Creativity is a skill, like dribbling a basketball or cooking a gourmet meal. Sure, there are some people who are born with these abilities, but with some expert help, the rest of us can usually learn enough to do a passable job. Those of us with an enthusiasm for it, can learn to be great.
One of creativity’s easiest lessons to learn is passion. All of us have a passion, something we love to do and will pursue regardless of any obstacles in our path. When you are passionate about something, you make time for it. You put aside other not-so-important issues and tasks and focus on attaining your goals.
My understanding of creativity may differ from the usual form. I think of creativity as more of a flexibility. It is the ability to flow with the many changes of life and to maintain a positive outlook while still reaching my goals. If you switch your showers from morning to the night so that you can get up early to run a few miles and stay in shape, that is creativity. If you are learning to cook and you fix three new recipes on the weekend because you don’t have time during the week, that’s creativity.
One of my favorite books is “The Creative Spirit,” by Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray. They have explore several examples of creative people, creative living and creative success. One of my favorite passages was about having a creative mind:
“One of the goals of Zen Buddhism is to go beyond the senses and beyond thinking,” says Professor Kraft. “Intuition – the source of insight – sneaks up on your from somewhere else when you’re not thinking about it.”
“One of the images used metaphorically in Asia for creativity is water. Water conforms to whatever circumstances it’s in. Water in a river rushes along, but if it comes to a rock, it flows around it. If you take a cup to the river and fill it, the water will suddenly and perfectly conform to the container.”
A mind as clear and reflective as water is central to the oriental martial arts tradition, which places a high value on responding to and even anticipating events. Enormous discipline is required to attain this state of mind, in which one is capable of receiving information without distortion. For it is accurate information – whether it is the detection of an opponent’s next move in judo, or the anticipation of a subtle shift in consumer taste in automobiles- that forms the basis for creative action.”
Don’t believe that you are not a creative person. Each time you find an easier way to do your chores, or a quicker route to work you are being creative. When you reward your kids for reading with a trip to the zoo you are being creative. Creativity is a flowing, fluid state of being where ideas flow and change is natural and beneficial. You don’t have to be into crafts or an advertising executive to be creative. It is a skill that can be learned and applied in almost any situation.
Here are a few sites to get you started:
This is a great article which I have printed for myself – 10 Steps for Boosting Creativity.
Michael Michalko’s Creative Thinking site. Check out the “Bright Ideas – 16 ways to jump start your company’s creativity.”