Illustrations by the writer
Illustrations by the writer

“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.” — Albert Einstein

Being creative means portraying a common idea or a design through our own unique point of view. Creativity allows us to be innovative and opens our mind in a way that it makes our ideas stand out from others. And in order for us to be creative, we should have originality in our art, according to Einstein.

Creative thinking is one of the most functional and helpful skills one can possess. You may believe that creativity is innate and only certain people are creative, but it is a skill that everyone possesses. Every single person has the ability to create. And all their creative pieces are unique, just like their fingerprints and their reflection in the mirror, since everyone is born with a unique perspective about the world.

Some people have discovered their source of creativity, however, some of us have our creative genius locked inside our mind, waiting to be unlocked. Here are six steps that will help and inspire you to unlock your creativity.

Step 1: Don’t wait for inspiration

Creativity comes while working. You need to start working on an idea to unlock your creative juices. There will be inflow of ideas once you take a step forward.

But often you might find yourself stuck in a situation where you don’t find any inspiration and you keep searching on the internet for ideas. You may end up wasting your time, or creating something which is not out of the box by following the footsteps of others. But at least you tried and created something, and this process will help you realise how you can be more original and creative the next time.

Step 2: Use works of art to see your reflection

You all must be thinking, how am I supposed to get started without taking inspiration? Starting is especially tough when you are a beginner, but let me burst this bubble for you — the greatest inspiration which you will find is within yourself. You will end up presenting a piece of art or a design in a way that is processed through your own unique outlook, and skills which you can call your own.

For instance, Khaby Lame, the most-followed TikToker, in the world with more than 146 million TikTok followers, makes comedy reels that mock meaningless ‘life hacks’ — all without saying a word, through his hilarious expression.

Now what made him famous overnight? He came up with an idea of his own. Since everyone was sharing life hacks, he decided to take that idea, but gave it his own creative and innovative touch, very different from everyone else’s.

If you take an idea from others and then give it your own touch, you can also do wonders like him. You just need to think about a talent or skill, which you possess, which is unique to you. Then use that talent to create something that has your reflection in it, in order for it to be unique. Hence, it’s important to be aware of your own ideas when taking inspiration from the ideas of others! The more you connect with your inner self, the more you will have originality in your art.

Step 3: Eliminate the unnecessary

Pablo Picasso said that “Art is chaos taking shape.”

When you are creating a piece of art, you experiment by fitting different ideas together initially. There are endless options and influences, but you have to carefully pick what to include and what to exclude.

Try experimenting with different ideas, but select one that reflects you — your ideas and thoughts. Do not overdo things in the excitement to experiment. Remember, the simpler a concept, design or art, the more impactful it will be. So create clarity from chaos, as a result, you will end up creating a masterpiece.

Step 4: Break it down

Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” — Vincent Van Gogh

These words of wisdom, by Vincent Van Gogh, is a reminder to us that in order to create something great, we need to first take small steps, since large goals can be so daunting that you might give up even before starting. Hence, you need to break it down, which will create a define path in front of you to follow.

Step 5: Create junk

Creating something useful requires countless attempts. For instance, you may write a four-page long substandard essay, with tonnes of mistakes, only to find out that you wrote only one good sentence in it. And this sentence will be the beginning of your successful write-up.

Never discard your work or an idea halfway, always focus on the end result since creativity takes time, especially larger projects, don’t happen overnight. It takes working, in a series of moments consistently. One should remember that our portfolio, or even a hobby, takes time to build successfully. Every project you finish is a step closer to becoming an expert at what you do. So don’t be afraid of creating something bad or not up to the mark, because you will eventually end up with something worthy.

Step 6: Shape and develop your idea based on feedback

Your idea must be presented in front of the world in order to succeed! You should never be afraid of failure, since it is the first step towards success, as that’s how we learn how to refine our ideas and our areas of improvement. Sometimes putting your work in front of people means dealing with unnecessary hate or rejection, but you don’t have to give up.

In order to get your idea accepted by people, observe and study their mind and try to find out what they like, and make something that is more universally appealing. You can do this simply by following latest trends, be it on social media, and see what others are doing. But don’t copy them, rather create a unique version of your own. If one thing does not work, try to get people’s feedback, but it is essential to maintain a balance. Don’t depend on people’s feedback entirely, it’s okay to follow your heart and go against people sometimes. You should focus on creating balance at this stage and learn from failures, since “failures” will open unexpected doors to success, which will lead us to something better.

Step 7: Make friends with self-doubt

The biggest hurdle which you will ever face in your journey of becoming a creative person is self-doubt. But what exactly is self-doubt? It’s a mindset that holds you back from succeeding.

When a person lacks confidence in their ability and feels incapable of doing things, they start underestimating themselves. It is natural to judge your work and feel disappointment when it’s not up to the mark, but don’t let self-doubt become a hurdle in your progress.

William Shakespeare once said, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” This basically means that self-doubt makes us quit when we might have won, if we would have only tried.

However, self-doubt is not always your enemy, rather, if you make it your friend, then self-criticism can be a good source of motivation. You will be inspired to work harder and improve your skills. It will save you from being over-confident, but it is essential to maintain a balance.

In a study published in Arts & Health, researchers found that “just 45 minutes of free art making was enough to improve a person’s confidence”. Once you have finished working on an idea and creating something, a sense of achievement will kick in and you will automatically feel proud of yourself. Secondly, you will not be afraid of taking risk and of failure. Since it is one of the most useful skills one can possess, it will help you in every aspect of your life and make you stand out from the others around you.

So the next time when you find yourself questioning your ability, just don’t give up, at least try and work on to improve the skills which you are insecure about, rather quitting. You can do this by following these simple steps:

• Think about to your past achievements.

• Spend time with supportive people.

• Talk about your feelings and insecurities, this will allow you to unburden your heart and be heard.

• Take a break and relax, and shift your focus to something totally different. Then start over again with a fresh mind.

• Take professional help, you might want to learn from a professional in order to polish your skills.

This brings us to the conclusion, that whether you consider yourself creative or not, there’s a bit of it in all of us. You just need to unlock it, by following these steps.

Published in Dawn, Young World, October 29th, 2022

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