I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
- Pablo Picasso
Finding motivation in college is a difficult task, and keeping it is another predicament in itself. Many people associate creativity with its visual and physical representations, such as art and music, but creativity is far more complex and intangible than that. It is an all-encompassing feeling of inspiration and lust for innovation. Everyone has potential for creative thought, because everyone has an imagination. It is something embedded in our inherent design. Awakening or stimulating this process can be an eye-opening experience that opens the doors to dimensions of thinking you once thought you weren't capable of. Here are four simple ways to implement creative thought into everyday tasks.
1. Explore new music.
Go on Spotify or any legal music sharing site, go to the genre tabs or pick a mood, and force yourself to listen to the playlist for 20 minutes. Discover an artist, or finally take your friend’s recommendation you’ve swore you’d check out but put off. It may be a cliché, but when you discover an artist you deeply connect to or simply enjoy, it's an incredible feeling to bask in the creative manifestation of another human being.
What's buzzing now: Halsey. And for good reason. Girl’s got flair and her tweets range from female empowerment to silly nonsensical #struggles.
Honorary musical mention: Imagine Dragons. *cough cough*
2. Watch some comedies
Sometimes, in the chaotic storm of midterms and other college struggles, it’s healthy to have a laugh to release the built up tensions of that unruly quarter system. Go on your Netflix (or your friend’s, no judgment) and browse through the TV comedies. If you’re looking for satirical hipster absurdity, then look no further than "Portlandia." Take a break from studying and tell a lie to yourself that you will watch a single episode, but really, watch the entire series til the sun comes up. Don’t ask if this comes from experience.
Okay, this one may sound overtly simplistic and counterproductive, especially considering the unrealistic amount of reading we already get assigned (I’m looking at you, social science professors), but just hear me out. It can get a little intimidating to start the process of reading a new book, especially if you’re the type to start and then slowly abandon the concept. I am the same, and the multitude of lonely books dusting in my bookcase can attest to this fact (ENFP problems).
However, I can’t say this for a single book that completely captivated my creative spirit and reignited my passion for writing. I strongly encourage all 20-somethings to read Marina Keegan’s "The Opposite of Loneliness." Her lyrical wit and extraordinary talent for expressing the relatable trials of loneliness, doubt, and the search for self-purpose that every young college student faces into written words is worth a read.
Building off of the last suggestion, writing can be the ultimate escape from the daily stresses of life and turn into something larger than we believe we are capable of. Again, it’s not something that’s easy to do or get into, especially if you associate writing as something solely reserved for the night before a deadline. Simple tasks to stimulate your own creative greatness include journaling, jotting down dream patterns, doodling, writing a letter (no, not an email), sketching your dreams, painting, writing about a random topic you’re passionate about, the list goes on.
Simply put, writing doesn’t have to be something confined to the academic world, it can be a platform for voicing reason and important issues that matter to you. It can be an outlet to express your innermost thoughts that you think no one can relate to, but chances are, many feel the same way. To express creativity is to cultivate optimism and growth through the uninhibited curiosity that lies within all of us. It is the fearless leap of faith in discovering your greatest potential. It is the path to wisdom by virtue of ignoring the fears of failure that deter you on your own path achieving greatness. All it takes is enough dedication and inspiration to accomplish your personal goals, something that I believe can be derived from the creative momentum of these four exercises.