Friday, March 30, 2012

What Does It Mean To Be Creative?

Not exactly what might immediately spring to mind.

I have a friend who is a dreamer. He comes up with the best ideas; they are intriguing, make you think about things in different ways and they sound brilliant; however, many of these ideas stay in their shapeless form, never to be realized.

An article on Psychology Today points out that our former ways of measuring creativity - including a focus on ideation, flexible and divergent thinking, etc - is not enough and actually discredits the creativity that can happen when one adds persistence and execution to the idea. It is not enough to merely have an idea, says the article,

Being creative also means actually executing an idea. Daydreaming is invaluable to ideation, but the world is full of daydreamers whose scripts and inventions never get past the novelty spurt or grand vision. To move from lightning-bolt idea to completing a novel, or a new way to use a room, or starting a business, or a new product design requires far more than the idea itself. 

Bravo. 'tis true. This is another case where perseverance wins the race with simple creativity. You must work and work hard to execute your vision, or it will always remain a vapor.

The article goes on to talk about the environment and physical influence of creativity; where you are and how you are feeling, including your physical and mental state, actually influence how creative you are able to be. For some reason, we avoid talking about this when we discuss creativity; humans like to cling to the idea that our physical self does not matter when it comes to dealing with the brain (specifically the creative nature of the brain), but we are influenced by our surroundings and our fleshy vessel whether we like it or not. The article brings up Haruki Murakami and his excellent discourse on the topic of physical being to creativity (please take the time to read his work; it is pure genius), and, of course, school is mentioned with regard to environment:

We're just now beginning to accept that cinder-block classrooms with low ceilings and poor lighting might actually affect the way a teenager can compute mathematical formulas or play music.

Why are we just now beginning to accept this truth? Shame on us. Are we beginning to change it? Probably not.

This article gives hope to those who have thought of themselves as "not creative types" just because they don't paint or write or play an instrument. Creativity is tied to problem-solving, but it doesn't always have to be flashy; there is more than one way to skin a cat, and sometimes the simplest one is the best.

So to paraphrase, here's to the dreamers and the misfits, but here's also to the ones who follow through and make their vision a reality.

1 comment: