In Praise of Creativity

I love creativity. Whether I'm learning about the science and psychology behind it or just basking in those precious moments of creative flow.

I love the whisper of inspiration that begins quietly, insistently in the back of your brain.  It nudges you patiently at the edge of your mind until you have no choice but to pay attention.  Allow the idea to take shape.  Nurture it.  Play with it.  Toss it around.  Cozy up with it and inspect it from every angle.  Give it room to breathe.

I love to see how we can go from spontaneous spark to finished product.

I love talking to creatives and entrepreneurs about what they do.  Why they love it.  Nobody pursues the life of maker or entrepreneur unless they're over-the-moon enthusiastic about it.  Unless the ideas they have REFUSE to be silenced.  And making things?  Useful things, beautiful things, things that will touch and connect and inspire people...well, that's the ONLY job they can imagine.

The thing about creativity is that it comes with an insatiable curiosity.  An inquiring mind that just won't quit, Leonardo Da Vinci is the perfect example of an insatiably curious creative master.  It's a bit rebellious and challenges the status quo (one of my favourite qualities of creative folk).  Curiosity asks if it can be done differently, done better, done more beautifully, done more elegantly or done more simply.  And this constant questioning has a way of leading you on to interesting places.

At certain points, it also makes some, less inquisitive people very uncomfortable.  But giving up your curiosity would also mean letting go of your creativity, your wonder, your communion with inspiration. I don't know any maker or entrepreneur who would give that up for the sake of a few grumpy, uncomfortable folks.  You can never hope to please everyone.  And if you can learn to turn down the volume on the critics and pay attention to the ideas...that's when magic can happen.

I love watching the transformation of an idea.  And the transformation of the maker.

Because no idea once you fully embrace it leaves you completely unchanged.  It's impossible.  The winding path of discovery (of chasing an idea until it's ready to share) will always leave you not quite the same.  Sometimes the difference is subtle, questions you never thought to ask before or more ideas springing to life (they tend to spawn like rabbits) but sometimes it's profound.  A click on the kaleidoscope of your worldview - a shift that changes the way you see everything.

Because the life of a creative stretches you.  It pushes you.  It asks you to unearth your courage and battle those demons of self-doubt that invariably creep into every project.  Some days we can set doubt aside more easily than others.  Some projects we can thrust out into the world with hardly an anxious whimper from our fragile ego.  While others have the poor thing dry heaving in the corner.  What's important to remember, of course, is to go on anyway.  To be kind of your ego, who's only trying to protect you, after all.  But to go on making your creations and thrusting them into the world anyway.

Not everything we make will be a huge success.

Or a success at all.  Not everyone will love everything you do.  A rough less for a recovering perfectionist.  But, of course, you don't need everyone to love your creations.  And it's absurd to expect nothing but positivity and love.  This is real life after all.  SOME people will love what you do.  And that is enough.

And when that idea that began as an insistent whisper in the back of your mind.  That inspiration you allowed yourself to be led by and transformed by.  When it connects with someone.  When they love it, think it's great enough to share, use it all the time or maybe it changes them or inspires them.  In whatever way, the thing you made CONNECTS with another human being - there is nothing better than that.  And if it connects with another, and another, and another - even better.

Usually, this is the point when your ego will pop back up and say, "See, I TOLD you everything was going to work out!  It just goes to show how clearly awesome we are."  Feel free to pat it gently on the head and tell it go sit back down.  Because it's no longer about you.  And maybe it never was.

Maybe it's just your job to make things that connect with people.  Things that are beautiful or useful or make others' lives better.  Maybe it's just your job to play with inspiration and pay attention to those ideas tapping gently on your cortex.  And how cool is that?