This is the final installment in my series, Three Keys to an Unconventional Life. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing this series, because it’s allowed me to dig into some of my own thoughts and nail down what’s important to me and why.
To review, an unconventional life – at least, the kind I want to live – requires three things:
Big or small, it doesn’t matter. The point is simply to incorporate new, different, unexpected things into your life, to bring in some uncertainty and take risks and see what happens
A life of adventure often involves taking actions that frighten you. When taking risks and doing the unexpected get scary, being brave is the answer.
This is the subject of today’s post, and the final key that ties everything together. Read on!
The Third Key: Creativity
cre · a · tiv · i · ty
1. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships and create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations
2. originality, progressiveness, or imagination
3. the process by which one exercises one’s creative abilities
I think it’s easy for people to get stumped by the word “creativity” because many folks don’t think of themselves as artistic. Creativity can certainly refer to a propensity for the arts, but it can also mean the ability to come up with new and different ideas. In that sense, everyone has an inherent creativity inside them – we’re born with it.
Oh, the Humanity
Creativity is an intrinsic part of being human. Everyone has an imagination and can come up with their own thoughts and original ideas – it’s what we all do naturally as kids. What child doesn’t make up stories, find shapes in clouds, or draw pictures of new and exciting creatures?
But too often, we lose touch with that inner ability as we grow up. We’re told to stop being a “dreamer” and to plant our feet on the ground and keep our head out of the clouds. We’re told to be “realistic” and focus on more adult matters like getting a job, finding health insurance, or qualifying for a mortgage.
And of course, in our society, the careers that are most often held up as examples of success aren’t the ones that are the most creative by nature, such as writers, photographers, teachers, or dancers, but rather the ones that make the most money or gain the person the most prominence – lawyers, engineers, accountants, and so forth.
Most of us would do well to be reminded of that earlier time in our lives where imagination reigned supreme, because whether we realize it or not, we all have a need to express our innate creativity in some way, whether it’s…
- coming up with a tasty new dinner recipe
- drawing a silly cartoon on your kid’s napkin for lunch
- decorating your home beautifully
- finding unique ways to fix things around the house
- sewing your own clothes
- taking artistic photos
- building a bookshelf
- restoring a car
- baking beautiful birthday cakes
- or playing the ukulele.
Too often, though, these pursuits fall under the category of “hobbies,” which tend to slip and slide down the priority scale as people get caught up in all the things they feel they MUST do. Creative activity becomes a “nice-to-have” instead of a must-do, and eventually nothing more than a wistful memory.
We need to bring creativity back into our lives in order to tap into what it means to be human, to find our joy, and to fully experience life.
One way of doing this is by making the time to pursue our own directly creative pursuits, like all those hobbies I mentioned above. Artistic activity can provide huge benefits – it’s been shown to increase positive emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and even improve medical outcomes in the chronically ill. (Read more here and here.)
Bringing creativity back into your life also means using it to come up with ideas for new adventures, and then bravely following through on them and seeing where those adventures take you.
Adventure means doing something unusual – and that means using creative thinking to find ways to break out of your routine. Let your mind wander, turn off your own internal filters of “that’s crazy” or “I could never” and set your imagination free and see what you come up with!
- Maybe you’ll decide to cook Moroccan food for the first time, instead of the usual meatloaf.
- Maybe you’ll find a place to go zip-lining on the weekend instead of staying in and doing laundry.
- Maybe you’ll take a day off from work, keep your kid home from school, and have a day-long “date” going to the movies, making a “Build-a-Bear,” and playing in the park.
It’s up to you and your imagination to come up with ideas to shake up your normal routine and inject some excitement into your life.
And finally, since many times the unconventional life goes hand-in-hand with solopreneurship (what I refer to as the alternative lifestyle revolution), living creatively also often means challenging old notions of financial security, questioning the usual assumptions, and forging your own path to financial well-being.
Use your creative thinking to come up with new and different ways to generate income, which will give you the financial freedom to pursue bigger adventures and find meaning and fulfillment. Because that’s what the unconventional life is all about.
Adventure, being brave, and creativity are all intricately interwoven and interdependent parts that provide the structure for fully experiencing life, creating joy, and building a legacy of living. This isn’t a boring, staid, usual life in which you simply follow the usual playbook.
This is a life where you write your own story, choose your own adventure, live bravely and creatively.
It’s not a life that you just get through. It’s a life fully lived.
Now it’s YOUR turn! Tell me what you think about creativity – is it something we really all have within us? How do you incorporate it into your life? Or let me know what you thought of this three-part series and whether I should do more like it in the future! Scroll down and leave your comments!