As children we instinctively knew how to be innovative. We explored our unlimited potential to innovate and inspired ourselves and others through play. Despite being born to indulge in innovative thinking, as we grew up we gradually became accustomed to more ‘adult’ ways of doing things and stopped being encouraged to use our imagination and express ourselves creatively, which ultimately requires taking risks.
Creativity is an act of bravery, because in creating something we risk ridicule and failure. So, as we move from child to teenager and teenager to adult we learn to play it safe and conform within boundaries. Most of us do this help us ‘fit in’, to gain acceptance and to meet expectations of others. But your ability to innovate is still very much within you, always has been, always will be. The question is how can you engage with it again? How can you use it, trust it and share it with others?
One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your inner innovator is to allow yourself to play! Playing is the most creative human state. If we want to return to the state of creativity that children have naturally, we have to remember how to play. Think back to the things you enjoyed doing as a child … Whether it was getting messy with paint, dressing up dolls, or building sand castles. The chances are those same activities that you were drawn to doing back then, you’ll still enjoy doing now! How might be able to reintroduce and indulge in some of these things in your everyday life? Engaging with your sense of play can be as simple as taking time out to doodle silly pictures at your desk or as thrilling as heading off to a theme park for the day with your partner, friends or kids.
By bringing play back into your life, you free up your creative flow and find all kinds of ideas and inspiration springing up. This is because while we play, we stay present in the moment and switch off about concerns about the past or future. Our conscious mind switches off allowing the sub-conscious mind to be highly productive. So when you are facing a big decision or problem to solve, or you have a project you are working on that needs a burst of creativity to bring it to life – one of the best things you can do is play! Yep! Staring at the page forcing things to happen just won’t work. Instead, try getting up out of your seat and having a bit of fun.
Just a few moments engaging in your instinctive state of play is enough to occupy your conscious mind and free up the innovative thoughts of your unconscious … the genius within! Once you’ve got your creative juices flowing again, feel your fear and get your ideas out there – who knows where they might take you. As Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it!”. Take a leap of faith, have some fun and get innovative today!