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“Creativity” is one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around a lot. How many times a week do you encounter messages in magazine articles, on websites, in books, that tell you to be creative, to think creatively? We are told to be creative at our jobs, in our parenting, in our daily lives. But what, exactly, does that mean?

In everyday life, our creativity enables us to cope, adapt to various circumstances, and solve new problems. This means creativity in everyday life is beyond our artistic hobbies, blog writing, or playing with our kids. It is a real resource we use for serious everyday decision-making and problem solving. Creativity helps us to adapt to change, the most constant and the scariest thing in our human life. You don’t have to draw, write or paint to be creative. To live a creative life is a decision and it can become simply the habit of noticing beauty, expressing your emotions, or finding new solutions that challenge the status quo.

Every ACE student is living creatively! You challenged the status quo that said a working adult with kids could not earn a college degree. You made the decision to not just adapt to change, but to invite it into your life when you decided to go to college. Being a college student demands that you find creative ways to handle all of your many responsibilities and also figure out how to make room for classes and homework. 

To be even more conscious of and deliberate about living creatively, here are a couple of exercises to explore.

  1. We all develop certain patterns of behavior throughout our lives. Identify examples of behaviors you use to react to certain circumstances. It could be something like how you show your impatience when you have to wait in line, or impatience with your kids when they don’t do what you ask them to do. 

Then make an action plan of shifting from the usual way of dealing with frustrating situations to the opposite. For example: from giving orders to asking questions and listening to the answers; from being serious to taking a playful or humorous approach. Use a journal to keep track of the behavior you want to change and your success at doing so over a few weeks. 

  1. Identify something you have done every day in the same way for a very long time. What opportunities might there be to change and experience something new? For example: experiment with new food, different music ordress, spend time with people in a unique way, take a different way home, use a different type of transportation. Write about the experience in your journal to make the exercise more powerful.