Why thinking creatively guarantees success!

Creativity is a problem solving skill that allows us to make original solutions.

Not to be confused with someone who paints colourful pictures, creativity is a function of the brain that encourages risk taking in order to discover positive outcomes.

In early March, just before the mandatory work-from-home COVID lock down occurred, a girlfriend mentioned how exhausted she was, how she felt she was running on an endless treadmill, not getting any further ahead.

At 32, her personal life (she’d recently moved to a new city and was living with her great Aunt and Uncle), consisted mostly of nights in with a glass of vino and Netflix, while her professional life, saw her taking on more of the workload and less of the wage!

I suggested she take some time over the weekend to make something, whether it be a new recipe, write in a journal or even draw something. Her response was ‘I’m so busy making things for other people, I don’t have time to make anything for myself.’

I could see her problem solving skills had reduced to below zero so I recommended she start practicing some meditation, as a way to slow down and become present.

If she couldn’t make a commitment to creating something, then at least she’d reach a sense of connectedness again, a feeling I guessed she hadn’t had for a short eternity.

I knew enough that if she would at least take some time out, get a taste again of what it’s like to actually ‘do’, then she might get some space to get her focus back on. I also knew that it was in the process of making, or what I call the creative mindset, that would allow her to explore new ground and make better life choices.

How our creative brain clicks in

Recent research undertaken and published by Roger Beaty, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 2018, reveals the brain has three different networks... the default network where memory and ideas are generated, the executive network where these ideas are evaluated and focused upon and the salience network, which helps identify what ideas get passed along and what ideas don't get passed along. Studies also revealed that the longer the creative thinker practices creative processes, the more likely they are to come up with new and innovative ideas. They also show that creativity isn't boosted overnight, but original ideas can be cultivated through focused habits, such as daily meditation, doodling, and journaling.

What risks could be taken to encourage a creative mindset?

For some, taking risks is surrounded in fear; fear of the unknown, which can be detrimental to personal growth and progression. When we’re in the habit of practicing creative expression every day, then we start to have fun and develop a sense of adventure.

Similar to when we were children, we took risks, explored the world around us in whatever way was convenient, were driven by a sense of adventure and fun and then woke the next morning to do it all again.

As a consequence, we grew and morphed, ultimately becoming connected to the universe and the people around us.

What is the outcome?

It’s almost five months since my girlfriend was feeling overwhelmed. As it was, the COVID situation had her working from home which meant, for the first time, she was able to go for morning walks and take the pressure off during times that would have normally been taken up travelling to and fro.  She also took up my suggestion of meditating, doodling and journaling. Ok, so the meditating thing hasn’t been her strong point and she’s had to combine it in with her morning walks, but the journaling has taken priority each week, and she’s now writing her first short story. Oh, and today, she’s needing to put work on hold so she can pack up her room and move into her own apartment and get the internet connected.

It looks like she found a way to solve a few problems with gusto and grit. She’s also found a way to look fear in the face and throw caution to the wind. Now she’s her own boss and the next jump will be to show me that short story she’s been penning. I’m happy to hold my breath.

Dr Tarn McLean is an artist, designer, author and Doctor of Philosophy, living in Queensland, Australia.

Tarn's teaching philosophy 'Finding your Creative Why' is informed by research into the creative process connected to intuitive acts of making and the importance of creative mindset. Her course is mixture of live webinars with online modules that guide people towards transformative methods of thinking combined with creative skills as a way to live purposeful and prosperous lives.


To find out more https://www.coursesfindyourcreativewhy.org/courses/find-your-creative-why

5 Key Principles for developing and maintaining a creative mindset

Contemplate | Communicate | Collect | Create | Connect

Contemplate – Get your mediation on. Every day take some time to get into the present moment and take a load off. If this is too hard or you think you don’t have the time, pick up a pen and paper and start doodling. I also suggest practice writing in a journal as a way to drop any thoughts out of your head and onto the paper. Both of these last two exercises can be done eating your toast and drinking your coffee before you start your day.

Communicate – Once you’ve developed a habit of diving into a creative mindset, start to focus on your feelings and make a vision board or list of all the things you want to happen in your life, that feel in alignment with sensations of joy and happiness. This is another way of identifying with your intuition, listening to your gut feelings about scenarios concerning what you really value most in this lifetime.

Collect – Practice gratitude. Mindfully replace feelings of shame or self-doubt with conscious thoughts of how awesome you are. No one has to know you’re needing to put this on your ‘to do’ list, just get it on there and take actions, every day, that make you feel enough. If you don’t know how, think back to when you were young, and being with the people who made you feel safe and happy, then focus on this time as a starting point for feeling good about something today.

