7 Creative Values: Define Yours With An Action Manifesto

I created my defined list of creative values for myself and for this site and podcast. I was heavily inspired by the manifestos of Gretchen Rubin – author of The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies. Gretchen writes more about how she developed her own Twelve Commandments.

What does the phrase “Uncanny Creativity” mean? Since I believe in productivity and action, I chose to make each of my values a key active verb. Gretchen suggests short phrases that you can check and remember: “I’ve found that my commandments help me most when I review them at least daily, to keep them fresh in my mind, and to do this, it helps to keep the list short and snappy.”

When I was a kid and even still at times as an adult, I would freeze with an anxiety response called “Selective Mutism”. I’d just become silent and mute for long periods. And then suddenly – situationally – free. One incident that comes to mind: visiting my cousin’s neighborhood pool. At the entrance, the person at the front desk took each of our names for their records. When asked my name I said nothing. My mind was blank. I couldn’t remember my name. So I couldn’t say it out loud as much as I wanted to. That any of us have any ability to communicate with each other at all feels like a miraculous concept. I attempt not to take communication for granted. Uncanny Creativity for me means making attempts at shameless self-expression.

Of the manifestos I’ve wanted to write to simplify and solidify my core values, Creativity became the biggest challenge. I’ve shared many books, experiments, and studies on creativity on this blog and podcast, Uncanny Creativity. Writing helped me find these core themes:

Seven Creative Core Values: Defining Uncanny Creativity

Go. Take action.*

Be bold and decisive about trying actions that might work.

Listen for your voice.

Looking is more worthwhile than finding.

Collect thoughts and ideas.

Save freely your own thoughts and those of others.

Know Like a Kid.

Kids know they don’t know it all. They play courageously anyway. Find a child-like sense of modest participation.

Think Big, Medium, Small.

Chase the big picture, the little details, and the levels in-between.

Find Fun.

Enjoy the weird. Humor yourself in the present moment.

Use Your Powers For Good.

Take your turn to help. Everything will be okay. No one has it all figured out.

Productivity Manifesto: Go. Take Action.

  1. Make any choice. Find the action in now
  2. Challenge yourself. Be inspired, not compared.
  3. Begin a little. Take steps. Find out. Start very small.
  4. Make it a game. Reframe.
  5. Spill milk. Clean up, learn, move on.
  6. Good enough is enough. Be average.
  7. Put eggs in many baskets. Something will work.

Happiness Manifesto: Find Fun.

  1. If all else fails, let go a little. Or a lot. Don’t sweat small stuff (It’s all small stuff)
  2. Different people like different things.
  3. Effort over outcomes. Show up.
  4. Events involve pieces beyond us.
  5. Win-win or it’s okay to walk away! 
  6. Notice what right. Say good things out loud.
  7. Mistakes are neutral at worst, helpful at best. Decisions go forward, not backward.

Kindness Manifesto: Use Your Powers For Good

  1. Act generously in spirit. No one has it all figured out.
  2. “Nice” is different from good. We’re born good. (Babies act very rude tho!)
  3. Soft heart + Hard Limits. Kindness isn’t a weakness. Know its strength.
  4. Act thoughtfully. Consider others and yourself.
  5. Respect the human experience. Value all beings and yourself for what they are.
  6. Embrace benevolent honesty. Neither insincerity or cruel truth help as often than you might think.
  7. Decide with courage. Character inspires confidence in each other.
  8. Connect. We learn more from each other when we feel safe.
  9. Display your values. Especially when it’s inconvenient.
  10. Make mistakes. Feelings and situations can’t be perfect. Fail with admiration of your abilities
  11. Show appreciation. Show that you notice and care.
  12. Find playfulness in internal integrity. External reputation is less fun without it.

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.


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