Choose to be CreativeShare
We are all born creative, so why many of us feel we are not? The choice is in our hands!
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
One of the activities I love most is leading Creativity Workshops. Taking The Creativity Game out to the field, and working face-to-face with people to help them ignite their creativity, is probably the most rewarding professional activity for me.
A few weeks ago I led a creative workshop. It was designed as a street photography workshop with the goal of seeing things differently. Half an hour into the activity I noticed that one participant was not taking any photographs. When I asked her why she was not taking part actively she said she is just not the creative type.
Less than five minutes later she took this surreal photograph inspired by the Weightless seempli SeedTM.
Some Good News and Some Bad News
Let's start with the good news. We are all naturally creative. Our creativity can be expressed in many different forms. Not all of us are artists, but this does not mean we are not creative. It just means our creativity is realized in different ways.
It's enough to look at how children play with the most ordinary stuff to understand that we were born creative. Just like we were born to sense the world around us and to communicate, the human species is designed to imagine and create.
Let's take a minute to celebrate this good news, because next comes the darker side....
Soon after we are born creative, almost everything (and everyone) around us tries to take this gift away from us. Not because anyone wants to hurt us, but because the grand systems around us are mostly not designed nor equipped to deal with creativity.
The Education System is probably the most obvious example. Everyone praise creativity, yet the system which should help nurture it is still operating mostly in terms of predefined material, questions with right or wrong answers, and obviously a grading system based on these pillars.
To be prepared for school, this non-creative journey begins even earlier. And since parents are keen to provide the best for their children, they will spend time and money on preschool courses and (even before that) development toys that are designed to get their child ahead of the curriculum.
And it doesn't stop at school. Universities and later workplaces tend to go for the easiest solution of categorizing professions and then people. You are a creative type so you can write a novel. You, on the other hand, are the analytical type, so you will do wonders as an accountant. And maybe you will. But that's not the point. Accountants can (and should) be creative too.
When I was at school, I was good at mathematics and physics. I've never done anything tagged as "creative". I didn't write stories or poems, and I didn't draw. I didn't dance or act or sing. I didn't even play a musical instrument. Later, I went to Law School, and after that, I studied for Computer Science. I take full responsibility for these choices, but let's not ignore the fact that they were considered a great success from "the system" perspective. And by "system" I don't mean only the education system but also my family, the community, and dare I say society. And these choices are indeed great (for some). They really are. But for me, they had a cost: they reinforced the realization that I wasn't creative. I wanted to be, but years of studies had driven me to the obvious conclusion that I wasn't. Until, ten years later, I happened to pick up a camera and it helped rediscover myself.
OK... We had some good news and some bad news. It's time for the Great news!
Creativity is a Choice
We are born creative. Under other circumstances, there wouldn't be anything to prevent us from maintaining this ability. But the fact that we are surrounded by less cooperative systems does not mean we should give up on it. The only thing that prevents us from being more creative is the false assumption that we aren't.
We can regain and develop our ability to see things differently. We just need to know that we can and practice it a little - just like gaining and maintaining physical fitness. We need to be proactive about it, otherwise routine and external forces will push us to doubt ourselves.
Creativity can be applied in every domain. Whatever you do, you can spice it up with creativity. You don't need to be a writer, or a painter, or a composer to be creative. You just have to know for sure that you are.
To be creative you have to choose to be creative. To be creative, you have to practice creativity. You have to train your mind to see things differently, and you have to celebrate it when it happens. You can be a lawyer, a mechanic, an accountant, a scientist, a plumber, a teacher, a software developer, or a secretary. Being creative has nothing to do with your line of work. It's just who you are.
It would be great if all the systems affecting our lives were redesigned to promote and nurture creativity. We shouldn't stop trying to challenge and change them. But at the same time, we should take responsibility for ourselves.
We choose to be creative because we were born to be creative. And no system in the world should manage to convince us otherwise.
Lidor’s visual artworks, which are focused on the things hundreds and thousands of people pass by in the street every day, led him to create seempli to inspire people to practice creative observation on a daily basis.
Using seempli Lidor works with individuals, teams, and organizations seeking to develop and enhance their creativity.