Create – Take these feelings and convert them into action. That’s the most basic way to describe ‘being creative’. Make something, anything, that’s original to you and that gives you joy in the process of ‘doing’. Here’s a few ideas…… make a new playlist, write a new software program, make a vision board of all the places you want to travel to, cook a new recipe, write a song, paint a picturewrite a short story, anything. Just do it! And do it regularly.

Connect – When we are in a creative mindset, we are able to express ourselves. When we make something from this place of flow and joy, then it is called an original expression of ourselves. Some people call it art. Call it what you like, but just make sure you share it with at least one other person. When we make something, we are proud of (even slightly) then we feel out most satisfied and content when we are sharing that joy with others.

Once you’ve done it once, ideas will continue to build, and you’ll start to practice making more and more, consequently feeling more connected with yourself and with the people that matter most to you.

Daily Creativity Guarantees Success

Why being creative daily leads to success at anything!

Success is in the act of making. Only through the process of creating, will you truly reach the space of a creative mindset. When you understand how this feels, you’ll prioritise creativity, making yourself a priority, and the momentum towards self-fulfilment and success becomes unstoppable.

Whilst maintaining the action of doing and making, combined with being in a creative mindset (connected to intuition), then ideas expand, and physical co-operation is manifested and fuelled. Momentum is powered; therefore, things start to line up. Problems are easily solved, opportunities (the right ones) come our way, and this creative mindset combined with the act of making are synchronised and we are positioned in a state that we constantly want to act on. This state overflows into relationships, career and lifestyle choices. Therefore, creating something daily, on our own terms, becomes essential for achieving success and prosperity.

How the act of creating generates its own energy.

When we’re in the act of making, we really enjoy doing, we’re in a truly creative mindset. There is no resistance towards trying new activities, solving problems and taking risks; we go to just about any extent to see if something works, so long as it happens and happens regularly.

When I was at school, I failed my classes miserably. I had little to zero interest in the curriculum and was consequently disengaged in the discipline of applying myself towards studying and learning. What I did love however, was playing sports. I couldn’t get enough of running around the oval, training for athletic carnivals, swimming in races, going up the levels in gymnastics and just about anything that involved a bat and ball. The more I practised, the better I got and the better I got the more I practised. The best part about it? I was contributing to the school community and feeling valued, whilst achieving success along the way: I was reaching my full potential.

As the years have passed, I’ve come to realise that learning is not such a boring activity, in fact I found it to be so much fun and so interesting that I researched my way into University and became a Doctor of Philosophy. Okay, so that’s a little extreme and I wouldn’t advise the same undertaking to many, but my point is, there’s a lot to be said for loving what you do and applying yourself because ultimately, success follows energy.

It was Albert Einstein who declared, Compound Energy is the most powerful force in the universe. Here’s how it works. The mathematical equation is a process of accumulated energy. In dollar terms, which is how it’s usually identified, it’s when interest is gained over time. If you have $1 and hypothetically, it doubles every day, by the end of the first day you would have $2, by the end of the second day you would have $4 and by the end of the week, you would have $64. That’s the power of compounding. This equation can be converted towards physical and spiritual energy; if the physical act of making/manufacturing/producing something that’s a unique expression of yourself, and you’re energy levels are up during the process, where you get enjoyment and have fun, then the energy compounds and your desire to continue creating original outcomes becomes a necessity, rather than a pipe dream.

So you can’t afford to follow your dreams and have a creative career?

Wanna bet your Uni HECS on that? How many of us take the ‘safe’ path? How many of us believe that the most important thing to do is undertake a career path that guarantees a solid employment and secure future? But what if you don’t love doing what that career requires from you? What if you feel your soul is being crushed because you’re at a job you don’t love? All the same, there’s a voice of reason in the back of your mind saying, what’s most important is that you get a job that pays enough for you to support yourself, have a nice home, drive a good car, afford to have children and one day, sooner rather than later, be able to retire comfortably.

Now let’s bring the power of compound energy into this scenario.

Regularly carrying out an activity + doing a task you don’t feel passionate about = all of your time is taken up with undertaking tasks you come to resent.

The outcome in reality? You’re so busy doing things for everybody else, that you’re exhausted and feel stuck, trapped and you don’t even know when that last time you did something that gave you so much joy, and even if you do, it got cut short because you had to get back on the treadmill, to that safe and responsible job.

I’m not saying that getting what we visual artists call a ‘money job’, is what you shouldn’t do, but I do know that undertaking work that puts fair money into your account is better for your mental and physical self than worrying where your next meal will come from, or how you’re going to survive the next 5-10 years, financially.

What I do suggest is adjusting where you put your energy and focus. This life Isn’t meant to be lived for the place we get to, but rather the journey we take to get to that place.

If we bring the power of compound energy into this second scenario, it will look something like this;

Regularly carrying out a creative activity + doing things you feel passionate about = the majority of your time is spent undertaking original tasks that make you feel empowered and free. 

