Vanilla Isn’t Always Bad

va·nil·la /vəˈnilə/

adjective INFORMAL

having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard.
“choosing plain vanilla technology wherever you can will save you money”

While being called vanilla is most commonly viewed as something bad or boring or lacking in some way, I think that being called vanilla is a compliment.

Vanilla ice cream
Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Think about what is in your favorite milkshake or frozen concoction. Your favorite milkshake might be strawberry, but strawberry began as vanilla and had strawberry flavoring added to it. The same goes for chocolate. Start with vanilla and then add some sort of cocoa powder mixture. Cookies and cream? Yep. Vanilla with cookies in it. All of these delicious sugary medleys begin with one common ingredient: vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla is the foundation upon which some of the most amazing creations have been assembled.

One of my favorite ice cream treats is vanilla ice cream with pineapple bits in it. Sometimes I drizzle chocolate syrup on top if I’m feeling extra. Or maybe the occasion calls for a banana split. It all depends on the level of creative genius flowing at the time. And the reason why I love vanilla is that I can add almost anything to it and it still turns out great.

Banana split
Image by Mogens Petersen from Pixabay

As a creative person, think of yourself as vanilla ice cream. While you may think that your ideas are bland and boring, your creative vision and unique eye adds the sprinkles and the pizazz that turns plain old vanilla into something magical. The stories we are telling through creation and art, expression and experimentation may each differ from experience to experience, but the basis is the same. Our foundation–what we stand for, how we believe the world works and how we see things, and how we interpret what’s to come–works to enhance the creative apin that we put on things. The new glaze tried on a tried-and-true bowl, the touch of shimmer added to the soap, the interesting back story for the last character development exercise… it’s all an experiment that starts with that vanilla foundation.

Being vanilla isn’t bad. Vanilla is versatile, able to adapt to the occasion. No matter what is thrown their way, a creative vanilla personality can transform something bland into something bodacious simply by providing a strong foundation for the grandiose ideas. The creative toppings in no way detract from the vanilla foundation, but instead enhance it. Vanilla is an unobtrusive asset that should be embraced.

And remember, if the creative experiment should go awry, going back to the drawing board is less daunting once you realize that you’ll always have that classic foundation from which to begin anew.

What will you create today that can be enhanced by your vanilla foundation?

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