Think you're not the 'Creative Type'? Think again...
Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.
Being that I have always been into art, theater, music, language, fashion, etc; I was labeled early on as a 'creative type'. As such I was allowed, even expected, to think outside the box. The world to me is one big treasure trove of inspiration - jumping off points that serve to feed into to new concepts, new theories, new creations. No matter what situation, what medium I am presented with, I am enraptured by the potential - by what it can become. The mind reels. - And I was not only allowed this point of view but actually expected to foster it - for the sole reason that I was "creative".
In stark contrast to this is my love for math. The numbers, the formulas, the discovery of systems that 'just are', of properties that in mathematics and science are often proven on paper, before they are understood in the real world.
I felt at odds with myself. I wouldn't say that I was drawn to the rules of the equations. More accurately, the mystery of it (an element that in my mind, it shared with art). I felt there was understanding available that lay just beyond the grasp of my brain. The harder I tried and the further I reached for it, the further it ran. And as I chased the gold at end of my comprehension rainbow, I tried to compartmentalize the pieces of me that felt at home in the respective corners of my French & Math double major (in addition to my love for theater and music). As I tried dividing and sectioning off, I couldn't help but feel that they were all one and the same. That what I was seeking was bigger than a discipline, more far-reaching than any syllabus.
We are all seeking. We are seeking to answer something - to get closer to an understanding of even what the question is. I would theorize that we have all of the answers in front of us at our easy disposal and we simply have to find the right formula, the perfect composition, the correct perspective, in order for us to finally, truly understand.
Our discussions of the Gap over the turn of this new year are a beginning to this understanding. They are a big fat arrow on our collective treasure map pointing out the 'uncharted territory'; the areas of least understanding and most potential for the meaning that we crave.
So now I am in the business world. I interact with talented professionals on a daily basis who are extremely successful and push the envelope within their respective spheres to accomplish more, offer more, understand more. And guess what?
EVERY ONE OF THEM CONSIDERS THEIR JOB TO BE CREATIVE.
Without exception, every person that I come across who is highly respected, successful and passionate about what they do views their job as a creative pursuit. This ranges from the obvious musicians, artists, photographers and writers into realms that we don't expect to be included in that category: scientists, doctors, finance guys, computer programmers and C-level execs. Regardless of the discipline toward which they apply their talents, these active thinkers enjoy working their way around a problem and finding an original solution - connecting the dots, writing the code, drafting the equation. Taking a handful of problems and navigating their way to baskets of previously unconsidered solutions.
THIS is the gap. These creative types (I bet that now includes you, even if you didn't think so before), they delight in the empty space between the problem and the solution. The freedom, the potential the maneuvering to get from the known to the not yet known - THAT is where the magic happens and just one example of how we all connect to it.
Do you want to know what they do differently than everyone else? THEY DROP THE BOUNDARIES. THEY DEFINE THINGS ON THEIR OWN TERMS
I have my own sense of style. I can't speak to how awesome or questionable it is but I know that I am often told, "I wouldn't think that you could do something that way." or "I thought you had to do ..."
I always tell them that the difference between pulling it off or not is in believing you can. Or, even better, in NOT CARING ABOUT PULLING IT OFF.
I have to be honest, I feel cheated. If someone had told me when I was in school that I could be a doctor and be creative about it or framed my science project as an opportunity to think out of the box and then test that with the scientific method - I would've felt like I had more options. I knew that I would never be happy in life without the opportunity to stretch my creative, expressive muscles on a regular basis and to me, at the time, I thought that only included a limited number of pursuits - definitely not business or science. How many brilliant thinkers are we missing out on, because we tell them that creativity belongs solely to the 'artistic' or 'creative' realms?
So here is our homework. I challenge you to first expand your definition of creativity. Let yourself have fun with something that you previously considered to be a regimented, rule-based discipline and see what comes out of it.
Second, spread the word. Give those around you the liberty to flex their creative muscle as well - and to do it within their daily routine. There is opportunity to fill your day-to-day gaps, in more fun ways than the safe, accepted method. You might find that you enjoy things more and also that you are better at them, because you are exploring that space between the problem and the solution. It's a big gap - go have a party in there and maybe you'll meet some new and interesting people...
How do you find creativity in your job? Is it through traditionally creative means or do you find ways to expand and be imaginative where others only see rote processes? How do you fill your creative gap and what is your favorite part about doing it?
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Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.