“Adult coloring book” is not an oxymoron

coloring cupAdults and creativity go together. That’s why sales of coloring books for adults have taken off in the past few years. Sure, they’re promoted for stress relief. But it also confirms what we innately know to be true. Human beings desire to be creators, even if the best tools we can come up with are crayons.

Some people don’t need coloring books. They’re fortunate enough to be creators in their careers—professional artists, photographers, engineers, researchers, landscapers, florists, writers, carpenters, interior designers, jewelers, fashion designers, actors, chefs, musicians, architects, along with many other professions.

Problem solving is a form of creativity, and many are required to problem solve at work. Still, most of us come away from our jobs at the end of the day without the feeling that we were able to put our unique stamp of individuality into something. Over time, we become cognizant that there’s something missing.

It’s a noble thing to earn an honest living and to financially provide for our family.

But there’s more to life than being responsible. At least, there should be.

In, “The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive,” by Brendon Burchard, he defines creativity as one of ten necessary components to living a charged life—one in which you feel truly alive and not just drifting from one day to the next.

The biggest mental roadblock to creativity is the thinking that some people received the creative gene or gift, and others did not. But we were all born with the desire and ability to create, somehow and in some way.

Think about how excited children are to show off their coloring page masterpieces. That’s our natural state. But as we move into adulthood, we often lose that creative drive.

Part of the reason is that it does require effort. According to Burchard, “Creativity isn’t a trait; it’s a discipline. Those who say they are not creative are often those who are averse to the hard work of transforming a good idea into something truly magnificent.”

Even if we don’t achieve creative magnificence in our jobs, we can at least find creative satisfaction in our personal life and through our chosen hobbies. We may not be florists, but we can take great pride in our flower gardens surrounding our home. We may not be photographers, but we can put together a fun photo book that preserves memories from a family vacation. We may not be interior designers, but we can craft our home into a unique living space. All of these things can nourish our need for creative self-expression.

There’s a commercial that promotes the arts with a dog that runs with a stick in its mouth to a man and lays the stick at his feet. With wagging tail, the dog waits for the delightful moment when the stick is thrown so that it can retrieve it. The man looks down at the stick in a puzzled way and instead of considering the possibilities of the playfulness of the moment—he picks it up and puts it in a garbage can. His mind is too tunnel-visioned on being responsible.

With all of our necessary adult responsibilities, it’s easy to forget to play and create—but we need that dimension in our lives.

Don’t be the guy that puts the dog’s stick in the garbage can. Find a way to infuse creativity into your life.

Even if you start with just a coloring book.

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