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Displaying Creativity — It Could Be Your Life Theme

When my children were young I would spend lots of time looking at all sorts of beautifully decorated themed cakes for their birthdays. Year after year, I would tell myself, “I can do this!”

And I would try…

Somehow though, my “creations” never matched up to the full color photos displayed in specialty dessert magazines (or to this gorgeous cake baked and skillfully decorated by a friend of mine for her son’s third birthday.)

Apparently, I lacked the “creative touch” when it came to decorating with frosting and other edible adornments.

But, oh how I tried…I maintained this slim hope that if other people could create a visual masterpiece then so could I.

Never happened. What I needed to do was realize my limitations and partner with those who could do what I couldn’t (Isn’t that what professional bakers are for? Baking? They bake. I buy.)

I finally gave up and decided my kids would value a cool purchased cake just as much as any homemade one (and maybe more) because the store-bought cake didn’t rely on my explanations of what the cake was supposed to be (or look like…)

“Yes, honey, that is a Ladybug…” Sigh.

Interestingly, though I’ve failed at cake decorating, I think I’ve learned how to encourage “creativity” in myself and those around me.

One the most essential ingredients is to nurture a new idea like one would a fledgling flower seed…you water it, give it ample sunlight, fertilize it…whatever it takes to get it to grow (that includes some gentle hovering at the beginning stage.)

I appreciate how author Charlie Brower puts it…

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”

Unfortunately….

Negative environments kill thousands of great ideas every minute.”

On the other hand, speaker John Maxwell cites, “a creative environment is like a greenhouse where ideas get seeded, sprout up, and flourish.

Maxwell says to get a workplace (or home) to function at its most effective and efficient best…creativity is one of the nonnegotiables.

His recommendations?

Encourage creativity – give people permission to be creative.
Build Trust – creative people need to be able to trust in a team effort.
Embrace those who are creative – celebrate the offbeat, don’t run from it.
Focus on innovation, not just invention – making a good idea a better one.
Live outside the lines – open up the limitations so people grow past them.
Appreciate the power of a dream – goals may give focus, but dreams expand the world and empower it.

We can either live dull, predictable lives…or we can choose to liven it up with lots of creativity…remembering though that pressing for creativity isn’t always comfortable (because with creativity comes tension)…still it’s definitely more exciting (and colorful.)

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3 thoughts on “Displaying Creativity — It Could Be Your Life Theme

  1. Great post, Michele. On my son’s first birthday (many moons ago) my husband had already left for work and I discovered I didn’t have any flour in the house – and no car to run to the store. After a bit of inner stewing, I made the baby’s cake with Bisquik, trying to figure out and compensate for what was in the mix and what needed to be added. It wasn’t beautiful. It was very lopsided, but it was a birthday cake. I have a great, happy picture to prove it.
    You’ve heard the phrase of a new mom: “I’ve never been a mom before.” and the baby’s response: “That’s okay, I’ve never been a baby before.”

  2. Love this story, Lois! Reminds me of the many times I tried to duplicate a cool looking photo from a magazine and failed…and then realized my concoctions might not look great…but they tasted wonderful. And my kids (generous little souls that they were…) always gave me lots of lovin’ for making the attempt. Or they would comfort me, “It doesn’t look bad, Mom. Really!” Then we’d have to have a discussion on not lying…. 😉

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