There’s one big aspect to creativity that tends to get lost in the shuffle of everything else. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to think in innovative ways, or learning new techniques and new approaches to art. In all of this discussion about creativity and how to be creative, we lose sight of the fundamental fact that creativity is often about the mindset.
That old “mind over matter” saying really rings true, I think. Aside from techniques, skills, knowledge, and new ways of thinking, it’s the desire or the motivation to be creative that is the thing that drives us out to make photographs.
The thing is, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to always be in that positive, motivated mindset. Especially in this day and age with so much happening in the world. We must always remember that overcoming challenges a motivating ourselves to be creative starts with our view of the world we live in.
How do we go about building that positive, motivated mindset? A big part of it is positive self-talk in which we assure ourselves that yes, we can do this. That’s what confidence—and all of the creativity that flows from that confidence—is really all about. It’s all about believing in ourselves, and one of the best ways to reinforce belief in oneself is to keep telling yourself that yes, you can create.
Where photography is concerned, I think this is a particularly applicable tactic simply from looking around at our habits. How often do we talk ourselves out of going out to photograph things or take a particular shot because we’re not inspired? Or because we don’t feel like it, because we have doubts that our ideas will work. I know I’ve caught myself talking myself out of photography, and I’m sure that you have, too. There are all kinds of reasons to decide against doing photography on a particular day or taking a particular shot.
That’s why positive self-talk is so important. As the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? It’s valuable to instead approach art with a “seize the day” mentality and just give it a shot no matter how implausible we think our ideas may be. These are the times when we often surprise ourselves by creating something we didn’t know would turn out as well as it did—and it’s all because we approached it with a positive mindset. So maybe that’s the real foundation of creativity. That “seize the day” mindset that motivates us to go out and create where we might have instead just stayed home to watch TV. Finding ways to be positive and put ourselves into a motivated mindset perhaps helps us be more open to opportunities, too. If you’re feeling generally neutral or negative about things, it’s not likely that you’ll be as receptive to details or new opportunities. But if you have that can-do attitude, then that helps the world feel like a livelier—and more photo-worthy—place.