Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.
Way back when, I believed that creativity was the sole preserve of those who either wrote books, painted, squeezed out a tune or two or built things, which meant I avoided anything remotely connected to the ‘C’ word for years.
I would probably have continued along my dull, rut strewn path but for rather a lot of soul searching, sheer mind numbing boredom and memories of two people who helped me realise that change was needed and fast!
They were called Jean and Karl and, honestly, I hadn’t thought of either of them for years until I realised with utter dread that there was a very strong possibility I could become either one of them if I didn’t get out of the very large hole I had dug myself into.
Karl was a guy I once worked with and one evening the receptionist called myself and the Office Manager to say that Karl’s wife had called in a terrible state saying that he hadn’t returned home from work. The manager called her back to get some more details and it appeared that he was now more than two hours overdue for his return. She further added that she was most concerned because Karl had left the office at the same time, to catch the same train and arrived home at roughly the same time (to the nearest minute!) every working day for the past twenty years!
Needless to say, it ended well as Karl was discovered having fallen asleep in the lavatory (Quite possibly through sheer boredom …)
Jean was my former sister-in-law and she would cook the same meals on each respective day of the week. Sunday it was roast, Monday was whatever cold meat was left over from Sunday, coupled with a cornucopia of mashed, smashed and pan fried vegetables in the guise of bubble and squeak, although, given Jean’s ministrations with her masher, I rather suspect there was very little squeak left. Tuesday was a particular joy for the mealtime recipients – cold baked beans, presumably scraped from a lukewarm pan after Sunday morning breakfast and subsequently added to whatever salad she happened to be preparing. You have probably gotten the full colourful panorama of Jean’s culinary adventures by now so let me ask:
Would you want to spend the rest of your life like Jean, or Karl for that matter?
No, me neither.
So get creative. I’m not pretending that creativity is the be all and end all of life but it sure can help, and it’s just a case of finding the kind of creativity that suits you. Sometimes it can be hard getting beyond thinking that to be creative requires special abilities, but it really doesn’t.
I found my way into creativity through writing – something which I have done since I was a child. I’m not brilliant at it but it brings me immense joy and has led me in directions that I would never have thought of.
We live in an increasingly competitive world and the key to success really is to be creative – in the way we think, how we act and the jobs we do. Creativity helps us to adapt to any situation and, like me, everyone is more than capable of learning to be creative again, to train minds to be open, to welcome possibilities and risk in equal measure and, most importantly of all, remove the destructive habits and situations that closed off creativity in the first place.
And if we don’t? Then it could well be the 6 o’clock train home every day for the next 20 years and cold baked beans for dinner …