Thursday, 5 August 2010

how creativity = 'sucessful' living (+ an experiment for you to try)

 a page from one of my art journals

I live in belief that creativity is the cornerstone of successful living. I know 'success' is personal to each of us. You might want to read this post. However, I guess (from my own personal inclinations) success for many means living a life we want to live: freedom to do what we want, live by our own rules, and fill our time with joful and pleasureable activities. It's not about money (for me), if all my time is given over to something joyless and tiring.

How then is creativity the cornerstone of success? BECAUSE I've realised (from years of writing CV's for people to gain employment) many of us aren't sure HOW to get creative in manifesting and creating doing what we love for a living. Where work becomes play and we get paid to be ourselves.

The best education we can ever give a person (in my book) is to foster in each of us how to THINK for ourselves and PROBLEM solve in life. ie. I need x to go do y or z - then the question becomes: WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO CREATE THAT HAPPENING? And apply it to a real live situation. If we've been brought up to believe in 'pass' or 'fail' and getting the answer right or wrong, and most of the time has been spent at a desk 'thinking' and not 'doing' it's hard to get creative.

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand"
- Confucius

People often think; "well, I failed my exams in that subject therefore I can't get that job I want" (I know because I've worked with people in this situation for many years) and frequently they fall back, give up, and live life in quiet exasperation. What if you don't learn well on paper, or you had a bad exam day? - this isn't a true reflection of life, it's an imposed artificial situation. Let's get creative instead.


It went like this: making mistakes and 'failing' is a PRE-REQUISITE TO SUCCESS. If something DOESN'T work (given what you are trying to achieve), you move on to the next possible solution; you get creative. What if you were taught that ALL the solutions we need are in us and there are many ways or 'answers'?

If we were to stop thinking for a moment - current education systems encourage a lot of 'head' work - and were to DO something creative and active, we might find things get a little more interesting. Lateral thinking skills develop through: physical, emotional, interpersonal, artistic, musical subjects, and often these intelligences are not given the credence they deserve. The WORLD needs musical, physical , emotionally intelligent and, artistic people - there isn't ONE intelligence, there are many. There's a great ted's talk on this post.

What message did you get at school?

I didn't get this message at school though. It was about getting it academically RIGHT, ticking boxes and knowing if I gave enough 'right' (and regurgitated) answers at school I would have the relevant paperwork (exam certificates), to get a 'good' job spending my time working for some-one else's creation. What would I do if their values and ethos didn't resonate with mine? how could I create a job that  filled me with excitement and passion, and I got paid for that? What if I was taught how to think up the answers, the solutions, and was equipped with the creative skills that allowed me to CREATE MY OWN LIFE AS I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IT. That is the education that I believe is needed now.

Life is lived by doing not by memorising - this dulls the mind not ignites it. Doing is the start of making things happen, how and what you do is the creative part. The first thing we all do in a day is get up. What we decide to do next is not about pass or fail, it's about making it WORK given what we want to achieve.

" . . . knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do"
 - Leonardo Da Vinci

try this experiment:

Answer the following:

1. what would you like to achieve right now, in your life?


2. write down three ways you can go about beginning to achieve this (you will have ideas and answers)

3. now you've thought about it and gathered some ideas, go and DO something. My ideas for doing which I think are MOST effective for bringing about physical, tangible results are these:

- go out and do what a person who is already doing what you want to do/achieve. You know, DRESS UP, pretend, take on the persona, take an action, speak to them even . . . .

- collage it, draw it, paint it to create a visual rendition of what you want to achieve so you can SEE it in your minds eye. You are quite literally drawing, collaging or painting it in to creation.

THESE creative activities have more chance in bringing forth what you wish for (along with self belief, mindful thinking etc etc) and are hopefully more pleasureable than sitting working at something we don't like. Thinking about it alone probably won't, nor will thinking in pass and fail terms, and that getting it right or wrong are the measure of EVERYTHING (often they are unhelpful mental structures that society has created to keep people supporting the status quo - if you feel the status quo does not support you or people in general anymore then DO something different and create your own beliefs and mental structures).

"I am convinced that creativity is a priori to the integrity of the Universe and that life is regenerative and conformity meaningless."
- Richard Buckminster Fuller

Getting creative about how we bring about a life we wish for is usually the most fulfilling and successful.

You don't have to agree with me, but I speak from my own experiences in work, life, and parenting. You might want to read: what I learnt at art school (and it wasn't painting).

