Creativity is not a dirty word

Are you afraid of the word “creativity”? Or perhaps you simply have a disdain for what you believe to be a fruitless abstraction. Maybe you think creativity is a fluffy concept, distinct from the “real getting down to business” business.

There’s a chance you might feel alienated from the notion of “being creative” — that it is the sole realm of artsy, whimsical types who are inclined to sport neckerchiefs and strange amulets. And of course, you might be just tired of the term — one more “C” in the string of alliterated words that seem to pop up whenever anyone touches on “21st century” work or learning.

Creativity can indeed be all that…if you let it. But the thing is, it’s not a new-fangled idea for the fringe. It’s not inherently esoteric. It’s not one-size-fits-all. It’s not an add-on. It’s not exclusive.

There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles on the “science” of creativity. There are systematic methods for honing one’s own creativity. There are regimes for expanding the creative potential of the mind. And to some extent, certain drugs (and alcohol) are recognized as creativity enhancers, as are some otherwise unfortunate brain and personality “disorders”.

Creativity is a way of approaching the world…a way of being and thinking.

It’s both passive and active.

It’s consumption and production.

It’s observation and implementation.

It’s remix and novelty.

It’s simplification and elaboration.

It’s destruction and abstraction as much as it is creation.

It’s easy to fall in love with and easy to abhor.

It’s pain as much as it is elation — after all, the etymology of “passion” is suffering.

Perhaps because of these contradictions some are quick to dismiss creativity as an impossible dream, not worthy of the serious folk going about serious stuff.

But, creativity is the essence of being human,

and it’s what got our species where we are today (for better…and for worse).

It’s the key trait that can get us out of our current condundrums (or conundra if you go with proper Latin)…that is, if we don’t squash it. It’s the most promising tool in our belt for navigating in the uncertain and ever-morphing times to come.

Creativity is crucial.

So instead of booing or poo-pooing creativity — start doing…..

Read about the scientists, inventors, artists, philosophers and entrepreneurs that we consider our “creative superheroes” — study they ways in which they worked and lived.

Richard Feynman on the bongos

Investigate the latest articles sharing scientific research on creativity, particularly since we’ve been able to come to know more about how our brains work. Strive to intentionally practice creative thinking strategies everyday, in order to appreciate the process and develop your own techniques (I’ve written dozens of posts on strategies if you search “creativity” in this blog).

Creativity has been our way of advancing throughout the ages — so it’s far from a fad….

…but it is our future.