Creativity at work
I haven’t met one so far who says that creativity is not important. It seems like it is recognized but is not given the due recognition that it deserves. Creativity comes naturally to few people and to others it seems like a mighty insurmountable challenge and is usually followed by a ‘that’s not for me’. When we say that creativity is not for me we forget that we are all born creative. We see children being creative at all times. However, creativity that comes naturally to them, mostly gets lost through the process of growing up.
People often ask me if creativity is intrinsic or acquired. I find that it is both. We are naturally born to be our creative best, in observing, learning, applying and living. As we grow and learn from the world we have a greater potential for creativity. Its a different story though that that seldom happens.
So where does it all go?
Most of the time, it is our belief. We create our belief and it creates us. When we believe we are creative, it just comes naturally and we can surprise ourselves with it. As children we all have outdone ourselves in being creative. So much so that, the reminder of the very same things we did brings an effervescent joy when, as we grow up, we see other children being creative. Most of the times, we betray our own creativity by barricading it with the gates of our disbelief in our own capabilities.
Quite often we value the opinion of others greater than our own judgement. Descrates said, “I think therefore I am”. The mantra for the modern man in a corporate outfit has become – ‘I am what my boss and my colleagues think of me’. When someone says it’s a bad idea to do this or that, a kind of paralysis takes over that subdues our own belief in an idea. Dark clouds of doubt creeps and soars above the light of our imagination. Challenging the conventions is termed rogue behaviour and extremist.
How can we develop creativity?
Creativity is within everyone, but not all of us are actively creative. The difference is in making use of the creative faculty as often as possible. Just like any other muscle our brain’s creative function drops rapidly if not used often. Use it or lose it is a basic principle. A routine job that offers no creativity can benumb the mind. When the strings in a guitar get weakened, you just can’t play music as you used to. Similarly, you can’t generate ideas instantly if you were not in the practise of active creativity. However the capacity of our brain to learn is outstanding. If one isn’t actively creative, then he is not doomed forever to be that way. The plasticity of the brain is high to develop its faculty given the right orientation and spirit.
There might be many situations when one feels that nothing much can be added on to what already exists. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it right. So we don’t mess with the order, we don’t challenge the paradigm, don’t break the conventions. But history has taught us that the greatest inventions began by challenging what is possible. The first step to developing creativity is to challenge the construct, our own construct made of self-limiting beliefs.
Creativity has no boundaries. It flows freely and without limits. Conventional form of thinking is in bits, yes and no, right or wrong, either/or. However creativity operates on possibilities. In the creative world, anything is possible. While a right or wrong kind of thinking has only two avenues, world of possibilities have many. An idea judged prematurely takes away from it the potential of what it can achieve if explored in true spirit. We have many successful entrepreneurs today who were once banking on their belief in an idea which the world saw as too risky or outlandish. Those with heart and a belief in their idea, with courage and determination to see it through to whatever end, have shown that exploring an idea can lead you somewhere rather than being glued to a seat of doubt and uncertainty.
Expressing our uniqueness
The power of an idea is latent unless explored or expressed. Of what use is a ship if it is only docked in the yard, as that is not what is designed for. We all have an amazing capacity of being able to generate ideas. Every major challenge that we have faced as a race, we have been able to overcome with our determination and the strength of our thoughts put into action. Also, each of us is unique in our own special ways. No two people are alike. This is owing to the fact that we all have our own social backgrounds, our upbringings, and our own set of experiences that shape us. Even between twins there are differences in thoughts, feelings and opinions. However we are all told what to do and to do as we are told. We have to follow a norm. If one person did it one way and it worked, then everyone else better follow that route. A tree has to be the way the art teacher likes it, it can’t be as a thicket of leaves if one imagines sitting on one of the branches atop. Questions fly across, “Where is the trunk?”, and “Where is the ground?”. We can express uniquely as we imagine things in our mind. And it can be the key to unlocking our creativity.
Creativity is not a relic of the past, it is not a treasure photo of our childhood that we can preserve in memories and live vicariously off through the great ideas of others. It is our space to be free and roam wild with. Claim your ideas and lead your life the way you want it.