This is how it works, if you spend 20% of your day, every day, undertaking creative pursuits that make you feel invigorated, you will not notice the other 80% of the day you spend working a job you resent. While in real time you’re still spending the majority of your time at work, you don’t really notice it so much, as you’re feeling connected and fulfilled from your daily creative pursuits. Then, because you’re achieving success through expressing yourself creatively, you decide that what you’re making is of value, not only to you, but to the person you share it with. It’s likely they ask you make one for them, and they pay you for it. You didn’t see this coming, as you were just making things in your spare time, but now the idea of putting the act of making a priority of things to do in your day and week, you decide to pull back a bit on your money job, which by now you’re grateful for and resent less, because you’re feeling fulfilled in other parts of your life. You’re now spending 30% of your time on your creative pursuits and 70% of your time on your money job. Depending on your time management and planning, this focus and energy could compound, and you could swing the entire scenario to working on your creative pursuits 80% of the time.

You may also decide that because you are feeling fulfilled, you might keep that money job after all and be happy to pursue both undertakings. Either way, it’s a sure thing and scientifically proving that if you create a daily habit doing the things that matter most to you, and give you joy, you will create an energy that creates its own energy and you’re guaranteed to have a richer, more fulfilled journey, with a higher chance of that beautiful home and early retirement, after all.

Pleased you didn’t bet on it? This all just comes down to trust. Trust your intuition, trust you were born with a creative streak that needs to be let out, trust that you will enjoy and be good at making something, and trust that people will value what you have to offer. The money, good fortune and success will follow. That’s the power of compound energy!

When, how and where do you start?

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. No one on the planet has more time than you and unless you are deceased, it’s an impossibility that you don’t have the time. That said, you need to organise your calendar. Look at the hours you use up being awake in a day. On average people are sleeping from 7-8 hours a night, even if you’re only sleeping for 5, have a look at how you’re using the hours you’re awake and take one of them and assign it for being creative. If your hours are already filled up with other commitments that are ‘more important’, then wake an hour earlier. It’s that simple.

You’re guided through the ‘how’ to be creative, in the online course Find Your Creative Why, but to get you started, you need to be meditating, every day. Make a place to do this, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Some people do it on their morning walk. If you don’t know how, just jump on YouTube or download the Headspace App and get started. Also, grab a pen or pencil and start a journal where you can doodle every day and write down thoughts. This journal is for no one else other than you, so set an alarm and start with 10 minutes. There is no right or wrong as to what your doodling looks like or what thoughts you drop onto the journal page. These tasks are mindless and take zero talent or skills, so just get to it.

It depends on what you want to create, and you may not know until you’ve been meditating and journaling/doodling for a few days, but you can be creative anywhere. The kitchen, the dining room table, the office, the shed or garage. If you don’t have an assigned place set up, then just start by creating a private space that suits what it is you enjoy doing. If you don’t have an area that you allow yourself to create in private, then it’s going to be very difficult to create anything.

Now that you’ve decided to prioritise creating as a part of your day, you can stop procrastinating and start doing. Trust the process and get the energy compounding, daily. There’s no right or wrong in this, there’s just a waste of your time and talent if you don’t begin, not to mention a constant feeling of being stuck and disconnected.

Imagining something, then making it with your hands can turn undermining forces into usable energies and while you may not be clear as to what to make in the beginning, the stillness of mind and feelings of ‘feel good’ that build up whilst meditating and doodling/journaling, are a sure way to get you there fast.

My school days are long past now, but as I watch my children muddle their way through University and make early career choices, I’m mindful they feel they can achieve whatever it is they set out to do in their lifetime. They both acknowledge and respect their inner creative voices and hold them up in high regards. They also have money jobs and pay their way, but they don’t let that come in the way of nurturing their creative expression, even if they’re at their money job for 80% of the time. I don’t have a crystal ball and cannot tell you if their futures will be spiritually and financially fulfilling, but the way things are shaping up, I’m happy to bet the house on it!

Dr Tarn McLean is an artist, designer, author and Doctor of Philosophy, living in Queensland, Australia.

Tarn's teaching philosophy 'Finding your Creative Why' is informed by research into the creative process connected to intuitive acts of making and the importance of creative mindset. Her course is mixture of live webinars with online modules that guide people towards transformative methods of thinking combined with creative skills as a way to live purposeful and prosperous lives.


To find out more https://www.coursesfindyourcreativewhy.org/courses/find-your-creative-why


Tarn exhibits regularly and designs accessories wallpapers and fabrics for Ocre Designs.

She also offers a custom service, working one on one with clients to tap into their unique creative expression to develop fully customised, bespoke art and furnishings. Her service is for both private as well as commercial and residential interiors.

Enrol in Tarn’s guided, online course Find Your Creative Why to develop your own unique creative expression. Live with purpose, focus and a sense of connectedness.