Round ’em Up: Creativity is Good For You!

Posted By on May 5, 2014 in Creative Business

This edition of “Round ’em Up” all started when my husband sent me a link to an article about how knitting (one of my personal obsessions er, hobbies) is actually good for your brain (see below for the link). That got me thinking that my creativity – the way I approach problems, the hobbies I pursue – is good for me in a lot of ways. Because I am capable of knitting myself a pair of socks, I feel confident that I will always have warm feet (and so will my family members). Because I can make a quilt I know we’ll always be snug and cozy in our beds. Because I can bake a loaf of bread, I know we won’t go hungry as long as we can have access to basic pantry staples. I feel confident in my family’s ability to survive the zombie apocalypse anything that comes our way, because I know that I can use my creative talents to help us in a variety of ways.

This confidence also extends to my self-esteem and the way I approach the world. I’m more confident in myself because I have mastered a variety of skills (knitting, spinning yarn, quilting, etc.). I taught myself how to do almost all of my creative hobbies, and therefore I know that I’m capable of learning new things and mastering other skills. I feel sure that I will be able to solve a problem creatively because I’ve done it so many times before. (Dropped a stitch? Pick it up! Missed a seam? Sew it again! Ran out of fabric? Patch more together!)

So today I’m rounding up some articles that use actual science (yay, science!) to back up what most of you probably already know – that creativity is good for you. Pull these out of your pocket the next time you need to prove that to the haters.

  • The article that started it all was from CNN Online: This is Your Brain on Knitting. It talks about how we often get tunnel vision when we’re focused on a creative task, and that this tunnel vision can actually be a good thing! Focusing on your knitting, drawing, or sculpting means you’re not focusing on your financial woes, the fight you just had with your spouse, or your fears about the future. Getting really into a craft project means you can let go of stress for a while, and that has lasting effects on your health and well-being.
  • This article on Fast Company – Happiness Means Creativity – outlines how a marketing firm hired a team of positive psychologists to come in and train their staff. Not on marketing skills, or business skills – but on positive living. The company realized that if they could teach their employees to be happier and more creative, those employees would bring that positive, can-do, creative attitude to work every day and it would mean better performance across the board. For more on this topic, check out the work of Shawn Achor.
  • This TED Talk by John Paul Caponigro – You’re More Creative Than You Think You Are – is about inspiring people to find creativity within themselves. Whether it’s drawing, doodling, writing, crafting, or just thinking through a problem – we all have the capacity to be more creative. And when we flex that capacity and try to build it up, we can find all kinds of positive results that come from it.
  • Positive Living Now expands on this idea – that creativity isn’t limited to the world of arts and crafts. Rather, creativity can happen in the way you organize and clean your house, the way you plan your weekly menu and grocery list, or the way you tackle a task at your day job. Their post, The Positive Benefits of Creativity, outlines how you can be more creative as well as why you would want to.
  • Just in case you thought that creativity was all sunshine and roses, let’s not forget the tortured artist theme that seems to run rampant among creative geniuses. Add to that the evil genius archetype, and you can see that creativity isn’t always a good thing. This study from the Harvard Business School explores the hypothesis that being creative means that you’re able to think outside the box – which sometimes leads you to think outside the limits of the law. They argue that highly creative people are more likely to be dishonest or to stretch the truth because of their creative ability to think through a situation in an unorthodox or divergent way. (It sounds like something out of a young adult novel, but it is backed by research. Still, I’d take creativity over absolute honesty any day, wouldn’t you?)

So, what does this mean for you, as a creative business owner? Well, the next time you think you don’t have time to work on developing that new product or practicing your creative hobbies because you’re so swamped by custom orders, think again! The time you spend flexing your creative muscles may just make you better at filling those orders, serving your customers, and running your business.

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