memorize things . They prefer to use gadgets and technology to do that. And their brain reverts the process of memorization to a more primitive form.

Younger people also prefer to read on a device. But text read by scrolling has a much lower retention or memorization rate.

Creativity is a Survival Skill

Image of a pair of hands tying a string around a craft stick holding a chicken--this craft may not extend your life but creativity is a survival skill

If you are in a survival situation and you lack food, clothing, or shelter. Your ability to solve your problem creatively becomes a survival skill.

“Many people tend to associate creativity with freedom and moving laterally across a field of possibilities; in fact, creativity is frequently a response to limits and it usually demands a vertical, deeper incursion into the material.”

Enrique Martínez Celaya, contemporary artist,

Creativity requires a cognitive flexibility and an openness to new ideas. And that, according to Scientific American, helps you live longer.

Creativity reduces stress. Creative people “tend not to get as easily flustered when faced with an emotional or physical hurdle.” (It certainly helps me!)

Creativity is also a way to exercise the brain. And yes, exercising your brain is as important as exercising your body.

Build Your Creative Skills

a photo looking down onto open jars of rosemary, nutmeg, bay leaves etc sitting on an old wood table--the survival skill you need is creativity--relearn being creative

If you think of yourself as not creative, think again. You are creative. And you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. You’ve unlearned how to be creative. 

Want to exercise your creativity? I’m borrowing and adapting an exercise I learned from artist, Elizabeth Leggett.

Get something to write on. Go to your kitchen. Get one or two spices out of your cabinet.Take a big sniff of one of those spices.

Does that aroma remind you of anything? A place, a holiday, a food, or perhaps an event or day from your past.

Now take three minutes and jot down a few notes about what you thought of or felt immediately after smelling that spice.

That’s all. There’s no failure. Not even if the spice didn’t remind you of anything. The exercise is simply waking up your creativity.

More to Come

Stay tuned to this website every Monday. We’ll explore what creativity is, how to wake it up, and how to grow your skills. It’s important to exercise your brain. Remember, the survival skill you need is creativity.

Be a Child

My DH and I were talking at dinner the other night about our lives as creative types and differences in the ways we perceive things. As is often the case, our discussion covered a wide range of possibles from the highly sensitive person to the mundanes who don’t understand us to the different modes of perception (he’s visual and I’m verbal). My DH said he thought that neither he nor I had ever lost the ability to be a child.

Children perceive the world differently from adults.   Whether you are a writer, an artist, a laborer or scientist, I think all adults should remember to be a child, at least once in a while.


“All children are artists. The problem

is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
~ Pablo Picasso

Image of a child drawing on the sidewalk
Safe Places to Play by National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru. CC Flickr

Use ALL Your Senses

“Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world.  Then artists come along and discover it the same way all over again.”

~ Eudora Welty

Toddle playing in sand on the beach
Child on Beach by Chris P.  CC Flickr 

Be Puzzled

“What are the conditions of the creative attitude, of seeing and responding, of being aware and being sensitive to what one is aware of?  First of all, it requires the capacity to be puzzled.
Children still have the capacity to be puzzled.” 

~ Erich Fromm

 Make Believe

“As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe
continues into adulthood.”
~ Jim Henson

boy playing in box
By CC Flickr


“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”  ~Albert Einstein

Photo of girl open mouthed in awe
By quinn.anya. CC Flickr 


“Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music.”

~William Stafford

Kids at Delridge Daycamp
Seattle Municipal Archives.  CC Flickr

Believe in the Heroic

Children don’t have to be told to believe in heroics or heroes.  They live their fantasies.

“Nurture your minds with great thoughts.  To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” 

~ Benjamin Disraeli

Photo of Bane and the Boy Wonder
Bane and the Boy Wonder by Digital_Rampage. CC Flickr 

Be A Child

“Like a forgotten fire,
a childhood can always flare up again within us.”
~ Gaston Bachelard

So play, imagine, be curious, see the world with awe through child-like eyes. Believe. Being a child, for just a little while, can change your world.

I’d love to hear from you. Please share. Do you take time to be a child? How does being a child help you as an adult?