Think Like a Seven Year Old to be More Creative

My granddaughter, Kyla, before her dance performance.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Pablo Picasso. You probably already knew that because I have a widgit with a Picasso quote on the left hand side of this blog. The quote is: 

“All children are artists. The only problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

I have always felt that we could learn about life and the way to live by watching children. Children are so innocent, forgiving, eager to learn, and loving.  Children get excited about the simplest of things.  They have great imaginations. They trust. They believe.  

I found an article written by journalist Tom Jacobs that I found interesting. The title of the article is: Fresh Approaches to Sparking Creativity. (I hope you will take the time to go read the whole article.) In this article Tom Jacobs discusses two papers recently written about studies on creativity.  He states:

One study finds exploring contrasts and commonalities between cultures helps unlock creativity — news that would not surprise Picasso, who was strongly influenced by African art. The second suggests seeding the imagination is as simple as allowing yourself to think like a 7-year-old.”

The results of the first study seems expected. But the results of the second study I find absolutely fascinating.  You can improve your creativity by thinking like a seven year old!?

As adults age we get bogged down by responsibility, by trying to make a living, by chores, a job, etc. We are no longer children. In fact sometimes we chastise people by saying they are acting like a child or that they need to grow up. 

But, instead of being such serious adults, maybe we need to look at this study. Half the adults in the study were given additional instructions which stated, “You are seven years old.”  These “seven year old thinkers” then ended up showing more creativity in doing their assigned task.

So, if we want to be more creative, let’s learn a lesson from children. It sounds to me that we should try to use a child-like mindset as we create. It wouldn’t hurt to be more spontaneous and to look at things with a fresh eye, a degree of wonder, as if seeing it for the first time.  

Give this a try and see if you can get that child-like thought process back. I know it will be fun to visit with your child artist again. Remember we are all artists!

Let me know how it goes.

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