Home Articles Channels Daily Retreat Inspiration Classroom Boutique Community Singles Resources Contact

SoulfulLiving.com :: Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth, Self Help and Self Improvement

Your #1 Online Resource for Personal and Spiritual Growth Since 2000.
Mandala and Chakra Pendants
New Age Gifts and Products, Buddhist and Tibetan Jewelry, Meditation and Yoga Supplies
Mandala Art Prints



Our Sponsors:

The Mandala Collection :: Buddhist and Conscious Living Gifts
Inspirational Gifts

Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Body of Grace
Eco-Friendly Gifts

Yoga Download
Yoga Download

The Mandala Collection
Give a Gift with Soul

Laurence Boldt

The Art of Manifesting Your Dreams
by Laurence G. Boldt

We’ve all heard a lot about “The American Dream”—but is there only one model of success? I think it’s safe to say that there are as many American Dreams as there are Americans. Sure, many of us share common values and aspirations for the kind of world we’d like to live in. But when it comes to the visions we have for our lives as individuals, we are as unique as our fingerprints. Your dreams are not mine—or those of your next door neighbor. Each individual has his or her own idea of what constitutes a happy and successful life. Each must chart their own path to living their dreams. Creativity, then, is the real secret to a happy and successful life. After all, the life you want to live isn’t going to just show up someday. You are going to have to create it. Fortunately, creating is what you were born to do.

How to Be, Do, or Have Anything by Laurence Boldt

Creativity Is Your Birthright

Every child is born a genius
~Albert Einstein

Birds fly, fish swim, and humans create. Our species is not defined by the size of our brains, our ability to walk upright, or even our ability to make tools. Anatomically modern humans go back at least 100,000 years. Were we to see these people dressed in modern clothing, walking down a street, they would be, to all outer appearances, indistinguishable from the rest of us. Yet anthropologists identify truly modern humans with the period beginning about 40,000 years ago. It is in this period that we see the first flowering of the creative imagination, the first signs that a vivid inner life was shaping and enriching the human experience. Our primogenitor, the first truly modern human, was born when some unknown spark ignited a creative fire in the human imagination.

And human beings have gone on creating ever since. We can only marvel at the human capacity to survive and thrive in the most extreme climates and geographical settings—from the Inuits, or Eskimos, of the Arctic North to the Bedouins of the Arabian Desert. Human beings not only survived in these extremes but produced a rich cultural life and made beautiful artifacts. For example, the Paiute Indians lived in the Great Basin of the American West, a barren environment where little more than wild grasses grow. Yet they took these grasses and created truly spectacular basketry. It is not only highly functional—woven so tightly, it holds water without mortar—but also widely recognized as some of the most beautiful the world has ever seen. This is the essence of what it is to be human: to respond creatively to the environments in which we find ourselves and to shape these into a life of beauty and meaning.

Creativity: What It Is and Isn’t

Creativity is one of those words we use all of the time without ever stopping to consider what it means. But what is it? Creativity is simply the ability to make things or to make things happen. It has nothing to do with image—you don’t have to dress like a bohemian or act like an eccentric to be creative. Being creative has nothing to do with your occupation. You don’t have to be a writer, dancer, painter, or musician to express your creativity. You can be what you naturally are. In fact, the more you embrace your own natural talents and gifts, the truer you are to your own values and sense of purpose, the more creative you are likely to be. The expression of creativity is not limited to your career or work life. You can be creative in the way you approach your relationships, your lifestyle, your personal growth, your finances, or any other aspect of your life.

Creativity is more than just coming up with great ideas. It’s the ability to take an idea and give it life, to bring into being something that either did not exist before at all—or that did not exist before for you. If we think about it in this way, we can see that this is something we have all done at different times in our lives. So we all have not only the innate capacity to be creative but real experience in being so.

What Keeps Us from Creating the Results We Want?

Yet, for all too many, that experience remains limited and/or unconscious. By “unconscious,” I mean that we often don’t recognize that our successes (and, interestingly, even our failures) reflect the application of basic laws of manifestation, or principles of the creative process. We may attribute our success to luck, hard work, or a variety of other factors, and miss the role that universal principles of manifestation play in our achievements. I wrote my new book How to Be, Do, or Have Anything to help people recognize these principles of creative manifestation and apply them in very practical ways to consistently achieve the results they desire. Over the course of many years working in the career development field, I have been reminded again and again that many people don’t know how to create the results they want in life. And it’s just not people in the middle or at the bottom end of the economic scale. By mid-life, many who are financially well-off have discovered that knowing how to move up the corporate ladder, or even how to make shrewd and lucrative investments, is not the same as knowing how to create what they truly want in life. People from all walks of life and across the socio-economic spectrum fail to recognize and consistently express their innate creative abilities.

