For some of you, just the mention of words like that send a shiver up your spine. They make you itch. You can’t do ANY of those things. You are likely also annoyed by those who can.
Creativity. It is something that we think we have or we don’t. We are right-brained or left-brained; into the fine arts or into computer science; we are a painter or a mathematician. Creative folks do creative things, like draw, write, and walk barefoot through the woods. Non-creative folks do non-creative things like make spreadsheets…and money.
What if I use these words instead: Build. Organize. Birth. Forge. Mobilize. Problem Solve.
Everyone is creative. Creativity is not about what we do. Creativity is about who we are.
We often hear people say, “Well, I’m just not the creative type.” But creativity doesn’t have to be confined to fine arts such as music and painting, or even to hobbies such as scrapbooking and woodworking. Isn’t the mathematician who solves a complex formula or the engineer who has to design a multilane highway employing creativity? What about the scientist who discovers a cure for a rare disease? And how about that plumber who found a creative way to fix your kitchen sink leak without having to rip out the entire countertop?
I would suggest that we define creativity in this super-simple way: someone or something that offers you a fresh perspective on the world and your place in it.
I have an amazing singer-songwriter friend, Heatherlyn. Several years ago she shared something with me that simply wouldn’t leave my head – or my heart. She said:
“People ask me about my creative process but I don’t know that I’m any more creative than anyone else.
I think I’m just full…
Full of angst and full of love…
Full of pain, which is sometimes a persistent ache and sometimes, a writhing agony…
I’m full of hope and doubt and the conflict between the two…
I’m full of stories and emotion and passion and longing, fear and trust, strength and weakness, and…love”
Are you full? Full of angst? Full of frustration? Full of wonder? Friends, there’s a reason the Bible begins with creativity, anthropology, and vocation — because these things are what it means to be human. Why we fail to embrace and emphasize imagination and creativity, when God’s guidance about how to be human clearly does, is a great mystery to me.
It will be creativity, above anything else, that facilitates the energy needed in this world to force change. Every time my heart gets broken – and damn it, I feel like it’s every day at this point – it is up to me to decide how I’ll go about responding. When my response is tempered, the energy created is minimal. But when my response is one that is powered by a fullness, regardless of the emotion that fuels it, that response is bound to produce something that guides me into a different perspective on the world and my place in it.
Do us all a favor. Decide what you are full of. If you are full of love, go love someone. If you are full of indignation, go find a protest or cause to engage with. If you are full of knowledge, go share that wisdom with another. Get passionate about something. Promote others. Bring an idea to life. Create, make, do. Rinse, repeat. And watch the world change.