7 Ways To Recapture Your Originality

Photo: getty
woman meditating with green behind her

If you're an adult, or consider yourself one, your maturity could be distracting you from recapturing your originality.

Maybe your established self is covering what makes you unique and what differentiates you and your contributions.

However significant the milestones and meaning of adulthood, the seven suggestions below can help to detour some of their confines and conventional comforts. 

Perhaps trade or modify some of the conforming facades, psychological armor, and behaviors reflecting others’ expectations.

Your choices among the seven suggestions will add pizzazz and new possibilities to daily life and relationships.

RELATED: The Art Of Being Yourself (Hint: It's Not An Art)

Shifting adult roles open new possibilities to be original.

Adult life is often described and circumscribed by a series of conventional linear roles. They come with the rituals, rights, and responsibilities of completing school, working, marrying, parenting, retiring, and leaving the light.

This view suggests a downhill, predictable process following midlife, but is being redefined by shifting roles that provide opportunities for experiment and adventure all along the way.

The belief that life proceeds in stages is more accurately described now with a lifespan perspective that expands choices for authentic well-being.

Creative and hopeful, this life-span theory is flexible and nonlinear.

Development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, contextual, and multidisciplinary.

In fact, linear roles no longer describe significant numbers of people. For example, according to sociologist Eric Klinenberg, 50.2 percent of American adults are single, even happily so.

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone examines a slow but steady shift towards "happily single."

This half of the population is charting new paths for work and relationships or at least refreshing aspects with varied and original choices.

Given the increasing dynamism of work and relationships as the future rapidly unfolds, lifelong learning provides a wider range of different tickets to self-sufficiency, purpose, and meaning throughout your life.

As a result, you can redefine the "rights" part of adulthood to reflect who you are now and who you want to be.

When you embrace the right to be true to yourself, to express what makes you unique, you are strengthening the bridge to your originality.

Your childhood attitudes are reminders of your originality. 

Rather than being childish or immature, recapture a playful attitude as a link to your originality. That leads to experimenting with a curious mind rather than conforming first.

Some researchers call this a childlike mindset "focused on immediate desires and spontaneous behaviors…"

It’s conducive to creativity and exploration.

Are you wondering how to retain the advantages of adulthood while stimulating the re-emergence of a childlike mindset?

If so, you may feel a tension between your investment in being a credible adult and possibly vague memories about your original behavior as a child.

One way to transcend this tension is to sustain spontaneity as well as strategic conformity.

When you capture your originality, you can play with tips and techniques and identify your own strategies while demonstrating your current powers and credibility.

Play and experiment with these 7 ways to recapture your originality.

1. Enjoy inspiration from animals and children.

Stretch and enrich everyday situations to access your originality.

For example, you can watch an adorable baby elephant playing for about two minutes, suggesting your own spontaneous behavior.

Or share the video with others, preferably a child, and chat about associations and behaviors the images suggest.

Sample PBS programs such as Sesame Street, Xavier Riddle, and Nature Cat, which are supposedly for kids. Enjoy Animal Planet’s programs about the Bronx Zoo with others.

Even better, read out loud a fine children’s book suited for most everyone. Consider how E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web shows Wilbur the pig being saved by spider Charlotte’s writing about him in her web.

2. Question received beliefs.

Think like a scientist, questioning assumptions and exploring anew, as Adam Grant encourages in his recent book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.

To participate in different ways to enjoy this rapidly changing world, identify a few habits you want to freshen, adapt, or change.

Revisit lessons from how you effectively dealt with the Covid year of 2020 — they may have encouraged you to shift some assumptions about what’s important to you and safe.

For example, how could work and learning be better conducted? How do you want to be with others, including deepening and sustaining worthwhile relationships?

3. Let curiosity lead to new pleasures.

Examples include trying and cooking new foods, connecting with different people, learning about a range of cultures, and using varied routes.

All of them can inter-relate and refresh you.

Explore food as medicine with Dr. Mark Hyman and with Dr. Josh Axe, herbs for health in addition to enhancers of meals.

RELATED: 7 Strategies For Busting Through Creative Blocks & Increasing Sterling Productivity

4. Play with new combinations.

Riding the waves of the future benefits from seeing and making connections between seemingly disparate ideas, subjects, and processes.

Math and music have already been connected creatively. You can also Google your own ideas to create new views and trails for yourself.

Avoid judging your level of expertise as you explore. The common root of expert, expertise, and experiment is the same.

For inspiration, listen to Cole Porter’s lyrics in his song, "Experiment."

5. Refresh and re-imagine the personal or professional story you tell yourself (and others).

Re-visit your own experiences to inspire a deeper appreciation of your unique self.

For example, describe:

When you were moved deeply
When you felt as though you used your full capacities
When you worked through something difficult or challenging
When you transcended a conflict that limited your choices and satisfaction in work or a relationship
When you used your precious time particularly well
When you felt joy about a personal or professional outcome, connection, or accomplishment, especially one that made a difference

6. Free your imagination.

According to Charles Darwin, "The Imagination is one of the highest prerogatives of man. By this faculty he unites, independently of the will, former images, and ideas, and thus creates brilliant and novel results …"

Aristotle "agreed," centuries earlier.

To practice, imagine yourself acting like a person who inspires you or an animal that makes you smile.

What would you say? How would you move?

Even better, imagine being true to yourself in a specific situation in your own life.

7. Learn from other original thinkers.

For the possibly surprising habits of original thinkers, listen to Adam Grant’s TED talk.

There's only one of you, so have fun and benefit from your original ideas and actions as they fertilize however you define your work and what you want in worthwhile relationships.

You will recapture your originality as you follow your curiosity and permit your authentic self to bloom further.

RELATED: 5 Critical Steps To Take To Embrace Your Most Authentic Self

Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. She guides clients in appreciating their strengths and making visions for current and future work and life viable. Obtain the bonus first chapter of her now available seventh book, Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future and benefit from your invitation to a free consultation on her website.