But if we are all naturally creative, if creativity is, in fact, built into the very fiber of our beings, why do we so often believe, feel, and act as though it isn’t? It takes years of conscious development for our innate creative capacities to reach their fullest expression. Even the most basic level of development can be stunted by a variety of unfavorable factors. Chief among these is the belief that we are not creative. Studies designed to find variables that correlate with creativity have examined a range of factors including: IQ, socio-economic status, education, ethnicity, and gender. It turns out that none of these variables correlate with creativity. In fact, the only reliable predictor of how creative a person actually is, is the individual’s belief in his or her creativity. The more creative you believe you are, the more creative you are likely to be. Though it surprised the researchers conducting these studies, this outcome is really a matter of common sense. If you don’t believe that you have the ability to create what you want, you’re not going to try, to experiment, to risk following your dreams, or, if you do try, you’re likely to give up at the first sign of trouble. In either case, you’re not going to gain the knowledge and practical experience that comes with applying the creative process over and over again. What we believe shapes what we do, and what we do determines the outcomes in our lives.

Unfortunately, most people weren’t brought up to believe that they could create what they want in life. Most didn’t see their parents modeling a creative way of life. Even if their parents paid lip service to creative development, their actions often indicated that following one’s dreams was not a high priority in life. If people didn’t get encouragement to believe in and express their creativity at home, they most certainly didn’t get it at school. In seminars I’ve conducted over the years, I’ve often asked people if they felt as though they had been encouraged to develop their creativity in school. In these admittedly unscientific surveys, I found that fewer than 5 percent believed their creativity had been nurtured at school. On the contrary, the sit-in-rows-, learn-by-rote-, and find-THE-right-answer approach to education discourages original thinking, experimentation, and risk-taking—all of which are necessary for creative development.

When they leave school and enter the work world, most people do not find their creativity encouraged there either. Indeed, powerful structural impediments to the development of creativity have been built into the way much of work is organized today. While these impediments can be overcome, consistently expressing our creativity at work requires greater conscious effort today than it did in times past. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most people had daily experience with the creative process. They made their own homes, clothing, tools, furniture, bedding, soap, candles, and a host of other items. They worked on things from start to finish, infusing their love, intelligence, and care at every step along the way, as they moved from idea to result. Yet with increasing mechanization and specialization, the experience of working on things from start to finish became confined to fewer and fewer people. Today, few own their work. They have little control over its ultimate purpose or the process by which it is produced. The effect of this on individual creativity was something that the economist Adam Smith foresaw centuries ago. While Smith thought that specialization would be good for the “wealth of nations,” what we would today call the “GDP,” he warned that from the standpoint of the individual, it would have a stifling effect on creativity and a dulling effect on the human imagination. As Smith predicted, many have lost “the habit exertion” that comes with being creatively challenged at work.

In our entertainments as well, we have grown increasingly passive. Instead of making up our own stories, songs, and dances, as our ancestors did for untold centuries, we watch television. Even reading a book requires a more active use of the imagination than watching a movie or a television program—but reading too is on the decline. So today, whether at work or at home, many aren’t using their creative imaginations—and just as muscles grow flabby from lack of exercise, so our imaginations grow flabby from lack of use.

We can see then that there are a variety of reasons why people fail to recognize and develop their innate creative capacities. Some of these are social and cultural, some strictly individual. For many people, skepticism about their creative abilities can be linked to more pervasive self-esteem issues, reflecting fundamental doubts about their worth and deservingness. For others, it may be related to specific experiences in the past. For example, after being criticized by a teacher in an art or writing class, a young person may have decided not just that he isn’t cut out for art or writing—but that he isn’t the “creative type.” We have seen, then, how our natural creative abilities can be denied, inhibited, and blocked. Yet we should never forget that—regardless of a person’s age or past experience—these abilities can be reclaimed, cultivated, and expressed.

Cultivating Creativity: A Great Leap Forward

All right, so how do we develop our creative abilities? The short answer is: the same way we develop any skill—with knowledge and practical application. When we are thinking about developing creativity, it’s important to keep in mind three principles discussed earlier:

1. Creativity is the ability to make things or to make things happen, to shape our outer environments in the image of our inner life.

2. Creativity is natural to human beings; under favorable conditions, it spontaneously manifests itself.

3. Creativity can be cultivated, which is to say that with conscious intention and direction, we can enhance our creative capacities above and beyond naturally occurring levels.

We discussed some of the unfavorable elements that can interfere with the natural development and expression of our innate creative potentials. In the end, what they have in common is the sense of breaking the individual’s spirit, of destroying the confidence we had in ourselves and the trust we had in life when we were the “genius” children to which Einstein referred. A confident, cheerful, and loving attitude toward life is the sunlight that the soil of imagination needs to germinate and grow creative ideas into viable living entities. Anything that makes us doubt ourselves or our possibilities in life blocks that sunlight. By the same token, anything that gives us confidence in ourselves, and the power we have to shape our lives in the image of our dreams, dispels the clouds and allows the light to come streaming in. Nothing gives us confidence like a thorough understanding of the creative process, the means by which ideas become living realities.

