I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
Why Creativity is Vital to Your Growth
REASON #1: IT STRENGTHENS YOUR MIND
Creativity (read: the act of creating) forces your mind to stay sharp, alert—functioning. We all know what happens when we don’t exercise our muscles: they weaken and we find ourselves physically out of shape. The same is true for our minds. Actively fostering creativity, fueled by wonder, will keep your mind in good shape.
REASON #2: IT FORCES YOU TO EXAMINE YOURSELF AND YOUR IDEAS
We’re very quick to sell ourselves out to an idea; to attach so much of ourselves to it that it becomes our identity, and thus we cease developing. Creativity, in its most authentic form, does not allow for this. Why? Because it is an act of exploration—of constant examination. In order for creativity to remain true, it must remain alive; fluid. Wonder and creativity are about interacting with ideas, not becoming them. Once we understand and accept this, we finally achieve the freedom we need to move about and truly explore in a way that allows us to grow and mature.
REASON #3: IT FORCES YOU TO EXERCISE CRITICAL THINKING
Creativity, at its core, is about confronting and overcoming problems. It’s about asking questions and doing your best to answer them. It is an endless pursuit of one thing, really: truth. This means that, in order to use our creativity to its fullest power, we must always employ critical thinking. We must always test the authenticity and the validity of our ideas, as well as the ideas of others. Nothing strengthens the mind more than the act of thinking critically about a situation or issue, and thinking critically, if we’re honest, is synonymous with thinking creatively.
REASON #4: IT FORCES YOU TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
When we stay confined to a single idea or method, we can get stuck. The wheels of our minds spin us deeper and deeper into metaphorical mud. Creativity is vital to our personal growth because it forces us to reach beyond ourselves and our situation for a new solution. Sometimes this means refining our ideas, or even abandoning them and adopting new ones altogether. But that’s all right, because people only grow when they allow themselves to change.
REASON #5: IT FORCES YOU TO INTERACT WITH OPPOSING IDEAS
You do not have to adopt or agree with every idea you come into contact with—and that’s the beauty of it. Creativity, however—honest creativity—forces you to interact with these ideas; to weigh and explore them in order to decide which ones belong with you and which ones do not. You must decide which ideas your work will represent, if it is to have substance, and this only happens when you allow yourself to interact with views you may not agree with. This is, after all, what refines us. It’s what causes our creativity to blossom into a distinct art form.
REASON #6: IT FORCES YOU TO DEFINE YOUR BELIEFS
At the heart of it all—everything you choose to accept; everything you choose to create—is the result of a belief. Remember the quest for truth that is Wonder? True, rich creativity forces you to define what you believe through exploration—about life, about yourself, and about others. After all, this is the basis for which ideas you will accept and reject. These ideas may not actually be your identity, but the ones you accept reflect who you are, and if we are to grow as people and as influencers, we must be willing to define what we believe. After all, it is that which gives power and authenticity to our creations. It’s the wings with which we fly.
- How has your pursuit of creativity helped you to grow and mature as a person?
- How are you intentional about fostering this creativity in your day-to-day life?
- What are your favorite creative outlets?