The Calculated Creative

7 Ways you're creative in everyday life (that you didn't even realize!)

The next time you feel creativity is lacking, look for it hiding in plain sight within your everyday routines and tasks.

We tend to think creativity belongs only to artists, musicians, and writers.

But the truth is, we are all creative in small, overlooked ways each and every day.

Here are 7 times you tap into your inner creative genius without even realizing it:

1. When you decorate your home

Decorating requires visualizing how pieces will look together, arranging furniture and art to create appealing spaces, and pulling color palettes and inspiration from many different sources. Even if you think you "don't have an eye" for design, the simple acts of choosing accent pillows, wall art, rugs, and decorative objects to liven up your home shows creativity on a daily basis.

You make lots of micro-decisions that reveal stylistic flair others would miss, like identifying the perfect spot on a wall for hanging a decorative mirror or piece of wall art. Your ability to step back and evaluate the look and feel of a space demonstrates the discerning eye of an artist surveying their work.

2. When you make adjustments while cooking

Recipes serve only as a guide when cooking. To make a dish truly great requires tasting as you go, making slight adjustments to salt, acidity, sweetness, and spice until flavors pop. It also involves substituting ingredients creatively based on what you have on hand, whether swapping in different vegetables or herbs. This on-the-fly adjusting and riffing is what separates average home cooks from exceptional ones who can create magic out of whatever ingredients they have.

Improvising while cooking also keeps the experience fresh so you don't get bored making the same dishes over and over. Exploring new flavor combinations, textures, ingredients and world cuisines stretches your palate and creative capacity in the kitchen. Don't be afraid to deviate from that recipe and add your own twist!

3. When you put together an outfit

Getting dressed isn't just about throwing on clothes in the morning. To look polished and put together requires carefully evaluating colors, patterns, styles, and proportions to create a flattering, cohesive look. Building ensembles that work for your body type and personal style requires stylistic skill many overlook.

But you apply that creative eye more than you think. Take mixing patterns for example – that requires envisioning how two or more busy prints will look together without clashing. Or coordinating accent colors in an outfit so shades complete rather than compete with each other. These subtle decisions make getting dressed a wonderfully creative endeavor.

4. When you tell a great story

Storytelling engages the imagination to build compelling narrative arcs, incorporate vivid descriptive details, and adapt your tone, pacing and emphasis to hold listener interest. In doing so, you tap into the heart of creativity by constructing entire worlds out of thin air – even if it’s just recalling something interesting that happened to you earlier in the day!

Spinning an engaging tale draws on creative skills like building suspense, acting out dramatic moments, and knowing when to speed up or slow down to keep people hooked. Using vocal inflections and gestures as you re-enact conversations also demonstrates performance artistry you might not have realized you possessed. So next time you share a captivating story with friends, give yourself a pat on the back for flexing those creative muscles.

5. When you crack a witty joke

Comedy is extraordinarily difficult because it involves makings unexpected connections between ideas and identifying humorous juxtapositions others would never think to put together. In other words, cracking witty jokes on the fly draws heavily on skills like fluid thinking, quick problem solving, and imaginative reasoning that we associate with creativity.

Being funny means having superb timing, reading the room, and tailoring your humor to the audience at hand. It often taps into vulnerability by being willing to risk a joke falling flat. And it necessitates holding lots of disparate concepts in your mind at once to mash together humorously. So pat yourself on the back next time you land a one-liner that sends your friends into fits of laughter – that’s your creative genius at work!

6. When you plan an efficient schedule

Fitting everything in requires visualizing logistics, identifying priorities, anticipating timing issues, and problem solving roadblocks. This big picture view calls on creative skills like resource optimization, strategic thinking, and imaginative scenario planning that you likely take for granted.

But scheduling is far from simple, boring paperwork. It necessitates optimization algorithms and if/then creative reasoning: if I move this appointment, then I can go to my niece’s recital. If I schedule a working lunch, I'll free up time to go to the gym afterwards. Juggling multiple commitments simultaneously and efficiently reveals superior creative and critical thinking prowess hiding within your everyday scheduling habits.

7. When you have an inspired idea

Those random “shower thoughts” or sparks of inspiration where unique ideas seem to come from nowhere reveal your inherent creativity. By viewing the world in unexpected ways, you’re able to come up with novel solutions and ideas others may never think of.

But inspiration surprises you more often that you realize in your daily life. An inspired new use for leftovers, an outside-the-box solution to an annoying problem, an unexpected arts & crafts idea, or a new system for organizing your space all demonstrate moments of ingenious imaginative thinking. Start capturing those mini lightbulb moments more, no matter how random or small. They hold power!

The Takeaway

The next time you feel creativity is lacking, look for it hiding in plain sight within your everyday routines and tasks.

With an open mind to appreciate your existing creative gifts, you'll realize you have an imaginative spirit that regularly reveals itself in subtle ways in your daily life.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

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