Agriculture, the cultivation of living plants, provides an excellent analogy for how a naturally occurring phenomenon (like human creativity) can be taken to new and higher levels. Humanity made a great leap forward when it discovered agriculture. Our entire civilization owes its existence to those ancient pioneers who took a naturally occurring phenomenon—the interaction of sun, soil, and seed that gives birth to food-producing plants—and began to cultivate this process to make it yield far greater results. Today, we can take another, even greater, leap forward by cultivating that seemingly random process through which the interaction of consciousness and environment—of idea, emotion, and action—gives birth to a new thing, event, or experience of reality. By understanding and cultivating that process by which seeds of thought germinate within the fertile soil of the human imagination and begin growing into living realities, we can empower ourselves as individuals and revolutionize our collective experience.

Cultivation means moving from haphazard and limited results to predictable and bountiful ones. If you were to toss some seeds out your back door, a few might take root; perhaps one or two might even mature and bear fruit. Yet if you are counting on a rich harvest, you will want to prepare, plant, and care for a garden. In the same way, you can from time to time haphazardly create the results you want in life without understanding the creative process. Yet if you want to get consistent results, year in and year out, in a wide variety of areas, you will want to understand and apply all the steps in the creative process.

And it is a process. When you plant a garden, you don’t go out the next day and dig up the seeds to see if it is working—to see if things are really growing. You recognize that growth is an evolving process—and you trust it. You also understand that at different stages of this process, different things need to be done. There is a time to prepare the soil, to plant the seeds, to water, fertilize, weed, harvest, and so on. In the same way, there is a process in the act of creating. Impatience can spoil your manifestations. There is as well a sequence to these events, and it is important that they be done in order. Understanding and exerting conscious control over the creative process allows us to get better and more consistent results, in the same way that planting a garden helps us to grow more food.

While the act of creation always retains an unconscious component, there are things we can do to trigger this unconscious element as well. Again the analogy holds: we can’t make things grow—nature does this in a mysterious way—but we can create conditions which are conducive to growth. When it comes to creating results, some people recognize this process—these conditions of growth—intuitively. Yet many do not. It has long struck me as a great failing of our education system that we do not teach people the practical mechanics of creating the results they want in their lives. It was the desire to address this issue that led me to write my latest book.

How to Be, Do, or Have Anything reveals the eight essential steps of “the manifestation formula,” the key to understanding the creative process. The manifestation formula articulates the creative process in a simple, step-by-step way that helps you understand all of its components, how they all fit together, and in what order. This makes it easier to replicate success, by understanding how and why you are getting good results when you do. It gives you confidence to apply this universal process to other areas of your life that perhaps aren’t working as well. It also helps you examine your “failures” and understand exactly why success eluded you. Armed with this knowledge, you will be much less likely to give up on yourself or your dreams. You’ll have a blueprint that lets you know exactly where you are in the creative process at any given time and how to best marshal your energy and resources to advance your goals at each and every stage along the way.

How to Be, Do, or Have Anything invites you to begin taking immediate action to fulfill the deepest desires of your heart. As you move through the interactive worksheets and exercises, your dreams begin to crystallize, to take on form and substance. The book can even help you tap into new visions for your life, visions which have been with you all the while but have remained hidden from your awareness. The key to it all is application of the “manifestation formula.” I like to think of the eight steps of the manifestation formula as the essential amino acids of the creative process. Just as our bodies can spontaneously produce the rest of the amino acids from the essential ones, so, by mastering and applying the eight essentials of the manifestation formula, we can spontaneously generate the particulars that we require to flesh out our unique manifestations. I have seen firsthand how applying this formula has helped people to regain confidence in their creative capacities and transform their lives. I invite you to embrace the creative process that is your life on earth and begin shaping it in the image of your dreams.

Read the Introduction to How to Be, Do, or Have Anything

Copyright © Laurence G. Boldt, 2001 All rights reserved.


Zen and the Art of Making a Living Zen Soup How to Find the Work You Love The Tao of Abundance

Laurence G. Boldt is a writer, career consultant, and personal coach with nearly two decades of experience helping people shape their dreams into practical realities. He has been credited with helping to revolutionize the career field with a new a vision of work and a new technology of vocational guidance. Laurence is the author of five books including the bestselling Zen and the Art of Making a Living and How to Find the Work You Love.


Visit Laurence's Website at:


Daily Soul Retreat at SoulfulLiving.com
Soul Retreat Goodies!

Support SoulfulLiving.com
Show Us Your Love ♥


Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Wild Divine Meditation Software featuring Deepak Chopra
Meditation Software

Energy Muse - Sacred Yoga Jewelry

Copyright © 1999-2014 Soulful Living®.

Soulful Website Design by The Creative Soul®.