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Finding Your Inner Genius: The 10 Steps to Creativity

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I happen to know you're a genius. It's true. It's always been true. You just forgot. We all have some kind of genius, but for many of us, life experiences, whether at home, in school, or in the workplace may have done little to confirm that. I'll bet you don't want that for your child.

So, how do you find your hidden creative genius-and how do you ensure your child does the same? One way is through crafts. I believe there are steps you can take to make crafting a process of creative discovery, not only for your child, but also for yourself. Take these 10 steps to greater creativity. Once you get started, I guarantee you'll find more!

  1. Become a kid again. Watch what little kids do, especially in uninstructed situations. Remember the things you enjoyed doing as a kid? Who supported you in them? Who discouraged you? What did it feel like when you were playing and feeling free to use your imagination? Pretend to be five again.

  2. Play. What is play? In my dictionary, one part of the definition is, "freedom of movement within a space; freedom for action or scope for activity." Note the emphasis on FREEDOM. You can feel free to unleash your creative instincts, no matter what your age.

    Go to the store and get some play things -- stickers, crayons, Play-Doh, bubbles, chalk, pipe cleaners -- whatever appeals to your "inner child." Set aside an afternoon or evening to play with them, all by yourself. Sit on the floor with a big piece of paper. Don't worry about making a mess. Try drawing with the opposite hand than you normally do and feel what it's like to be a little kid learning to write again. Play like this often.

  3. Change your inner voices. As you play, notice the inner voices you hear. Perhaps they sound like this: "I'm too old to be doing this." "I can't draw...I'm not artistic." "This is silly." Don't let your inner voices stop you.

    You can change your "self-talk" any time you want. Start using affirmations (positive statements you repeat often to reinforce changes you'd like to make in your thinking). Develop affirmations that feel good to you, like, "I am a talented, creative person." "I am an ARTIST." This may seem a little strange at first, but as you work at it, it becomes easier. The more you start affirming your own genius, the more you'll be able to affirm your child's.

  4. Take pride in your creations. Have a place to display what you create. If you're not audacious enough to hang your works up for all to see, keep them in a folder, portfolio, or scrapbook. Better yet, hang or otherwise display them in a prominent place. Admire them and say, "I made this!"

  5. Make a study of creativity. You can do this in lots of ways. Look at the people in your life you consider really creative. Study them closely. Ask them questions. Interview them. Ask if you could follow them around for a day. Once you observe the behaviors associated with creativity you can begin to model them yourself.

    Or, read about creativity. Find out what we've learned about it and how to teach it (or, as I prefer to say, find it). Spend some time with really young children and watch the way they create. Constantly look for new creativity tools — mindmapping, storyboarding, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), visualization, new software, books, tapes, Web sites — whatever techniques intrigue you.

    Some other tools for developing creativity you might like to experiment with are:

  6. Mindmapping: a technique originally devised for taking more meaningful notes, which uses icons, images, and keywords to map ideas and relationships between them. You can learn more about this technique in the book The Brain Book by Peter Russell.

    • Storyboarding: an adaptation of the method used by movie makers to visualize the action in a particular scene from the screenplay before shooting. This technique can also be used for problem-solving or improving recall. A good book that explains storyboarding is Show Me: The Complete Guide to Storyboarding and Problem Solving by Harry I. Forsha.

    • Neuro-linguistic programming: NLP for short, this is a way of "re-programming the brain" using various techniques such as modeling and self-hypnosis. One of its leading proponents, who has added many of his own ideas to basic NLP theory is Anthony Robbins.

    • Exercise your "creativity muscle." Creativity is a lot like a muscle. It's stronger when it gets plenty of exercise. Learn more about problem-solving techniques and try them. Challenge yourself with creative problems and puzzles. Seek out people who are different from you (people from different places and people who hold different beliefs). Try to see things from their point of view. Seek out new experiences that force you to stretch your mind and emotions. Every week, try something new — a class, a lecture, an event — that's not something you'd usually do.

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More on: Crafts for Kids

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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