How to be creative with kindness
Have you ever heard someone say “She is the kindest person that I have ever met”? and it’s not just one or two people saying that about her. Everybody’s saying it!
I’m going to talk about kindness and creativity and how that character strength actually impacts what you create.
What is kindness?
Just so we’re on the same page, kindness is how you treat people, doing favours and good deeds for others. Yes, it’s also kindness to self, but generally when we understand kindness, when we see somebody being kind, it’s how they are treating other people. I just wanted to frame that when I’m talking about kindness today.
We love having our kids being told that they’re kind, but kindness is actually a character strength. When we hear people say, oh, she’s kind and everybody’s saying it, chances are kindness is one of her top character strengths. Now that doesn’t mean that people who don’t have it in their top five or even their top 10, aren’t kind.
Everybody has a component of kindness, just for some it comes more naturally. When I do my five day creative challenges and whenever I talk about creativity and I go into schools and I talk about the creative process, I encourage the kids to do the character strengths assessment. One of those strengths is kindness.
What is Creativity?
When I talk about creativity, I define creativity as the process of original ideas that have value. When I mean ‘have value’, they solve problems. When I mean original, I mean they haven’t been done before. They’re new. You have created them out of all the stuff that you know and understand, and finally creativity is a process.
Therefore it is accessible to everyone. It’s a skill that can be learned. The creative process that I share with educators and parents and tweens/teens is:
This is the creative process I teach over and over again. Like anything we get good at, it takes practice. So thinking of creativity as a habit – something you do every time you have a problem to solve in a new and novel way – you will get good at it over time.
Where does kindness fit into the creative process?
Where does kindness actually fit into this process? It fits into percolate. It actually permeates all stages, but kindness as a strength strongly informs what we ultimately create.
The Saturate stage is getting all those new pieces of knowledge, those new learnings, those people that you surround yourself with, those things that you read, those things that you view and you store them in your mind and let them sit there. When you have a problem to solve, you draw upon all those bits of information and percolate it into solving the problem.
You begin to reflect on how can what I know and understand, how do my values, and my strengths impact on what I ultimately create? How might that actually show up in real life?
If we don’t experience kindness throughout the process, then creativity jars with us.
In addition, if what we are creating doesn’t actually create kindness to others, or kindness to the environment, or kindness to animals, or kindness to friends or family, if what we create doesn’t do that, then again, we won’t sit comfortably with what we’ve created. We won’t feel that we have solved the problem to our satisfaction in a way that lights us up.
It’s so important to actually tap into those natural character strengths when you are being creative. That’s why I spend a lot of time with kids, getting them to understand what their love languages are, what their values are, what their traits are, what their character strengths. It is because they start to understand that what they create in the world is a true representation of themselves.
I would love you to know if kindness is one of your top strengths.
Kindness isn’t a natural strength of everyone
It might explain a lot about how you respond to creativity and how you respond to people. Realising that kindness may not actually be a top character strength of someone that you are working with or someone in your class.
For example: Honesty might be a higher character strength over kindness for a colleague or classmate. Now, that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. It just means that they are naturally more honest, so they might express themselves exactly how they feel and less filtered. That might feel less kind to you, when really all they are doing is tapping into one of their natural character strengths.
Kindness impacts how you experience creativity and what you create
- Kindness fits into the percolate stage of the creative process and will shape what you Create;
- Kindness is not everybody’s character strength. So how they want to experience creativity and what they create will be different to yours
Being aware of the above makes the creative experience so much more powerful and rewarding. It provides insight into how kindness impacts upon how you actually go out into the world and what you ultimately create.
What are your natural Character Strengths?
Here is the link to the character strengths assessment. I would love you to go and do it. It takes about 15 minutes if you haven’t already, and come back and share with me what are your top two or three.
If you don’t want to actually make them public, do send me a message and just tell me what your top character strengths are and maybe I will do a live on how that character strength actually plays out into your creative process with an example.