My thoughts on creativity

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A lot of times people wonder if they are creative, and often, most people are more willing to answer ‘No” rather than yes.

I believe however that everyone is creative but not everyone expresses their creativity. This is how I approach everyone and every situation.

Creativity is simply true individuality. Anyone willing to come to terms with who they are and express this person (who they are) through any communicative form would be demonstrating creativity.

I should probably make a distinction here between creativity as a communicative expression as in the Arts, and creativity as a way of thinking or cognition as in problem solving or creative thinking.

Two crucial elements necessary for creative expression are courage to express oneself without fear of criticism or ridicule, and the skills required to use the chosen form (medium/format) of communication be it painting, music, Sculpture, video, writing, graphics, etc.

Most creative expressions start with an idea, a feeling, a mood, an urge, an inspiration or just simply a desire to create. What happens next is often what determines the final results.

For most people, it stops there. It stops with the idea. Once the idea is deemed to be a creative one, and since they have chosen to believe they are not creative, all effort towards expressing that idea cease.

So my first question is what do people consider to be a creative idea? If I am writing an email or composing an SMS is that a creative? what would change to make it creative? It is clear that if something is labelled in our minds as lyrics, poem, song, painting, etc, we immediately decide if we can do it or not. That is fair. If you can’t paint and you have this idea of a scene you want painted, you will not go and get a canvas and paint brush, you’ll simply smile, indulge in the thought for a while and move on.

So, what then am I talking about when i say everyone is creative?

Well, its simply this, in thinking about a painting, you are thinking about a product. In the same way, you could think about a song but without musical skills, it ends there. But what if you were not thinking about the product but instead you were thinking about what you actually want to express THROUGH that product?

I’ll explain, if we assume that the product is in response to an internal need or desire to express oneself, then one can assume that the picture or the song must be coming from an desire to express something.

The relationship between what you want to express and the final product is not really the question at this time, what we are merely considering is the fact that there is a motivation to express that produces the idea of a picture or the idea of a song and if we can access that motivation outside the specific impression of a song or picture, it might be possible to provide an alternative expression within the person’s skill areas… hmm.. just a thought.

The thing is modern technology has removed the need for people to think so much about what they are trying to say.. instead, they tend to simply “play” with the technology and accept what comes up.. or combine various default templates together and see what emerges. But regardless of the mode of expression, what guides the decisions that influence the actions throughout the process of making the actual physical creation is this core motive or driving ‘idea’.

Now, this idea is not really a phyiscal reality and as is the nature of non-physical (mental, cognitive, thoughts, first, second or third world, whatever it might be referred to), the process of production is not merely an expression or a translation but a ‘creation’. When we produce the physical object, the result is a reflection of our unique self. The only time this is not so is when we are copying something that already exists.

And here is the thing, though everything we think is made up things we have experienced and thus built upon things that exist and thus might be construed in some way to be a copy to some extent, if the actual physical references are not defined inititially and made to guide the production decisions, then the final product will be unique and will represent us to some extent.

Therefore, whenever we express ourselves and create any form of communication to this end, without the express aim to copy or replicate something that already exists, we are demonstrating creativity.

Whether or not the field or the industry or the community within which our specific media format and communication product exists recognises our contribution as creative is a different matter. This is because creativity at this level has been shown to require other key characteristics, for example utility and Novelty within that field.

But for a person who is already able to confidently express their unique self, its only a matter of time that their creativity is recognised and appreciated by the field, industry and community.

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