I love that quote because it reminds me of my past prejudices.
I used to think that white-collar jobs were boring and involved crunching numbers and tip tapping away at the keyboard until your back got crooked. In other words, they were boring and unoriginal.
How wrong was I!
Before long and curly bearded, trouser cuff-folding, tattoo-filled hipsters hijacked the word and spelt is as cr<^t1v<, the word creative originally meant;
“The ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative”
In fact, the etymological root of the word in English comes from the Latin creatus, literally “to have grown”
A creative person looks like me or you.
The little girl building sculptures out of sand and pebbles.
The toilet attendant who indulges in your drunken stories while she plans her route to her next job.
The accountant racing against the clock to meet the budget deadline.
All of these people have the creative gene.
Creativity is not an elite club, so let’s get rid of this preconceived mystical image of what a creative looks like so that we can start making awesome things.
The Creativity Formula
She believed that Creativity (C) is a function (f) of three factors;
- Knowledge (which we gain through life’s experiences)
- Imagination (the ability to produce ideas and make connections)
- Evaluation (the ability to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of a particular idea)
All of which is redundant without a positive attitude (a) and belief in one’s abilities.
Or in Powerpuff generating form, it looks like this;
Children are brilliant at this, they can sometimes terrify you with the stories they think up (isn’t that the basis of most horror movies since forever)
As we grew older, we were told to colour inside the lines and conform in order to be accepted in society.
To be creative means you have to find the extra in the ordinary, you need to be able to see the special in the mundane things of life and help others see it too. If that means finding your inner child, then by all means do it, just try not to see dead people in the process.
Hard work is what hones your creativity.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a discipline. Although he later debunked the oversimplification of this claim, I believe the sentiment is true, in order to get better at anything, you need to practice at it. A lot.
Just like any other part of the body that you would exercise to increase strength, you also need to work on your creativity. This could be through reading, games, brainstorming, cloud watching, anything and everything that gets you thinking outside of the box.
“You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else—that’s how you’ll get ahead.” – Austin Kleon
Remember, you are not a member of the feline species, curiosity will not kill you. Wonder and wander away!
There you have it, the elixir of creativity, except rather than depleting with each use, tapping into your creativity only increases the more you use it.
So start tapping*.