Menu
Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

50 Creative Questions To Create The Life You Really Want

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” ~Jack Dixon

The first time I picked up a brush to paint I was 28 years old. I had never painted before, not even as a child. I couldn’t draw (except lousy little doodles) and never even thought I would enjoy painting.

A friend of mine encouraged me to take a workshop about painting for process. Since she pushed so hard, I went.

My world exploded open.

On the first day, we stood next to a long table where cups of colorful bright thick Tempra paint laid in rows with one brush and a cup of water next to each of them.

The instructors told us to simply choose the color that called to us in the moment without thinking, pick up the brush, dip it into the paint, and bring it to our white paper pinned against a wall. Then we were supposed to do only one thing: PLAY!

Painting for process is not about having a cathartic experience, throwing paint onto the paper a la Jackson Pollack. It’s about being respectful of the process, holding the brush carefully like a pencil, and being present when connecting the brush to paper.

The key to the creative process is to let go of the concept of “product.”

The instructors encouraged us to avoid standing back to look at what we were doing. This would trigger analysis, judgment, and self-consciousness. We were supposed to paint freely, like children, and forget about the demon of outcome.

If judgments came forward like “My painting is bad,” or “It doesn’t look like I want it to,” or like in my case, “It looks like a cartoon,” we were to ask ourselves three simple questions:

  • What if it could be bad?
  • What if you let go of preference?
  • What if it didn’t matter if it looked like a cartoon or not?

Keep painting!” my teachers encouraged. “Keep going to a color and bring the brush to the white page.”

And when I got stuck (and sometimes wanted to curl up in a ball and cry) my kind teachers came over and gently nudged me to keep meeting myself head on.

Looking back on my very first paintings, I see how alive they were. How vivid. How amazingly real. They were powerful, honest, and vulnerable, and all because I felt encouraged to simply meet myself in the present.

I’ve been painting for process now for 15 years and I am an entirely different person. I am freer, out of my critical head, and happily more inventive.

The need to produce a “good” product is out of my way, and I am able to meet life, my work, and my relationships with the same creative principles I learned.

Here are 50 creative questions to ask yourself to meet life head on and create the life you really want:

What gives you “juice”? Where is the energy calling you? What if you gave yourself full permission to engage this? Going toward what gives you energy and meeting it fully is the first step to creating profound change.

What if you could take a risk? If you put your hands above you head and dove off the high board? If you didn’t second-guess yourself?  If you were spontaneous?  What would you create if you couldn’t fail? Taking risks jolts us into the new and creates immediate change.

What would happen if you followed your gut? If you listened to your intuition rather than your mind? What would you create if you could think later and create now? Creating what we want doesn’t happen in the future—it happens today.

What if you could explore? If you used everything as a learning opportunity? What if you dared to discover? What if you let go of what you know? Creativity exists beyond what we know. Love the unknown and let the mystery unfold.

What if you focused on play and fun? If you didn’t worry about what people think or compared yourself to them? (Comparison is a killer of creativity.) What if you were like a child again? Create just for the sake of creating and the rest will organically unfold.

What if you went wild? Got crazy? Did something you would never do? Unleashed? What if you could be free? Hold a loving, safe container for yourself as you express and create what is innately inside you.

What if you gave yourself permission to be it ALL: The good, the bad and the ugly? What if you accepted all of “what is” because life includes it all? Avoiding what makes us uncomfortable makes us even more stuck. Many times it is the difficult and the “dark” that shows us the light.

What if you were fully present? What if you connected only to this moment of now? If you didn’t hold onto the past or reach for the future? If you didn’t worry about what could happen? All of creation is born in the now.

What if you were to stay determined? What if you didn’t give up? What if you took one step at a time? It’s in the follow through where creativity blooms.

What if you were disciplined? What if you showed up when you said you would? What if you scheduled time to do what you want to do? Marked it in you calendar? Didn’t avoid? What magic could happen? Gently approaching what we want to create each and every day is how we ultimately create change.

What if you allowed space and time? If you didn’t force the current or want everything to come the way you want it NOW? What if you were patient and accepting of life’s natural timing? What if you allowed space and time to allow the fruit of your creativity to ripen.

