How to use what you already have to CREATE GREAT THINGS
You are the creative type
I hear it thrown around here and there, I’m just not creative. However, I disagree. Everybody is creative. In fact, creativity is so versatile and unique that everyone has their own brand of it. Best of all, you can express creativity even if you don’t know you already are. In this article, I seek to prove how you can use what you already have to create great things.
Open your mind, be mad enough to make out of one world another world
A word of caution from Mark Z. Danielewski, “For you without imagination, who can matter-of-factly claim that you’re not the creative type- mind you, not proudly claim; for an imagination of ruin must burn beneath defiances against personal invention. Then best put this [article] down and seek out instead some almanac of entertainment free from all such catalytic risks to a mind just mad enough to make out of one world another world.”
Shutting off doubt
Most are afraid of creative expression because of an irrational fear that prevents action. Humans are wired with a fear gene for evolutionary purposes of survival. However, this instinctual reaction works counter intuitively when we allow fear to penetrate our actions to create. A common downfall is self indulging in the thoughts, you’re just not good enough, not original enough, not enough. This train of thinking can render most into not even trying because you’ve already taken yourself out of the game. It’s over well before success has a chance to show up unexpectedly in our doorstep. Suzy Kassem sums up the cause and effect of allowing self-doubt steer your ship, “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.
It’s okay not to be Plato
Even some of the most outwardly confident people face doubt. The private diary of second-century Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a Philosopher-King, shows this through his meditations. Within the pages, a brilliant man tries to keep his motivation to be creative, brave, and to keep searching. He wrestles with thoughts that are primal. Working through questions like: Why am I here? What have I been called to do? How am I getting in my own way? How can I best live out my destiny?
It’s consoling to read Marcus Aurelius wrangle with doubt through comparison just like everybody else. “Get a move on- if you have it in you- and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic, be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant”. Within the confines of his words, this legendary Roman Emperor Philosopher reassures himself that it’s okay not to be Plato.
Thinking outside the box
Now, with leveling the playing field and shaking off doubt, heres what you already have. In the book, The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip, Kevin Devlin does an anthropologic deep dive into how everybody has the gene and thus the mind for mathematics. Devlin breaks down one of the key reasons for why human beings are so uniquely special. I would like to highlight here our ability to be able to handle levels of abstraction. Other animals think of spatial objects in their environment. Whereas, humans think beyond the physical landscape. In fact, we think outside of our present state into the past and future. These are the dominant thoughts that run in the subconscious of our minds.
To imagine is to exist otherwise
In short, we label this complex ability into one compact word: imagination. If you are out of touch with your imagination or have been far removed since childhood fear not. In the book, The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard invites us to connect with our imagination through finding the grandeur in everyday objects and events. We simply need to describe an image at its onset. “For language is both image and text. The one tool we have capable to transcending both. Evoking childish delight over a discovery at the beach set against the immensity of ocean”. By finding the extraordinary in everyday things we find paradoxes that add magic to life. In order to stir your imagination, open your eyes at the stars. Humble your being and marvel at the universe that is set as the incredible backdrop to our lives. Richard Kearny writes, “To imagine going down into the water or wandering in the desert is to change space; and to change space is to change being. To dream otherwise-even from the moment of a reverie or a poem- is to exist otherwise”.
Therefore, nurture your imagination. Don’t let it slip away. Though we all have it, our dreams and ideas will dim if we don’t tend to them. “Understanding without imagination is doctrine without growth. And without growth, what chance is there to engage the complexity that bound us”? Be receptive and most of all participate in the creation of you.
Creativity gives you transcendence
Elizabeth Gilbert describes that act of creative living in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear with lightness and humor. She writes, “I firmly believe that we all need to find something to do in our lives that stops us from eating the couch. Whether we make it a profession or not, we all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society (mother, employee, neighbor, brother, boss, etc.) We all need something that helps us forget ourselves for a while to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socio-economic background, our duties, our failures, and all we have lost and screwed up.” Creativity gives us transcendence beyond our selves.
Call to Action
Each one of us has our own brand of creativity. Work to bring your gifts out into the world. I end with a lesson from Anne Lamott, in from her recent TED talk.
Every writer puts down terrible first drafts. The trick is that they commit to sticking with it. “You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart — your stories, visions, memories and songs. Your truth, your version of things, in your own voice. That is really all you have to offer us. And that’s also why you were born.”
Thank you for spending some time with me. If you’re looking for more inspiration check out my corner of the internet.