Updated: Jul 1
How do we define creativity?
Creativity is a vital component of progress, growth, and change. It is the process of creating something new, or the production of something new that is meaningful to the creator or to someone else. For me, creativity is all about process. The act of creating can be arduous, it is the practice and process that define the creation. If the practice and process are persistent, the product will speak for itself. Creativity is often about problem solving. It is about being less focused on results and more focused on the ability to think outside the box. Creativity can exist in the small changes and the large steps. Creativity is interdisciplinary. Creativity is the ability to take risks. Creativity is making mistakes, learning from them, and trying something new.
Can Creativity be nurtured?
We are all born with innate creative intelligence and curiosities.
Children are joyful, playful beings. They are not afraid to make something new out of building blocks. They do not limit their imagination, as there are limitless possibilities for what those building blocks could become. They do not care what the others’ think; they are playing, exploring, and creating. They trust themselves.
As we grow older and go to school, we start becoming afraid of criticism, afraid of being wrong, and afraid of being considered irresponsible or childish. We begin to value the final product over the process.
We grow out of our creativity.
Traditional education systems today place Art and creativity at the bottom of the education pyramid. This is because academic schools as we know them were created to fulfill the needs of the Industrial Revolution.
In a 2006 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson stated that children will need creativity in the world of the future, as its needs are unimaginable now. He says that in fact “creativity is just as important as literacy”.
I would argue that we are all innately creative, and that telling yourself that you are not creative limits your creative capacity.
I am also a firm believer that we all have vast quantities of untapped creative potential and that with practice and nurturing, we can begin to access it.
What are the ways you nurture your creativity?
We all need different things in order to grow our creativity. I posed the above question during our Art In Conversation discussion. Here are some of the wonderful ideas, practices, and exercises I came away from our conversation.
Practicing any kind of mindfulness exercises (Eg breathing, meditating, or yoga) will help allow you to access creative potential.
Slow multitasking, meaning, having multiple projects or tasks going on at one time that feed on each other.
Learn new skills.
Taking inspiration from other creatives by actively listening to or viewing their work.
Giving oneself prompts, exercises, or tasks. For example if your goal was to get better improvising on the clarinet, challenging yourself to improvise for a set amount of time everyday will challenge you to continue trying new variations.
Go until you find discomfort and then reach comfort again.
Don’t take things too seriously.
Making sure to take care of your wellbeing, such as giving your body the amount of sleep and nutrients it craves.
Spending time with children!
Movement- even stretching for a few minutes a day can open your mind and shift energy around your body.
Trust your intuition.
Travel and learning from other people and cultures (without appropriating).
Creativity isn’t just for artists!
Creativity is not solely for artists. Creative thinkers are necessary in many different professional and academic fields, and in personal endeavors.
In corporate settings, creativity is sometimes sacrificed due to the demand of speedy and accurate results. Companies have to find a balance between using creativity to grow and getting fast solutions. It is creativity that guides innovation and progress. Creativity is just as important in the office as it is in schools, public affairs, or social service settings. When working with other people, creativity can help you think on your feet, interact thoughtfully, and build team rapport.
Creativity matters in everyday life. Creativity can help navigate difficult relationships, make mouth watering meals, and put together thoughtful presents for loved ones.
We are more alive and engaged when we think creatively.
Food for thought:
Delving deep into topics such as these often further sparks curiosity, and leaves me with more questions than when I started. If you have a few moments, I encourage you to sit with any of these questions to further understand and strengthen your relationship with creativity.
Do Liberal Arts colleges value and nurture creativity and creative thought more than large universities?
Is it possible to hit a limit or reach the maximum of your creative potential or is there always room for further growth?
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