What if it didn’t matter if you failed or not? If the result was not nearly as important as the experience you have in the present? If you used everything as an opportunity to discover? Knowing who you are and what you want to create has nothing to do with success or failure.

What if you could be free? Free to be, express, and create however you are called in the moment? What if this simple act of freedom gave you your greatest happiness? Once a product is finished, it’s over. Even though it still carries the memory, it is no longer alive. We are only fully alive in the present.

What if you continued to ask open-ended questions such as these? If you didn’t search for answers or meaning or try to make sense of it all?  Asking open-ended questions gets you out of the box, relinquishes the attachment to product, and leads you to exciting new places.

We are innately creative beings whether we realize it or not. Change is a creative process. To create change, begin with meeting yourself within. What is it that you want to create in this moment? How will you dive in?

Photo by suez92

Avatar of Lynn Newman

About Lynn Newman

Lynn Newman’s (aka Lynn Zavaro) book and card deck set, The Game of You™- An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want offers a powerful, profound and FUN experience of self-discovery and transformation. Her board game, The Game of Insight comes out soon. She has currently finished her memoir. Visit her at gameofyou.com.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://winewillfixit.blogspot.com Jennifer Wright

    This is awesome! I’m not a painter myself but can understand the importance of play and non judgment in everything we do (whether it’s running or singing or writing, etc.). This really made me smile to read :)

  • Lynn

    Awesome Jennifer! YES! Everything we want to to do in life is a creative process:)

  • Adeleuddo

    What a wonderful way to start the week! I LOVE this article- each one of these tips is speaking to me. The question of ‘What if it could be bad?’ is very liberating for THIS perfectionist. Thanks for the reminder to play and enjoy the process!

  • http://www.alwayschallengeunhappiness.blogspot.com Lovesingin

    Wow…just wow. Pretty sure this article might be a game changer. What an amazing, poignant story that just captures what it is to be a creator in this world, which is what we all are. “The key to the creative process is to let go of the concept of “product.” That sentence pretty much struck me with angels singing. All we have to do is let go of the product. Simply wonderful. Thank you so much for writing this. Pure inspiration.

  • Lynn

    So happy it inspired! You make MY heart sing:)

  • Sarah

    This is wonderful! And exactly what I needed to hear at this time. I am taking a step back in my creative process right now to tap in to that place of freedom and “being” rather than doing-for-result. I can’t wait to hear more from this author!

  • http://twitter.com/mizbankrupt chrome molly #4130

    I’ve given myself a new challenge of writing every day. Some days are easy; topics and ideas and words just flow with no end in sight. Most days I struggle. This piece appeared just as I needed some inspiration, and I can see it continuing to inspire and provoke for some time. Thank you.

  • Rusafe2

    At a time of self-perceived chaos, this is a great way to review my outlook on where I’m going personally and professionally. I say percieved because for a while now, what I’ve been thinking of as an impossible mountain that must be conqured is actually turning out to be an interesting climb with pauses to reflect along the way. Thank you for sharing this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1352851476 Debbie Deal McGee

    Just reading these questions was exhilarating! I am so “in the box” I would LOVE to open myself up to reckless abandon….with writing, then w/ art. I love to write, but haven’t written anything in such a long time. A few of my friends write. I guess it’s a “use it or lose it” thing, and I feel as if I’ve hit a brick wall. When it’s right, it’s right….you are on fire with what you’re trying to say….but I literally feel as if the well has dried up. How do I get it back?

  • Tailor Made Coaching

    Fantastic questions. A total game changer for me. I’ve been on these questions for over 2 hrs and written a couple of pages in answering them. I had at least 3 whopper breakthroughs that came at exactly the right moments. The were in the mail I guess! A question I came up with while answering the above was:

    “Is my drive to get things done and see immediate results/products of creativity, actually preventing me from seeing them?”

    Answered yes and filled a full page on the answer realising my drive has lead to impatience when I seek patience and it needs to chance to being refined and more grounded. Impatience=frustration where as patience=creativity. I learned I need to be patiently persistent and lots more! Thanks so much!

