Creative activities are not only fun but offer mental and social benefits that help to make you a better lawyer.
The era of the uptight, stodgy lawyer may be long over but the days of artistic, creative-minded lawyers are not quite here. From the academic pressures of law school to the rigidity of law school dress codes, most lawyers still tend towards conservatism— if not in politics, then in thought process, perspective, and lifestyle. They certainly aren’t known for making time to pursue the arts, music, or creative expression.
After all, if you’re spending 60 hours a week in the lawyer’s analytical, logical mindset, it can be hard to shut that off on a whim. And if you’re still coming into your own as a lawyer, you may also be too nervous to challenge the expectations of how lawyers should think, talk, and spend their time.
Which is a shame, both for you and your professional goals. Why? Because creativity will make you a better lawyer.
Need to argue persuasively? That needs creativity.
Looking to wiggle your way out of a legal tight spot, or write a contact that holds up? You’ll need quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking.
Writing a brief to capture an audience? You’re not getting very far without a creative spirit.
But if you’re getting started, how can you strengthen your creative muscles? Simply by being creative. Scheduling time to create—in any medium—will boost your mind, build your skills, and give you the tools to improve every part of your life.
Creativity builds analytical abilities.
If you think creativity and reasoning skills are two separate parts of your mind, think again. Creativity is crucial to developing analytical, reasoning, and critical thinking skills…and the same goes the other way around. Challenging your mind to look, understand, and create in new ways will sharpen your thinking, in and out of the office.
Creativity makes you a better problem solver.
There’s no rulebook for art, music, or poetry. Instead, you’ll have to create (and break) the rules as you try to capture an image or sentiment—and since it’s your art, solving the challenge of creativity is fun instead of stressful. That’s why indulging in regular creative pursuits will help you develop your problem-solving skills—teaching your mind to react to challenges or setbacks with new routes instead of defeat.
Creativity builds your confidence.
The more you create, the more you’ll learn to trust your own instincts…and the more confidence you’ll instill in your work. And there’s few traits more important for a lawyer than confidence. Self-assurance will take your career far in the courtroom, at meetings, with your network, and anywhere else you have to present your best self.
Creativity gives you new opportunities.
Show a man a locked door, and he’ll walk away. Show a creative man a locked door, and he’ll climb in through the window. Creativity encourages you to think “outside the box,” finding new ways to approach business and find opportunities to capitalize on in every situation. Creative solutions will also help you stand out from the crowd, allowing you to win over new clients and new business to become a successful rainmaker.
Creativity beats stress.
If there’s one thing every lawyer needs, it’s a bit of stress relief. Whether you prefer meditative creativity or something a bit more challenging, the act of creating something new will distract you, stimulate your mind, and release your tensions. And when you do finally finish your artwork or pull the cupcakes out of the oven? Enjoying the fruit of your labors will reward you with a positive mood boost.
Better thinking, more confidence, and less stress? If you can use a little bit of that, you’ll do well to look into your nearest pottery class. Or why not just pull out your notepad and get doodling? After all, when it comes to building your creativity muscles, it’s the exercise that matters…not the end results.