Art is more than a hobby. Art and creativity cure a problem that we all share at times—boredom. I’m not just talking about the boredom that comes from long commercial breaks, a meeting at work that never ends, or traffic lights. Creativity is a mindset, a way of seeing the world that puts the magic back into life. When we live creatively, not only are we never bored, we are constantly inspired, present, and empowered (and—dare I say it—happy).
As a kid, I often used to complain of boredom to my older brother. “I’m bored!” I would say as I darted about from activity to activity. My mind was racing, and I was antsy with ideas.
His response was always, “Why are you bored?”
I didn’t know.
Then, one day, he gave me a birthday present I’ve never forgotten. His card was a simple, hand written post-it note that said, “This is so you’ll never be bored again.” I opened it, hoping it was some kind of toy or exciting little gadget. But it was just a softcover activity book for me to fill out. I had that natural letdown when you get your hopes up and really just get…a book.
No! Not a book!
But then I looked at the cover and it said “Things I Can Be Happy About.” It was a workbook for me to fill in. It was filled with a bunch of blank, numbered lines, broken up into categories (like Outside, School, Friends, Activities, etc.). I don’t think I ever filled it out, but I got the idea.
The no-fail cure for boredom.
My brother was trying to teach me my first lesson in gratitude. If you realize what you can be happy about, it’s hard to ever get bored. Instead of getting bored, he wanted me to get appreciative.
A lot of times when we’re bored, we’re just unhappy. And it might just take too much energy to think about what we should be happy about. Whenever this happens to me, I have a creative exercise I like to do that helps me view the world differently and turn any boring moment in life into something whimsical. This activity is great for kids, but it also works well for adults who wish to live with the imaginative, fearless abandon that is so unique to children.
When we elevate the everyday, we can’t get bored. We’re struck by every laughing tree, every popping color, every breath of sunrise.
And even better, that whimsical fascination with the world around us might even inspire us to create—a new project, an idea to bring to life. How the heck can we get bored?
Here are some ideas to help you view the world from a more creative place. Try each one on for size, then share it with someone else!
How to use creativity as a mindset:
1. View the world as an artist studying a scene to paint a picture from, like everything is made of a different fabric.
2. Imagine every object is actually alive and talking to you! What would it say?
3. Spot the biggest risk you could take in that specific moment!
4. Do something totally spontaneous right on the spot. Don’t plan anything!
5. Pretend like you are in an adventure movie, fleeing from a monster, but trying to keep your calm composure to the outside world.
6. Breathe in experience; breathe out poetry.
7. Imagine how what you are seeing before you is a microcosm of the whole?
8. Find ways you are like the objects you see before you.
9. See the human face in everything. Does that tree trunk remind you of a friend’s face?
10. Be curious. Ask childlike questions about the world around you like what makes the sky blue or the clouds look like that?
11. Be a poet and describe the world around you in haikus!
12. Take a walk and only make left turns—a lot of them!
13. View everything solid as liquid and everything liquid as solid. How does it feel to walk on liquid grass?
14. Put a word to every sound you hear—every gust of wind or squish in the dirt.
15. Imagine the world is a giant gingerbread house and everything is edible. Is that eggplant on the roof shingles?
I could go on and on with ideas, but go ahead, create some of your own! Do it just for the sake of adding a spark to your day. Share it with a friend to give them a reason not to ever be bored—I’m sure they’ll fire back with 15 of their own ideas!
And, if it comes naturally, see if it gives you an idea that inspires you enough to create something—anything! Art, music, an idea, a conversation, or a moment—every moment is a chance to create something new.
That’s the greatest part about being alive. We have as many blank canvases as we see before us.
Creative thinking is what gives us the ability to give back to the world. Creativity serves as a lens, a mirror, a window that others can look through, or look into, and see themselves or whatever they need to see at that moment. To feel whatever they need to feel. That’s how I connect with my world—that is my aliveness. As a member of this human race, it’s how I can contribute.
Art empowers me with the ability to create a ripple of happiness. As a human who can make art, I know that I have the power to make this happen every moment, with even the smallest of gestures. Art is how we tell our stories. It can be a random act of kindness, a tender word, a brush stroke – whatever works. How will you make your mark on the world?
Start with a scribble.