In a world that seems to be growing and diversifying exponentially, and at astounding speeds, why might creativity, a naturally occurring activity, be seen as a positive skill to cultivate? For skill it is. Sadly, creativity is, for many, confused with the concept of formalised artistic endeavour and as such is seen as beyond their ‘innate ability’.
Creativity is something that we actively learn. It is very much part of our survival mechanism as a species. A young child’s capacity to be ‘creative’ and to adapt to situations or to utilise knowledge under novel circumstance is well-documented. As is the (sad) decline in an individual’s use of the same part of their brain as they get older. The rules and discipline of specific types of education will supplant the part of the brain that develops and utilises creativity.
In truth the concept of creativity is one that we use daily without really considering how. Our ability to utilise our knowledge to problem solve issues in either one or multiple areas of our life is one of creativity. Our capacity to many uncertainty, to ‘go with the flow’, and sometimes create or notice opportunity where ‘the flow’ can be directed in specific ways that benefit us, all stems from our capacity with life’s nuance and to adapt to it.
Taking time to ‘play’ productively as part of a programme of study is all about stretching the brain’s ability to ‘juggle’ information, to think laterally across numerous topics at a time, or to intuitively take the shape, colour and tone of a concept in one discipline and ‘see’ if it will ‘fit’ in another.
Originality in creativity is something every person has. We are all amazing jumbles of unique life experience and since creativity is about bringing all the useful aspects to focus on a problem, the style and level of creativity we employ at any given time is entirely as individually distinctive as we are.
Finding time to be creative in any sense offers valuable opportunities for stress relief, self expression, and confidence. It is also considered to be one of the most sought after soft skills by employers. Finally the modern workplace has come around to the idea of creating spaces where creative opportunities and dialogue can flow uninhibited, and their businesses can flourish as a result.
Creativity, however, is not simply a means of increasing business (although all financially driven companies will be very happy to benefit from its fruits), it is a natural state of being for humanity. Finding harmonious solutions to problems creates a feeling of well-being, of satisfaction, of competence, and of fun or pleasure – all of which create much happier human beings.
For this reason, if for no other, it is everyone’s duty to themselves to take time to remove the constraints of rule and convention, and take time to intellectually, physically and creatively ‘play’. Not only will your teacher or your boss benefit but you will benefit in countless social, academic and psychological ways.
Image used: M-maybe, by Roy Lichtenstein