You know the old expression – “use it or lose it!” Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that the saying is 100% true.
I had a big booming operatic voice when young. I studied church music and secretly for the opera. “Secretly” because my Dad did not take kindly to my learning anything but religious classics. So we compromised. In recitals I would do all hymns and religious music and just one operatic aria. But any other time. . . well I could let go and belt out my high C 2 octaves above middle C anytime I wanted!
But over the years, life intervened. I no longer studied, didn’t sing in the choir or serve as a cantor. I didn’t sink in the bathtub and rarely sang anywhere at all. Needless to say, I lost that big booming voice. I failed to use it and use it properly. Even with what we call aging out of vocal prime, I could have hit a high C above middle C if I’d used it instead of losing it!
I’m sure each of you reading this piece can attest to the truth of the saying. You’ve failed to use a God-given talent or skill and over time; it’s viability waned. Finally, it may have died altogether.
Today I want to talk about a quality we all possess but often don’t use or forget to use. And then there are those who insist they don’t possess it – even in teeny weeny measure.
So what is it? It’s CREATIVITY!
All too often in our adult lives, we walk away from that which is so much a part of our childhood. The years when nothing mattered except using our imagination to create imaginary friends, castles in the backyard sandbox and ghost stories that made shivers creep up our spines while laughing at each other’s fearful responses! The creativity of youth is absolutely amazing.
Speaking of youthful creativity, it occurs to me that the world’s most successful folks have maintained some of that youthful use of imagination to bring forth great inventions, including things like the IPhone . The Steve Jobs of the world may have grown up chronologically, but never quite left the sandbox castles far behind.
What happens between childhood and mature adulthood?
Perhaps we were chastised for imaginations others thought vain. Or, we may have been raised in a strict religious environment that thought such youthful journeys into flights of fantasy the work of the devil.
And if we tried our hand at adventure and failed. . . well the laughter and ridicule of others, including that of parents and peers might keep us forever in a “safe zone” where no such thing would ever happen to us again! Whoosh, out the door goes creativity as we hold onto the security blanket of always looking pure and holy in the sight of others!
Sound familiar? Are you one who gave up the pursuit of creative ventures for the safety of the sure and secure? I sincerely hope not!
I want each of you reading this to humor me. I want you to try something in the days ahead that requires you let go of your security blanket. Something you would label “creative”!
Here’s some ideas to help you make the leap. . .
- Sit quietly alone. Quiet your mind and ask for your divine imagination to bring back the creativity of childhood. Let an image of something from those days that is creatively enjoyable come to mind and live with it at least 5 minutes – or more!
- Write it down. As soon as you return from mental reminiscence, write down what came to mind. Record the colors, feelings, smells of what you experienced. How did it feel? What, if anything, occurred in your body – your mind. Was it pleasurable? What other pleasant childhood memories did it invoke; if any?
- Then go away and engage in the usual tasks of the day. Tackle whatever it is that you usually do each day.
- But, pay attention to whether or not the usual and customary of your days takes on a different ‘hue’. Do you experience a different attitude? Do you find you are more adaptable to trying new and unusual ways to tackle daily tasks?
- Then REPEAT. Repeat the quiet time over and over again on a daily basis for at least a week – maybe 2.
What I hope will happen when you engage in this simple life exercise is that your brain will begin to shift back into a more creative frame once you give it permission to do so. And especially once you refrain from putting shackles on your imagination and the creativity that emanates from it’s playful child-like qualities.
Remember, even when we lose it; we can often recover at least a piece and built it once again – into the whole.
And of course, you really have nothing to lose by returning a bit of childish playfulness to your life – and work! Now do you!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
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