The Relationship Between You and Your Creativity
This is my twentieth entry into the 1001 challenge to write one thousand and one words everyday throughout the month of November. Peace
Everybody loves a good artist, everyone appreciates a display of excellence and creativity; well, the ones they are capable of processing at least. Everyone wants to make good art, or do good work, and everyone can do good work.
We’re all creative, it’s a fundamental trait of human beings; the drive to create lives in us all. However, we aren’t all creative in the same way. Think about fundamental creativity as white light, and every human being as a multi colored prism with a unique shape, and different types of fractures and scuff marks on it. It’s the same white light, but the intensity of light, and the eventual color, and pattern it will make on projecting through, will be different for each prism, and rightly so.
Every person is a unique mix of general traits, across different spectra. We all have different IQ levels, different genetic combinations, different interests, different temperaments, were born into different cultures, raised in different homes and so on. Even among people with similar backgrounds, or foundations, there will still be nuances.
Knowing this is essential for people who don’t consider themselves creative; it’s not that you aren’t, it just doesn’t function as you would expect. That said, there are levels to personal creativity; some personality and biological traits, give some people an edge when it comes to innovating, connecting the dots in new ways, and so on.
Still, that you don’t rank high on this scale doesn’t mean your desire to create as an artist, or bring something new to your field or workplace, is invalid; some people don’t need the best minds, they need what you have to offer (whatever it is). They need the way you offer it, they can relate to your particular perspective; there’s something you bring that they can connect to. They don’t have to be a multitude, and you don’t have to be flashy about it, it can be a very simple affair.
But this is hard to hear. We’re sensual creatures; we unconsciously infer success, and legitimacy to external signals like popularity and grandiose. Ordinariness, doesn’t do it for most of us, a lot of the time. Thus, it takes conscious effort for every individual to understand and remember that the work he does, the hobbies he partakes in, and the life he lives in general, is first for himself, and then for the world. It’s his way of indirectly using the world around him, to mine for the treasures in his soul.
In some cases, these treasures will be for the masses, in most however, it will be a for a specific set of people. Sometimes, it might be a combination of both, some treasures for the masses, the others for specific people. None of the above scenarios is less or greater than the other, it’s just a large-scale case of different strokes for different folks. Once this is understood, it becomes easier to focus on letting your creativity bloom in its own manner, and time.
It should be noted at this point, that the word “creativity” as used in this article, can be replaced with expertise, excellence or your impulse. Sure, some nuances will have to be adjusted for, but the general message is the same: find your zone, don’t let the world’s standards or examples, cause you to forsake yourself. The idols of the world, are to serve as healthy competition, as inspiration, and as springboards from which you launch into the exploration of yourself, never as ends in themselves.
This exploration never ends, it happens in stages, evolving at the end of each, so as to keep the game infinite. The best way I know to play this game, is to live life as it comes, by finding the sweet, pointy intersection, between your inclinations, your circumstances, and your dreams. Your inclinations are guides to your base nature; this plays a major role in determining what you’ll find interesting, the type of people that will call to you, and the biological and mental tools at your disposal. It is mostly stable throughout life; any changes are discovered by a deeper understanding of this nature rather than change in its essence. Your circumstances determine constraints you have to work around, that is, how you’ll survive, your social environment, your health and energy levels, and so on. These are ever changing, and can be influenced to a great degree by your choices. Your dreams are guides into your acquired nature, and are offshoots of your inclinations and circumstance; they are the desires you cultivate as a result of being who you are, and where you are. These like your circumstances can be changed, and influenced by you and the people around you.
Finding the intersection between these three factors, allows you live an authentic life, and survive at the same time. It won’t be easy, and requires a lot of discipline, self-awareness, self-honesty, and a willingness to learn, unlearn and adapt.
I’ll end it with this quote by Matt Richtel, from this NY Times article:
“A family friend once told me that, in college, he was curious to find out whether he was creative so he picked up an easel at the store. He painted for 10 minutes, put down the brush and declared himself not remotely creative. But he went on to make tens of millions of dollars as an entrepreneur. He had mistakenly conflated artistic creativity with any type of creativity. But not all creativity looks the same, and it doesn’t take the same name.
This all sounds obvious to those who have cracked the creativity code. Often, though, I hear people asking how to write a book or song or comic strip and I know that they are asking a bigger question: “Can I create something?” The response to that question should always be “Yes, give yourself permission to see the seeds for what they are.”
Those before-bed mind wanderings you are having are just as valid a force of imagination as the ones had by the world’s greatest artists: They are your natural impulses, the things that make you who you are, and are your inner creator speaking out.”