A new course:

The above is why I am in the planning and writing stages of a week long intensive (on-line) course in journalling dreams - a visual, creative play into acknowledging our dreams, for later this year. I have done this and know how powerful it can be. If you want to find out more and when, subscribe to my newsletter either here or in my left-hand column (there is a secret 'gift' element to this course too ;)

Here's to a creative, fufilling, happy life happening for you. . . . .

check out my interview over at: notes from the edge blog (by another Amelia!)


The places are being filled on the on the experimental art e-course - please do join us here if you want to experiment with art and your creativity.


  1. Amelia ~ you rock!!!
    signing up for the newsletter now ~ journalling course sounds great x

  2. Amelia, your writing resonates with positive thought. As one who has made a massive journey in allowing creativity into my life over the last few months, your posts are a great inspiration to move forward.

  3. Amelia, you couldn't have written this post a better timed than today, right at this moment. For a long time already I am cruising through life with lots of ideas and in comparison a little bit of doing. So the dreaming and doing has to become more balanced because I would love to be paid to be myself.

    You made my day, thanks for the inspiration.

  4. What a wonderful post, Amelia and it arrived at a perfect time. I needed to read these words this morning! Happy Thursday ;))

  5. What a wonderful post Amelia, I homeschool my daughter and use mainly Waldorf inspired principles with my teaching. The ways in which education and knowledge is learnt is in a creative and expressive way which takes limitation of children so they may develop their creativity and gain knowledge through their head, heart and hands.

    Thank you for your wonderful links and inspiring ideas.

  6. love the journal page! and I can't wait to hear more details about your week long course-sounds like a lot of creative energy going on!! xo

  7. thank you lovely people for your supportive comments. I was a little concerned it might come across as a rant! So it is lovely to know it inspired and resonated.

    FS - I also sent my daughter to a Rudolf Steiner School, and now she attends the only visual and performing arts school in London doing art with lots of other talented youngsters - there should be more schools like this!

    Jill - your journey is an inspiration to others too!

    Elizabeth - go for it!


  8. thank you JP - can't find you anywhere to visit back!

  9. Yet another great and inspirational post! Lots of things to think about now so thank you! :-)

  10. Looking forward to hearing details of the journalling !

  11. Amelia,
    I loved reading this post.
    I struggled at school and did not realize until a few years ago that I have dyscalculia.
    It effected my confidence terribly.
    I had to find creative ways to get round it.
    M x

  12. Well now, that new course sounds like something to look forward to!
    Your description of school is so accurate. For me it was just that - absorbtion of facts. We weren't really taught how to think or feel. We weren't encouraged to develop values or search for what our hearts were whispering us to do. I guess we have to learn that all by ourselves!

  13. Thank you for this post, Amelia.
    This is just what I needed to hear at this moment in my life.
    (and I needed a good kick in the pants to get me going!)

  14. lovely and inspiring post. im currently in the midst of exams and worrying i wont do well enough and wont get the marks for the course i want to get into for next year. thankyou so much for posting this and i am definately going to "create" a visual of my aspirations tonight! thank you :)

  15. Wow, I totally connected with this post, Amelia. I don't really have many great, positive, creative memories from school - I wish there had been more. I too think that education is so much more than ticking boxes and memorising... I am currently doing a lot of research into homeschooling and wondering if my daughter would gain more from this approach. It seems peculiar sending her from a free-thinking, creative environment into an environment that seems quite at odds. Hmmm. Anyway, your post really made me think... I hope you are well x

  16. Every time I visit your blog I leave inspired! So glad I found 101 Birdtales-It is a joy to come back to again and again!

  17. thinking outside the create!
    Wise one Amelia! Problem solving is what I
    promote in class and the ability to work with others, ultimately art is a solitary activity
    at times but making with others creates a
    nurturing environment. Wise post! x

  18. Amelia I love, love, love this post. I will try to reread it before returning to the classroom to remind me of what and how I truly want to be teaching. Barcelona is brialliant! The new course sounds like it is exactly what I want to do.

  19. Its so true, that failing leads us to something else and you have to fail to get there, I wouldnt have the job I do today if I had got the high grades in my A-levels expected. Instead I failed, thought the world was over, but have ended up in a career I love with a PhD in a subject I love, wouldnt be here now if I hadnt failed. great positive post

  20. Amelia I like what you are offering people with your e course.
    It is generous and valuable.
    Great post.

    best wishes for every success that you desire.

  21. I agree with Robyn it's generous and valuable! Keep up the good work girl!

  22. What beautiful information you are offering here Amelia. Not simply settling for growing as an artist but helping others as well-BRAVO!

  23. I have not own words to express of this article and important post but i can say that very necessary advices to live in life .


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