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  • Writer's pictureaparna sinha

How to Regain Your Imagination and Creativity as an Adult

I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses - Ursula K. Le Guin, Celebrated American author.

Last week, I attended a seminar where one of the speakers talked about a child who was asked to draw a picture of his mother on Mother's Day. After the child completed, the teacher told the child, "Why haven't you drawn the hair of your mother? I know your mother has such beautiful hair". The child immediately flipped the page and showed that the hair was on the back side of the face, so he drew it on the back side of the page while the face was on the front. 

That's a child's creativity and imagination levels, which we adults start losing as we grow up

But have you wondered why we start losing our creativity and imagination as we grow up? 

We start to follow norms and rules and stop questioning things around us because we feel we are grown up and mature. We think we are now a part of the natural world, and "adulting" has taken over. When we were kids, we didn't have the worries of bills, our jobs, expenses, and drama. We could imagine what we wanted without weighing the pros and cons. As adults, we get thin skin and let criticism deter us.

And once you stop creating, you lose the magic and forget how to use it.

But isn't curiosity and imagination essential for our well-being and peaceful existence?

It's because of human imagination that we landed on the moon; we have story books such as Alice in Wonderland; and we could send our space shuttles to Mars, and we have had inventions such as the telephone, the internet, and companies such as Chatgpt, Amazon, and Apple. 

Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Remember, how often do we ask adults around us to "grow up"? To ignite our passions and make our dreams a reality, we must learn how to pretend, play, be silly and have fun. These child-like qualities are crucial to opening up your creative abilities and imaginative possibilities.

In his improbable popular TED talk on creativity and schools, Sir Ken Robinson said that humans are born with creativity and "we get educated out of it." He said that schools, with time, more than anything else, kill our creativity and imagination. There was a curriculum, and we needed to stick to it." You don't have to leave school, but here are 10 ways to spark up your imagination in adulthood:

  1. Think that anything and everything is possible - Once, a speaker opened his speech by asking attendees, "A show of hands, how many of you can draw?" About ten per cent of us raised our hands. He went on, "The same question was asked in a classroom full of kindergarteners. How many do you believe raised their hands?" He answered enthusiastically, "One hundred per cent!" His point was that when we are young, we believe anything is possible and that there is nothing we cannot do. As we age, the world and our self-doubt impact what we think we can do. Pablo Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

  2. Boosting Vocabulary and Imagination Through Reading - Creativity and imagination are sparked by learning. One's willingness to learn new things gauges one's ability to accept and adapt to change. It improves one's adaptability to imaginative reasoning and creative thinking. Beyond its speed-reading benefits, reading enriches your vocabulary and ignites your imagination. By exploring diverse reading materials, you expose yourself to new language contexts and use books as prompts for creative thinking and problem-solving. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found a strong positive correlation between the amount of reading children do and the size of their vocabulary. The study showed that frequent readers encounter a more extensive range of words, leading to significant vocabulary growth.

  3. Reading More for Enhanced Creativity - Reading stimulates creativity by exposing individuals to new ideas and perspectives. A study published in the Creativity Research Journal indicates that people who read regularly show higher levels of creativity in various aspects of their lives.

  4. Tell stories - People love to listen to stories; each person has a story. Practice imaginative and creative thinking by telling as many stories as you can. Let it be descriptive. Let it allow you and your listener to visualize what is being told. Visualization is an integral part of increasing imagination. Visualization enables you to imagine the story being told or the object being described. 

  5. Condition your mind to relax through meditation techniques - A well-rested mind has a higher potential to learn new things and develop more creative ideas. I do a standard guided meditation every day, the audio of which I can send you if you reach out in the comments section.

  6. Spend time with creative people - Synergize your energies by spending time with people who share your interests. Brainstorming, planning, or simply talking to people will keep creative juices running, giving new and fresh ideas.

  7. Don't be afraid to try something new - It is often said that if you keep doing the same things, you will keep receiving the same things. Challenge yourself to experience new things or embark on new adventures and endeavours.

  8. Observe - Observing is second nature for actors, writers, and artists. By slowing down, sitting on a park bench, and paying attention to whatever is in front of you, you're opening up your imagination pores. The next time you walk through the city or do regular work, rather than rushing to get from one place to another quickly, put on your "observation" hat and look at what's happening around you. Check out the people standing in line at the grocery store and how they interact with each other and the grocery clerk. When walking, please pick up a leaf on the ground and examine its veins, colours, and shape.

  9. Be Curious - Be curious about things that happen throughout your day. Be curious about the weather. Be curious about people. Be curious about nature. Insert the word "why" or the phrase "why not" into your thought process, and your curiosity pores will open up exponentially.

  10. Spend Time in Nature - If you slow down, walk outside, and take deep breaths, nature will awaken all your senses and jump-start your imagination beyond your wildest dreams. Get close up to a flower and look at its stamen. Rub a leaf between your fingers; feel its texture. Look at its veining and ponder how no two leaves are alike. Watch the bees and butterflies as they buzz and whirl about the landscape. Creative individuals like Einstein, Beethoven, Leonard da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Feynman were known for spending much time in nature. A suggestion: Take a daily nature walk to be in and connect with nature. No friends, children, or technology allowed. Even if you spend 10 minutes doing this daily, you'll be surprised at how it ignites your imagination and creativity. "I think nature's imagination Is so much greater than man's; she's never going to let us relax." — Richard Feynman.

In the words of the prime minister of Dubai, his highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It’s not something you await but rather create.”

The true measure of your potential is not the height of the peak you’ve reached but how far you have climbed to get there.  Let not a single day pass when you don’t remember your past and where you came from. 

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