Creativity is a topic that captured me from a young age. It confounds even the most established people with its exclusivity and elusiveness. It’s traditionally been reserved for artists, creative directors, and writers, leaving it out of reach of the average person: the labourer, the white collar worker, the scientist.
But creativity isn’t just found where you expect it. It’s present in every cubicle, classroom and factory. In fact, it’s everywhere you look.
Creativity is as human as it is to love.
In a world where only 25% of humans consider themselves creative, this is a message we need to hear. Take me, for example. I’m a corporate-type: I manage a brand and a profit-and-loss statement for a living... and I consider myself to be creative.
The message that “we are all creative” led me to speaking across North America about our inherent creativity. I regularly get to witness people who never thought of themselves as creative turn their creative apathy into creative energy. After the talk, they feel creative.
On this journey, I came across three insights that deepened my understanding of this subject that I hold dear.
Creativity is a chase.
As I spoke with audiences about creativity, I was often greeted with frustration that creativity is hard to catch. Similar to a gust of wind or a stubborn puppy, people would remark that they feel moments of creative intrigue, but the moments are fleeting and lead nowhere.
If this is you, then you’re experiencing the exact same feeling that even the most creative people feel: a creative insight. The problem is, you let the insights pass without taking action.
As Erik Wahl writes in The Spark and The Grind, “The Igniter worships the early magic. He treats creativity like an evening sky in the South, full of fireflies…scooping up those beautiful sparks.”
We are all invited on this chase. Whether we take it—whether we accept the responsibility of this creative rush—is the real question.
2. Behold the tingle.
In one setting, I was asked the question, “What does creativity feel like?”
Creativity is in fact one of the most human feelings. It’s one we have all experienced, but may have overlooked or disregarded.
It’s the tingle. That feeling you get when you have a good idea—a big idea—or a vision, a solution, a fix. It’s the feeling when your glance turns into a glare, your eyes look up and the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
It could be discovering a faster commute home, finally figuring out what is wrong with the lawn mower that won’t start, or a brain wave that drives you to rethink a project, report or outcome.
This feeling is the leading indicator of creativity. It is your sign that you’re onto something and that the chase has begun.
3. Problem solving + Joy = Creativity.
The tingle occurs at the intersection between problem solving and joy. These two elements capture the essence of creativity holistically.
On one hand, it is a problem (however clear or unclear) that moves us to think in new ways, that rallies the human desire to solve it. But using this dimension alone could have us conclude that merely walking down a hallway and re-routing around obstacles could be considered creativity.
Then you combine it with the second element: joy. Creativity becomes transformative when it produces joy, and when that joy feeds and nurtures our desire to succeed. That’s when you feel your environment align with your inner being, when the creative process whispers into your soul.
My journey has me conclude that the act of creating is a necessary element to human happiness. It produces true joy that is connected deeply within, in a way that is rivalled by only one other human act: love.
Creativity is Human
Creativity is deeply human – we all are invited on the chase, feel the tingle, and experience the transformational joy that comes from it. It is as linked and unique to our species as nurturing and socializing is, and can make our world a much better place at the same time.
See you on the chase.
© Greg Murray, 2017