Defining creativity can be as elusive as trying to hold a cup of water in your hands without the cup. It is a slippery concept that, by virtue of its being, defies an all inclusive definition.
Understanding creativity is important, though, regardless of its elusiveness. We need creativity to make our lives meaningful, challenging and productive.
We need creativity to move things forward and to generate new things – ideas, technologies and products. We need creativity to impact social and political challenges in our world. We need creativity to enhance our personal relationships, and we need it for spiritual fulfillment.
So what, exactly, is IT?
At the risk of being overly simplistic, here is what creativity is to me:
Creativity = Imagination + Action
Creativity is a process where ideas are transformed into real and sustaining presences in the world. An idea, a dream, or a formulation arises in the imagination, and through creative action, it takes form and becomes a presence.
Imagination without action fails to take on a presence, thus it does not become creativity. And that is fine. Not all ideas need to take on a presence outside of our minds.
Action without imagination is rote and repetitive, thus it does not lead to innovation, change or fulfillment. Again, this is fine for certain circumstances, but ultimately, action without imagination becomes hollow and draining.
Ultimately, it is the meeting of an idea with a creative action that brings something new into being. We all need creativity to allow our imaginations to come alive, and we all need creativity to make our life endeavors meaningful.
We all begin our lives as children with a strong creative force within us. Everything around us is new, and we seek ways to interact with the world by creating and adding to what we experience. Our creative force is raw, imaginative and intense, and it brings us great joy. As we grow and build frames around our experience, our imaginations get pruned and our sense of joy becomes encumbered with expectation. Even the most creative people lose some element of creative joy as the balance of expectation and experience gets adjusted through the maturation process.
As adults, we need to return to some of that childlike joy of creation, else we lose touch with the most valuable elements of our lives. We need to take creative journeys where we rejuvenate dormant creative impulses and open ourselves to new experiences.
Creativity is not just for artists. Creativity is for everyone, and it is imperative that we seek creative experience in all avenues of our lives.
Do you feel as though your work, relationships and individual pursuits could be enhanced through creative activity? Do you find that you have an imagination that rarely finds action and implementation of your creative ideas? Do you find that your actions lack imagination and are draining?
Do you think creative change is possible for you?
Please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear what you have to say!