4 min read

What do I wish everyone knew about creativity?

What is creativity? However you may define it, there are some meta principles that spread across all creative work.
What do I wish everyone knew about creativity?

What is creativity ?

Is it having a constant flow of ideas ?

Is it creating something novel ?

Is it thinking differently and laterally ?

Is it telling engaging stories ?

Is it having a keen eye for beauty ?

Or something else ...

However you may define it, there are some meta principles that spread across all creative work.

Creative work is messy and iterative

Not because the people involved are messy but because to truly explore possibilities and imaginations you need to allow yourself to go wrong, fail or simply mess up. And then pick those pieces to paint a canvas and refine what truly resonates. Creative work may or may not be useful, but artists love the process not the goal. They just love working with hands or thinking ideas or capturing moments or simply creating their vision.

Design and creative work are inherently iterative in nature.

Creativity is stealing

Ideas build on other ideas. Knowledge builds on previous knowledge. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Creativity involves curating and collecting raw materials to build a collage out of it. It’s stealing from hundreds to create something indistinguishable and seemingly novel.

“Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to you”
~ Austin Kleon from the book Steal Like an Artist

Creativity requires discipline

An artist just goes by showing his talent to the world with the process wrapped in mysticism with little sneak peek to finally offer a polished product at the end. There’s much more to creative work behind the scenes than people imagine. There is structure and discipline in the process that an artist goes through with a lot of iterations along the way.

Creativity is ubiquitous

Creativity is not just limited to poets, filmmakers, or the likes. Mathematicians and scientists think, imagine and discover what the world could be. Architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs imagine what the world should look like, and how they can improve the world with a unique design, solution, or system respectively. Innovation comes when you combine creative thinking with problem solving, when you understand people and the machines at the same time. It comes when you can empathise with people as well be able to plan things out.

An artist could be a writer, painter, filmmaker, musician, architect, or scientist, all having an innate desire to wow people with their creation, add some meaning to their lives and express their talents. They want to share with others their inner world and what they imagine the outer world can look like.

Creativity requires intuition

Intuition is something unique. It doesn’t see the world with sharp edges or hard numbers but sees it to be fuzzy and uncertain. It understands that numbers paint an incomplete picture, so it connects disparate ideas into something cohesive in the mind. And then shares that picture about what' there but not apparent enough for the senses to let intuition come in to fill the gaps.

Intuition helps you understand someone’s imagination in a way that intellectual thinking cannot comprehend or dissect enough.

Intuition is deep like an ocean, too many things flowing together.
It’s holistic.

Creativity needs space not busyness

The mind needs be to free, open, and curious to soak ideas in and synthesize something new by adding its own perspective. It’s the white spaces in between tasks and while you sleep, when the subconscious mind awakens connecting thoughts and ideas. It works in the background. Allow it to do so. Give it space.

Thing of beauty and aesthetics

What’s the purpose of beauty ?
Why do paintings sell so expensive when they have seemingly no practical utility ?
Why do we care how a product or a person looks when it’s not the real substance ?

It matters because we are humans. Our brain and heart open when bestowed with beauty. It’s the fragrance for the eyes. It makes you love the engagement by making it a pleasant experience. And it’s this pleasant state, that allows you to open your mind to new possibilities and work at your full potential. Aesthetically pleasing buildings or workspaces can improve your productivity and happiness. A beautifully written poem can make your day.

So, beauty matters because it’s psychological to the people around, it’s part of the joy and happiness in the world. But it’s not everything, it's just the icing on the cake, it's good to have one but the cake matters as much as it might.

Make the world a beautiful place to be happier.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is only partially true.

Beauty is both objective and subjective.

Even while writing about creativity I gave the article some structure, creativity doesn’t mean being disorganised, but it means having enough structure to allow the rest to flow.

It's akin to having a strong spine that is still flexible to bend beautifully.

Think like an artist. Feel like an artist. Pause like an artist. Steal like an artist

I write articles related to personal development, AI & Data Science, and whatever I think is worth sharing :)

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