  • Lynn

    Hi Debbie. Typically, when we are in places such as these there is a judgment being made against yourself or the “product” (i.e “I’m not good enough, “My last piece I wrote was bad, silly, whatever”… So to get back, clearly identify the judgment. Then ask yourself this question: What if it didn’t matter if I (or it) was _______________ or not? Fill in the blank with whatever judgment is present. Then, show up to write! Keep your hand moving and give yourself permission for it not to be good. Keep writing, soon the muscle (just as with exercise) will strengthen again. Light to your journey! Lynn

  • Lynn

    It takes time for the fruit of our creativity to ripen. Permission for space to be allowed is the key. Pretend you are on a river and it is guiding you. Have fun riding the current! xoxox Lynn

  • Lynn

    Beautiful. Enjoy the walk… xoxox Lynn

  • http://inspiredtype.wordpress.com/ Sue Alexander | Inspired Type

    Hi Lynn,

    Fantastic, provoking questions! Some years ago, working on a marketing design project, I had a friend ask me these questions: “What if there was no budget restrictions, no sales manager trying to dictate design, and no limitations? What if you could design anything YOU wanted for this company, what would you do? So go do it. What’s stopping you?” It transformed my thinking. Sure the budget and other requirements were still there, but it opened up my creativity when I changed my outlook.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    Sue

  • Pingback: Persevere «

  • Pingback: Things I Learned This Week

  • Pingback: 50 Creative Questions to Create the Life You Want via tinybuddha.com/ « Caz Owens

  • http://profiles.google.com/rose.johnson Rose Johnson

    You know, this was exactly what I needed right now. Thanks very much.

  • Prlaurie

    Where is the rest of the list? This only shows 14. Is it included in a book?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    Each of the 14 main questions are followed by other questions, for a total of 50. They’re just not laid out with numbers because they’re part of groups of questions. (Lynn, I wasn’t sure if you’re around so I answered this one for you!)

    Lori

  • Pingback: Now rejoin your life, already in progress « Naptime Writing

  • Pingback: A Dose of Creativity

  • Lynn

    This is an awesome story! Whoo hoo!

  • Pingback: My Favorite Tweets for May 1 – 15 2011 « Nelson Biagio Jr

  • Pingback: 20 Cents from May 2011 | Balance Junkie

  • http://www.squidoo.com/painting-as-children-do KellyMartinSpeaks

    Great post. I recently started painting and drawing after 2 decades of repressing the inner artist. I wrote a similar blog on squidoo on this (will add yours to my links as its very supportive). I still have to commit the time though as I allow life to distract me. I find writing easy and photography easy but drawing and painting the inner critique can come up still but I keep doing it. Thanks again x

  • http://liberatedlifeproject.com Maia Duerr

    I love this post…. thank you, Lynn (and Lori).

    I’m big into questions too… just finished up a three-part series on them on my blog and thought you might enjoy checking out this last one: http://liberatedlifeproject.com/2011/06/the-art-of-asking-liberating-questions/

    Here’s to questions!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Sometimes we have opportunity to challenge ourselves and do what isnt easy, sometimes following the energy and doing what is easy is exactly where we are meant to be:) Thanks for the comment Kelly!

  • Zenvega74

    How simple… how profound: to open up one’s life by using two words as a tool  ‘ what if ‘.

  • Pingback: Resources for Spirit, Work, Creativity, and more | The Liberated Life Project

  • Lynn Zavaro

    It rings of possibility, yes? Thanks for your comment!! xoxox Lynn

  • Pingback: Interview and Giveaway: The Game of You by Lynn Zavaro | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • xiaoxiu11

    Your site is good Actually, i have seen your post and That was very
    informative and very helpfull for me. Thanks for posting Really Such
    Things. I should recommend your site to my friends. Cheers1z0-515//1z0-533//1z0-536//1z0-548//1z0-851//1z0-874//1z0-878//CA0-001//PMI-RMP//101-01//199-01//310-065//310-105//250-402//ASC-091//ASC-099//vmware
    certification
    //cissp//photoshop
    certification
    //sas
    certification
    //ibm
    certification
    //symantec
    certification
    //CCNP//ST0-058