Can we stay creative when we’re feeling uninspired?

Creativity is a mood-dependent state of mind. The frequently cited notion of ‘feeling creative’ isn’t accidental; how we mentally respond to a given task directly relates to how we perform it. There are many roles that naturally cultivate creative thinking – whether it’s as a designer, writer or marketer – but many that do not. These are roles assumed to be void of any creative thread (such as, for example much of the corporate world, or journalism).

However, creativity isn’t exclusive to a batch of coffee-shop professionals, nor particularly elusive. It’s just harder to exercise your creative toolset when faced by dull and perfunctory work. And it’s not necessarily to do with job roles either; as we trudge reluctantly into the new year, it’s difficult for even the most creatively minded to stay inspired, beleaguered by the January fog. If Christmas is the happy, bonus-infused peak of our mountain, then January is the tumble down. 

But like gold and diamonds, creativity can be exhumed from unglamorous places. Much of the dilemma faced when we feel uncreative is related to expectation. We’ve made creativity synonymous with the act of creating – of bringing about something new and otherwise unseen. But creativity isn’t evidenced by a single act, but by a history of out-of-the-box thinking. Whilst a dustbin man is unlikely to stumble upon a new revelation that will create a dramatic shift in his work order, this is the exception to a general rule: opportunities for creativity are everywhere, both within our personal and professional lives.

Creativity is an individual’s capacity to see beyond their immediate reality. For artists, this is a day-to-day necessity as they spend their lives extrapolating and contemplating fictions. But we’re all capable of envisioning a split in the road and creating new paths for others to follow. It’s about having fun with what you have and developing mini-narratives that explore untouched territory.

Of creativity, Oscar Wilde wrote: “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

Dangerous doesn’t have to be throwing your fortune on black or taking a nose dive of a ledge; it’s the danger inherent to any change we make. Tomorrow is naturally uncertain; it’s only our structures and routines that make it otherwise. By forcing ourselves to be creative, we’re challenging the uninspired (because routines left unchallenged lead to the mundane). It’s when we stop counting the days, the weeks, the years, and float unimpeded that we miss the chance to achieve our goals.

So, if you’re in a job that feels uninspired, discover ways to create change and incite something new. This can mean performing better, increasing efficiency or improving upon what you have. And here we arrive at the crux of the formula: the way to feel creative is to feel the need for difference, no matter the situation. Perform a job identical to next person and you’ll remain two undisguisable shadows. There’ll never be a better day than today to realise your creative potential.